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Why it's Rice in 2008
By Dustin Hawkins
Before you ask, I will answer: No, it is not too early to talk about 2008, even though President Bush has yet to be sworn into office for a second term and even though the person who will be our next President has not even been confirmed for her Secretary of State post yet. Besides, I want to be on record early so if I am wrong, no one will have remembered my prediction by 2008, and if I am right, it will prove how wise I am.
But before I get to Dr. Condoleezza Rice, I'll have to say why the Mainstream Media's Republican darlings will not come out on top. First, the party faithful will not rally around a pro-choice candidate, end of story. Sorry Rudy. Second, John McCain's popularity relies on moderate Republicans, moderate Democrats, and the liberal press. As a general rule, never trust a Republican who is "respected" and is niftily nicknamed and admired (Oh, it's Maverick!) by the New York Times.
It is not so much that these candidates would necessarily be bad choices, and in fact both would probably have a good shot at winning the Presidency if given the chance. But Republicans like their Presidential nominees to share their values, be passionate about their issues, and to play hardball when necessary. Rudy G. is a tempting candidate but perhaps too flawed, and McCain refuses to launch off some spitballs when needed and licks the boots of Democrats far too often (that and he sticks us with really bad legislation like Campaign Finance Deform.)
On to Dr. Rice. Historically speaking, after a President is twice elected the next candidate from the incumbent party is generally a major figure from that administration. Most often, the Vice-President is a shoe-in for the nomination. Gore followed Clinton, Bush Sr. followed Reagan, Nixon followed Eisenhower, and so on. Had Kerry been twice elected John Edwards would have been the probable candidate in 2012.
However, it is highly unlikely that VP Cheney will seek the nomination, allowing for somewhat of a break in tradition, and begging the question: now who? Which brings us to the soon-to-be third most influential person in the Bush Administration and, possibly, the United States: Condoleezza Rice. Among members of the administration, Rice has the most face and name recognition, something that will only grow given the stature of the Secretary of State post. Her approval ratings have been among the highest in the Bush administration (59 per cent favorable, 24 per cent unfavorable – CNN/Gallup), generally trailing only outgoing Secretary of State Colin Powell.
In 2008, the focus of the election will likely be foreign policy issues and the battle against global terror. If there is significant progress in the War on Terror and in the Palestine-Israeli conflict, then a strong case will be made for the continuation of Bush's policy, of which Dr. Rice has been instrumental in shaping and supporting. Given Rice's expertise and experience in international relations, and given the relationships she will have time to strengthen over the next four years, she will be well prepared for the challenges ahead, and more so than any other Presidential wannabe could be.
If Rice decides to go for the nomination, President Bush will likely support his close friend and adviser. Dr. Rice, a concert pianist and a former Stanford University Provost who earned a Bachelors at 19, a Masters a year later, and then a Doctorate all before turning 30 may even become the first Republican candidate to successfully avoid being called an "idiot" by liberals. Though, I wouldn't hold my breath.
About two years ago, I remember when Dr. Rice was a guest on Oprah. She talked about her duties as National Security Adviser and about her childhood. Her passion was unbelievable, her sincerity unquestionable, and her presence overwhelming. It was that day that I knew that what her parents told her growing up could possibly one day come true: that she too could be President of these United States. I for one, think they were on to something.
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