Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Case Against Condoleezza Rice

The guessing game is in full swing now. Who will Mitt Romney choose to be his vice-presidential candidate?

Among the names that are being seriously floated is that of Condoleezza Rice. Polls suggest that Republicans actually prefer her to other contenders like Gov. Chris Christie, Sen. Marco Rubio, and Sen. Rob Portman.

This morning Bret Stephens renders us all an excellent service. He takes a cold, hard look at Rice’s record as head of the National Security Council and as Secretary State.

He concludes that it would be a serious mistake to nominate her for vice president. If he is right, and I believe he is, Stephens is doing his part to put an end to the Condoleezza Rice boomlet before it gains any more traction.

In his words:

Ms. Rice was a bad national security adviser and a bad secretary of state. She was on the wrong side of some of the administration's biggest internal policy fights. She had a tendency to flip-flop when it came to the president's core priorities and her political misjudgment more than once cost Mr. Bush dearly. She was a muddler of differences at the national security council. Her tenure at State was notable mainly for the degree to which the bureaucracy ran her, not the other way around.

In a way she reminds me of Hillary Clinton, another largely overrated Secretary of State whose faults are ignored as her successes are exaggerated.

About Rice Stephens concludes:

It's probably a testament to Ms. Rice's inspiring story and winning persona that this blemished record has largely gone down the memory hole.

I have tried to on this blog to ensure that Hillary Clinton’s record does not disappear behind her “inspiring story.” Come to think of it, there’s very little that’s really inspiring about Hillary Clinton.

To be fair and balanced I am happy to offer Bret Stephens’ reasoned critique of Condoleezza Rice’s “blemished record.”


Stuart Schneiderman said...

Anna tried to post this comment, but, again Blogger has not allowed it.

I am posting it for her:

I am a Hillary fan, and I don't think she's perfect. She's too hawkish for me, for one thing, but I believe you are quite wrong about her record as SOS. Hillary is a smart cookie, and her staff and peers admire her. She isn't one to take credit for the work of others - she promotes others and helps get them recognition. She takes her work seriously, one of Obama's brightest moves, out of many (but not all) was to ask her to serve (she can't say no when asked to serve).

I did like Condi at times, although she is surely unqualified, just because she was so prissy and school marmish and I liked seeing her meeting with racist middle east leaders, forced to be polite to an African American woman, that was always amusing.

but the real reason she won't be selected to run is that Romney would lose the racist vote and he's counting on the racists.

Stuart Schneiderman said...

Thank you, Anna. I accept that HRC is smart, but she is not really a foreign policy expert. For my part I prefer to see people who really know their stuff in that job.

In that sense Condi is qualified, though Stephens does not want her as SOS because she made too many mistakes when she was on the job.

The point I was trying to make was that her success or failure as a SOS depends on the state of the world under her and her boss's leadership.

As I look at Egypt and North Africa, to say nothing or Turkey and Iran, I do not get the impression that she or BHO have been running a very effective policy.

anna said...

when she was running in the primary, she had pages of supporters on record, from the state department and military leaders, hundreds of them. Madeline Albright stumped for her and even wrote a book about how (her) experience was important. Hillary didn't train to be a diplomat, she learned on the ground, by making mistakes when she was first lady. Before she took on the SOS post she already knew many world leaders, and they liked her, she's friendly and she has a great memory and she's respectful, and she isn't so high on herself that she can't joke and take a joke. I like her cause she's girly and can be silly, she doesn't do it like some stern important man.

Hillary is more like an executive woman, she sees her work as a job, and she sets about doing it as well as she can, she surrounds herself with the best and smartest and she lets them do their thing - she's no micro-manager. She doesn't take credit for other's accomplishments, she gives praise when earned, which is why her team love her and will go the extra lengths for her.

This recent thing in China is an example - it seems likely to me that they will let the blind guy out not only because she pointed out that he's less trouble for them if he's elsewhere, but also because they like Hillary and want to help her out of a tight spot.