Wednesday, April 09, 2008

The Condi-for-Veep non-story story

By Michael J.W. Stickings

There isn't much to it, but it isn't going away. I wrote about it a couple of weeks ago, thinking that that would, for the time being, be that, but, well, that wasn't that.

Here's what we know: Condi went to Grover Norquist's weekly morning gathering for right-wing crackpots and wowed the head crackpot himself. Over the weekend, pro-Condi flack-hack Dan Senor told George Stephanopoulos that "Rice has been actively, actually in recent weeks, campaigning for this," a campaign that has included cozying up to the Norquist crowd. In response to Senor, Foggy Bottom mouthpiece Sean McCormack said that "if she's actively seeking the vice presidency, then she's the last one to know about it," a too-cute evasion by far.

For his part, Norquist seems now to be pro-Condi himself: "If her goal was to convince everyone she would be a good president and, therefore, a good vice president -- she hit it out of the ballpark," he told WaPo's Sleuth. "Is she campaigning for it? I don't know. But if she is, she's doing it the right way." Not quite a full-out endorsement, as the misleading headline suggests, but not too shabby.

And what does Condi think: "Let me just say, first of all, that Senator McCain is an extraordinary American, a really outstanding leader, and obviously a great patriot. That said, I'm going back to Stanford or back to California, west of the Mississippi. I very much look forward to watching this campaign and voting as a voter."

Uh-huh. Sure. That's what they all say. Sounds to me like she wants the job.

And like we'll have to put up with more of this non-promotional self-promotion for quite some time to come. After all, she's got the buzz, she'd be a "sexy" pick, and she's got a whole group of Condistas behind her.

But will she get it? WaPo's Fix thinks not: "Putting Rice on the ticket would remind all of those voters about the war -- and McCain's stance on it. It would also provide a tangible link between the Bush administration and McCain's campaign. With Bush's approval numbers as low as they are (and have been for several years), being portrayed as seeking a third Bush term is a stone-cold loser for McCain... McCain is far more likely to opt for a big-state governor with chief executive experience rather than another candidates with strong ties to Washington and a long record of advocacy for an unpopular war."

Plus, she's pro-choice and, in some ways, even more un-Republican than McCain. At least McCain is trying to turn himself into a crackpot -- or to unleash the crackpot within. Even with Norquist's approval, is Condi crackpot enough for the Republicans? I suppose it's possible that she is, or could be. Besides, standing loyally by Bush and being one of the key architects of the Iraq War and Occupation suggest deep-rooted crackpottery within.

Condi may or may not want the job, but crazier things have happened than McCain-Rice '08.

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