Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Lame Duck a la Bush, Side Order of Rice

While Karl Rove was doing his TV victory lap, another Bush stalwart has been missing in action. Condoleeza Rice, once touted as a possible ’08 Presidential candidate, has been out of sight.

A week ago, there was a public moment as the Secretary of State appointed baseball legend Cal Ripken Jr. the nation’s Sports Envoy, starting with a trip to China.

Since then, we have had Rice’s written statement congratulating the Somalia National Reconciliation Congress on completing Phase One of an agreement to stop killing one another--and silence. At yesterday’s Departmental press briefing, her name was not mentioned.

Ironically, as she was disappearing from media radar this month, Rice was named by GQ Magazine “The Most Powerful Person in Washington,” ahead of George Bush and Dick Cheney, one of the hazards of the long lead time of monthly journalism, as I can testify from experience.

It may be that Rice has reached a critical point in the tension between fierce personal loyalty to George W. Bush and her understanding of what history will say about her tenure as Secretary of State.

For months now, rather than front for the lame duck disaster in Iraq, she has been working the fringes of Middle East policy, trying to establish some communication with Iran, joining Secretary of Defense Gates in urging Saudi Arabia to clamp down on Sunni terrorists and making efforts to unblock the Israeli-Palestinian stalemate.

After Rove’s announced departure, her spokesman announced that she will stay the course of the Bush Presidency. But at this point, Condoleeza Rice may also be keenly aware of what loyalty has been doing to the arc of her life from growing up in segregated Birmingham to being named on Time Magazine’s list of the World’s 100 Most Influential People four times and twice as the Most Powerful Woman in the World by Forbes since the turn of the new century.

Complete career suicide is unlikely to be on her agenda for the future.

1 comment:

Liza said...


History will not be kind to Mushroom Cloud Condi when the documents are declassified. She'll probably still be alive to read less than flattering accounts of her stint as the most powerful woman in the world.

Does that bother her? Probably not. Growing up in segregated Birmingham does not seem to have done much to connect her to her own people. But I do recall her saying in what was supposed to be a tribute to Rosa Parks that, "I would not be where I am today were it not for her." My reaction, "How dare you blame a great civil rights leader for spawning your career! How dare you!"

My prediction is that Mushroom Cloud Condi will get taken care (financially) by the power elite in some way or another. But after she serves out her term with Bush, she will fade away from public view, and it can't happen soon enough.