Wednesday, August 24, 2005

 

2008 (Rudy & Rice) Reality Check

Karol is so dead on about this! The whole post -- on the difference between the political sensibilites of the blogosphere and the real world -- is a must-read. But, in particular, I think she's right in her handicapping of two people high on the GOP "mention" list": Rudy Giuliani and Condi Rice.

Two points about Rudy. Not only is he on his third marriage (as Karol notes), but his second one ended in an embarrassing, public fashion. A similar situation could cause also pose a problem for former House Speaker Newt Gingrich if he also seeks the nomination.

More significantly, as one observer has said, a Republican candidate for president could possibly be pro-choice or pro-gay rights or anti-gun -- only ONE of those and finesse that issue enough to be considered for the nomination.

That candidate can't be all three -- as Giuliani is.

On Condi -- as Karol says, "Spouses matter." It is highly unlikely that an unmarried individual will get a party's nomination (the only bachelor president -- James Buchanan -- lived well before the days of modern campaigns). By "unmarried," I mean "never married." Depending on the circumstances, it is not out of the question for a not-yet-remarried widow or widower to get a fair hearing. Heck, even Dennis Kucinich understands that he needs to get
re-hitched before contemplating another presidential run!

For all of her special qualities, Condi Rice isn't going to break that "single" glass ceiling. Ken Wheaton
admirably tries to counter this argument. I agree that, were Rice the candidate, she would attract a greater portion of the black vote than any Republican since Nixon in '60 (33 percent) -- though hardly a majority.

I will just address Ken's interpretation and response to one stated major obstacle to a Rice candidacy:
Because Condi doesn't have a family, she may be a big old lesbo or made out
to be one. Americans won't vote for a lesbo.
Look, the mainstream press isn't going to make Condi out to be a Lesbo. ...That's not a reason not to support Condi, it's an excuse, crafted in advance, on why we shouldn't even think of letting her run.
Yes, Rice's unmarried status could fuel whisper campaigns about her sexuality. No, that's not necessarily fair. No, the mainstream press won't go there. But, so what? The time is long past when the mainstream press had a monopoly on the spreadin of various memes and narratives -- regardless of accuracy or tastefulness.

But Karol's main point holds. Given our broad and diverse nation -- and the number of single-parent families, divorced households, second-families, etc. -- it is significant that in the country's 229-year existence, it has only elected one unmarried chief executive. Americans don't always vote on linear, logical lines over policy "issues" -- as much as we geeks would wish they did. They vote as much for the concept of the "First Family" as they do for the Commander In Chief. Ironically, the Clinton experience may -- I stress, may -- open up more minds to a single person, because seeing that dysfunctionality can even hit the White House may make Americans more comfortable with the fact that a "family" doesn't have to live at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. But that is an extremely unlikely proposition. And, it certainly fair to allow such subjective facts to influence one's decision to support one candidate over another. You don't think a fair number of people supported Dubya in 2000 because they liked the fact that he was part of the Bush family and the sense of stability and sturdiness that that conveyed?

America has also never elected a woman or a black person. Does Ken really think that the time is right for ALL THREE of those precedents to be shattered in one election -- completely apart from the actual issues that might be on the table?

Sorry. I like Condoleezza Rice, respect and admire her. But I don't see it happening.

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