Shlomo Wiesen

Rice for VP is a Ruse

The last time the Drudge Report posted news of a likely VP selection, it was Barack Obama choosing Evan Baye. And before that, it was John Kerry choosing Hillary Clinton. And now we are supposed to believe that Mitt Romney is taking Condoleeza Rice?

In my opinion, there are two possibilities here: Matt Drudge was having a beer with his buddies, who began to question his influence within the liberal news media, to which he replied, “Oh yea? Watch this”, as he quickly churned out a “Condi Leads Veep List” article just for kicks. Or, somewhat more likely, Drudge received a tip from a “source” inside camp Romney. I can guarantee you that the Romney “source” was smirking while he spoke with Drudge.

Regardless, Mitt is not taking Condi. And it’s not because she’s viewed as cold to Israel. It’s because she stood before Congress and announced that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. In other words, she is a flashing remnant of the still-toxic Bush administration. Granted, picking Rice would not be as glaring as taking Cheney or even Karl Rove, but Rice was certainly part of the Bush clan in everything but name.

Speaking of names, consider the fact that Romney has ruled out the possibility of taking Jeb Bush, considered to be a brilliant and popular GOP politician, all because he shares the same last name as brother George.

Rice may be a woman, and she may be black, but she will not be taken as VP. It makes a lot more sense that camp Romney planted this story to rev up media interest in his VP selection, show the media and public that Romney’s insistence on taking a “boring white guy” isn’t guaranteed, and to maybe make a grab at a few percentage points of the impenetrable black vote which Obama holds so easily.

Now that we know the Rice story is going nowhere, who else can Romney choose? I’m not positive that the “boring white guy” selection is such a given.

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, of Indian descent, seems to have fully recovered from his disastrous “coming out party” speech in 2009, when he robotically delivered the GOP’s official response to Obama’s first address to Congress. Jindal remains popular in the South, and could help siphon off some minority votes from Obama.

Tim Pawlenty, though a white male, is actually not too boring. He brings with him a genuine energy to crowds, and American citizens relate to his pedestrian upbringing. Everyone except for Mitt.

Rob Portman is the safest, classic boring white guy choice. And if you’re going to take a white guy, it should be Pawlenty. Sorry Rob. Though Portman does offer one caveat: Ohio.

Paul Ryan earned rave reviews for his “chemistry” with Mitt on the campaign trail. As if Presidential candidates care about chemistry. Al Gore, Joe Lieberman, Sarah Palin- all were chosen for their attributes, chemistry be damned. Sorry Paul!

Anne Romney did mention that one woman was being vetted. It is quite possible that that woman may indeed be Rice, though a Rice-vetting is likely being carried out as a way to please Anne, or to give weight to Romney’s Rice ruse. As for the other women being bandied about in the media, with just a little research, one will notice that none of them match up to their male counterparts. Susanna Martinez? She switched her party allegiance from Democratic to Republican in 1995. An accused flopper like Romney would stay far away from her. Kelly Ayotte? She has been a Senator for a grand total of two years. Considering that Romney only served as Governor for 1 term, he needs a real politician. Nikki Haley? She couldn’t even deliver South Carolina for Mitt when he ran against Newt Gingrich. Kay Bailey Hutchinson? Technically the strongest female candidate, and a compelling argument could be made for her. She has been criticized for lacking panache, though Palin had plenty of panache and ended up sinking the ship.

But make no mistake. Romney is not taking a female. For a methodical, calculating, cold blooded businessman to take on a risk of a female VP makes no sense. The only two female VP candidates in U.S. history were absolutely battered (Ferraro and Palin). Romney would be the last person to take this type of risk.

Marco Rubio and Chris Christie were the media’s two initial favorites for VP, though both have flamed out. Rubio, despite the hype and telegenic face, doesn’t offer much to Romney other than his Florida residency. And even that is questionable, as Mexicans haven’t taken kindly to Rubio’s strict immigration policy. I also believe that Rubio may have pandered a bit to Romney, though I’m not sure if that hurt or helped him.

The argument against Christie has been a bit murky. Ranging from too fat to too loud, Christie has garnered support within the GOP as a rockstar, just not as a VP. That’s because his larger than life personality gives him boom or bust appeal- if he can capture the nomination for Presidency somewhere down the line, then by all means. But I can’t imagine Christie sitting quietly in a Romney meeting, biting his tongue and waiting for instruction. Sure, he can be Romney’s attack dog on the campaign trail, but beyond that seems like a poor fit.

The Rice news seems to be lingering for a bit, and in Romney’s head, any news other than his Cayman Islands wealth, Bain Capital, and the car elevator in his house which he uses to transport cars, is considered good news. If the Rice news was indeed a ruse, I think it was cute, but won’t last very long. Romney will need to take on his wealth-induced weaknesses in full strength, where the public can see. And if taking someone like Pawlenty or Jindal helps alleviate some of Romney’s questionable attributes in a safe manner, then that’s the man he’ll take. Get ready Tim.


And say there is no sin but to be rich

And being rich, my virtue then shall be

To say there is no vice but beggary

Shakespeare, King John, Act II, Scene I

About the Author
Shlomo works in digital marketing with an expertise in content & SEO. Jerusalem resident.