Recent reports have surfaced suggesting that Former Secretary of State and National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice has been added to the short list of potential Vice Presidential candidates by the Romney campaign. While there are a number of other good candidates available for Romney to pick – Senator Marco Rubio being one of them – Ms. Rice is the best choice to fill out the Republican ticket.
It goes without saying that Condoleezza Rice is qualified for the position. She is widely considered to be one of this country’s brilliant minds and her qualifications even before serving in public life during the Bush Administration were excellent. She also has demonstrated the kind of rare temperament needed for this kind of campaign and the job that is ahead of a Romney administration.
The selection of Ms. Rice would also bring with it a number of other critical elements. First and foremost, she adds depth and experience in Washington. This is especially the case in foreign affairs and national security, an area that Romney suffers from a lack of his own hands on experience. Rice’s years in the trenches as Secretary of State and National Security Advisor to the President during the Bush years was no small task. Two wars, North Korea’s nuclear ambitions, Iran’s saber rattling, and a whole host of other threats to America involved international relations at the highest levels of complexity with little room for error. Since the players on the international stage remain largely the same, her previous jobs impart a wisdom that can be put to good use and cannot be learned in a text book.
These reasons alone are enough to pick her. But if you need more, other logical “political” calculations support selecting her. Condoleezza Rice, as an African-American woman, either takes the sting out of or completely eliminates the race and gender cards President Obama has already unleashed in this campaign. Her personal background (think Stanford University) also nicely juxtaposes the “Ivy League” perception President Obama likes to play on.
Admittedly, there is no such thing as a perfect candidate. Choosing her would result in more accusations by the Obama camp that Republicans want to bring back the very Bush years that Obama argues left him with a huge mess to clean up. She is also more moderate on some issues, including immigration and abortion, than the more conservative wing of the Republican party. Finally, she may be hard to convince given her past pronouncements of having no desire for more time in public life.
These are not a good enough reasons to shy away from choosing Ms. Rice though. In addition to all of the aforementioned good that comes with the selection of Rice, she carries herself with a grace and dignity that would allow her to add immense credibility and clout to the ticket without overwhelming the Presidential nominee at the same time. And she has an undeniable backbone that will serve her well in the battle this fall.
No, there is no such thing as a perfect candidate. But if Mitt Romney and his advisors are smart, they will offer the job to Condoleezza Rice and do everything they can to convince her to take it.