McCain's VP - My choice

In all of the infighting that in my mind is going to end very badly for the democratic party, the opportunity for John McCain to sit back and let this inner civil war lead to his eventually rise as the favorite seems to be ever more a reality. Hendrik Hertzberg has a great article in the New Yorker this week. He states that McCain "can continue to tack between the two ideological and stylistic identities that have got him where he is today—the rebel and the regular, the Rooseveltian (Theodore) and the Reaganite, the “maverick” and the “conservative”—without veering so far to one side that he forfeits the advantages of the other." He goes on in his article to talk about McCain's options for his VP. Most are white males with some experience as a governor. But then he stated very well what I have been saying for a couple of weeks: Condi Rice should be his choice. She could captures the excitement of a younger politician rising to an extremely high office that the youth vote is looking for. She will neutralize the race card that Barack Obama may play without playing as well as the gender card that Hilary would want to capitalize on.
Read full article here

But here is the excerpt that I really enjoyed "........ This space is usually devoted to pristine moral reasoning, but, hell, it’s an election year. Let’s get down and dirty. If McCain really wants to have it all—to refurbish his maverick image without having to flip-flop on the panderings that have tarnished it; to galvanize the attention of the press, the nation, and the world; to make a bold play for the center without seriously alienating “the base”—then he can avail himself of a highly interesting option: Condoleezza Rice.

To deal first with the obvious: Rice may be “only” the second woman and the second African-American to be Secretary of State, but she is indisputably the highest-ranking black female official ever to have served in any branch of the United States government. Her nomination to a constitutional executive office would cost McCain the votes of his party’s hardened racists and incorrigible misogynists. They are surely fewer in number, though, than the people who would like to participate in breaking the glass ceiling of race or gender but, given the choice, would rather do so in a more timid way, and/or without abandoning their party. And with Rice on the ticket the Republicans could attack Clinton or Obama with far less restraint.

By choosing Rice, McCain would shackle himself anew to Bush’s Iraq war. But it’s hard to see how those chains could get much tighter than he has already made them. Rice would fit nicely into McCain’s view of the war as worth fighting but, until Donald Rumsfeld’s exit from the Pentagon, fought clumsily. And it would be fairly easy to establish a story line that would cast Rice as having been less Bush’s enabler than a loyal subordinate who nevertheless pushed gently from within for a more reasonable, more diplomatic approach.

Rice is already fourth in line for the Presidency, and getting bumped up three places would be a shorter leap than any of the three Presidential candidates propose to make. It’s true that her record in office has been one of failure, from downgrading terrorism as a priority before 9/11 to ignoring the Israel-Palestine problem until (almost certainly) too late. But this does not seem to have done much damage to her popularity. In a Washington Post-ABC News poll taken when opposition to the Iraq war was approaching its height, she enjoyed a “favorable-unfavorable” rating of nearly two to one. The conservative rank and file likes her. Though she once described herself as “mildly pro-choice,” she is agile enough to complete the journey to mildly pro-life. And she is a preacher’s daughter.

Choosing Rice would be a trick. Her failures would be buried in an avalanche of positive publicity for a personal story as yet only vaguely known to the broad public. (One of the little girls who died in the 1963 Birmingham church bombing was her playmate? We didn’t know that!) But the trick would not be an entirely cynical one. Her ascension, though nowhere near as momentous a breakthrough as the election of Obama or Clinton, would be a breakthrough all the same. In this connection, a kind word for George W. Bush may be in order. By appointing first Colin Powell and then Rice to the most senior job in the Cabinet, a job of global scope, Bush changed the way millions of white Americans think about black public officials. This may turn out to the most positive legacy of his benighted Presidency. "