Condoleeza Rice, A Contender?

Is former Secretary of State Condi Rice running for President in 2016?  She might be.  She’s not one of the rising young stars, but she has the experience and some would say intellectual chops to make a serious run, against say another Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton.  Wouldn’t that be an interesting race!  We just may have a woman as President of the United States in 2016.

But what of Condoleeza Rice?  We need only look to her speech at the RNC to get an idea of her worldview, and frankly it is just a little scary.  She started out with a reference to 9/11 to suggest that the we are no longer as secure as we once were.  She mentioned the Arab Spring and the insecurity in the Middle East.  And then she asks the question, “Where does America stand?”, as if to say that since we have not gone to war against Iran, or have not committed troops to each conflict that the U.S. is somehow soft, or lacking leadership.  No mention of the fact that under the Obama administration, drone strikes have taken out much of Al Quaeda’s leadership and that the President gave the order that took out Bin Laden.  I think it is pretty clear where the U.S. stands.  The U.S. need not go to war to take a stand.

She took a swipe at the Obama administration’s energy policy:

We must not allow the chance to attain energy independence to slip from our grasp.  We have a great gift of oil and gas reserves here in North America that must be and can be developed while protecting our environment.  And we have the ingenuity in the private sector to tap alternative sources of energy. – Condi Rice

This idea of the gift of oil and gas reserves that we must “develop” is code for exploit through fracking, and drilling and has been the Republican mantra for some time, with little recognition of the fact that our reserves are finite.  Once we are out of fossil fuels, that’s it – we can’t grow them back.  And someone please tell me how we can simultaneous dig, drill and frack and protect the environment?  The reference to alternative energy in the private sector is another euphemism for more subsidies and tax breaks for big oil.  The Obama administration has already made investments and loans to increase energy production from alternative sources by 11%, making good on a campaign promise.

She talked about the nation having lost control of its finances, whose deficit spending is unacceptable.  Let’s see.  When Bush the younger took office, he inherited a 236 billion surplus.  When he left office 8 years later, he left a 1.2 trillion deficit thanks to unpaid for wars and tax cuts.  How responsible was that?

She tried to make the case for meritocracy, that this is the greatest country for those from humble backgrounds to rise from rags to riches, and while that Horatio Algiers does occasionally come true for some, for most, the “you didn’t build that” applies, that is to say without the help of parents, mentors and a government that helps create the conditions for success, the bootstrap story is a myth.   And the story of Condoleeza Rice is not exactly one of rags to riches.  Her parents were both educated – she studied French and ballet at the age of 3 and piano at 15 with the hopes of becoming a concert pianist.  Her name apparently is derived from an Italian musical term – con dolcezza – with sweetness.  Let me say this, she is brilliant, and was the beneficiary of loving parents who valued education and cultivated her talents.  Not everyone is so lucky.

Frankly, I was a little surprised that the former Secretary of State was even invited to speak at the RNC because she is so closely connected to the Bush Administration which the GOP has been careful not to reference, at least not in prime time.  They did do a little video tribute bit featuring the Bush family, but that’s it.  Even Ms. Rice didn’t mention W by name.  Notwithstanding her connection to Bush legacy, she is a formidable force to be reckoned with should she decide to remain in politics.  She could be a contender for the top spot.  Condoleeza Rice with her hawkish foreign policy views scares me more than just a little.

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