creators.com opinion web
Liberal Opinion Conservative Opinion
Patrick Buchanan
Pat Buchanan
24 Oct 2014
Things Fall Apart

When this writer was 3 years old, the Empire of Japan devastated Battleship Row of the U.S. Pacific Fleet at … Read More.

21 Oct 2014
The Price of Papal Popularity

Normally a synod of Catholic bishops does not provide fireworks rivaling the 1968 Democratic National … Read More.

17 Oct 2014
Ebola, Ideology and Common Sense

Growing up in Washington in the 1930s and '40s, our home was, several times, put under quarantine. A poster … Read More.

Is Mitt Serious About Condi?

Comment

The first criterion in choosing a vice president, it is said, is that he or she must be qualified to be president.

Yet there is another yardstick by which candidates measure running mates. Do they bring something to the table? Can they help with a critical voting bloc? Can they bring a crucial state?

Lyndon Johnson is regarded as a brilliant choice by JFK, though his brother Bobby, among others in the Kennedy camp, loathed LBJ. LBJ locked up Texas and helped bring home five other former Confederate states for the Roman Catholic nominee from Boston.

In deciding on a vice president candidate, many considerations have to be running through Mitt Romney's mind.

His choice must be seen as ready to be president or at least able to attain that status in short order, and augment his strength with a strategic constituency or help corral a major state he would otherwise have difficulty winning.

Then there is the iron rule of the Hippocratic Oath: Primum non nocere. First, do no harm. The VP candidate also should be conversant with a panoply of issues, fully prepared to defend the nominee's positions on domestic, foreign and economic policies.

Such considerations suggest that whoever in Romney's camp floated the name of Condi Rice to The Drudge Report last weekend was more concerned with changing the subject from Bain Capital and the Caymans than in signaling where the candidate's head and heart are today.

That Rice is accomplished and competent is not in dispute. But should Romney choose her, within hours we would be re-litigating the Iraq War. It was, recall, Rice who slapped down skeptics of that war by implying their reluctance to invade Iraq might just be risking a nuclear surprise attack on the United States.

"There will always be some uncertainty about how quickly Saddam can acquire nuclear weapons," said Rice. "But we don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud."

Rice was George W. Bush's leading saleslady for a war that cost America $1 trillion, 4,500 dead and 35,000 wounded, and cost the Republican Party both houses of Congress in 2006 and the presidency in 2008. That war is today regarded by many U.S. foreign policy scholars as among the greatest strategic blunders in American history.

Should Rice be chosen, she will be spending much of the campaign defending her role in that war.

And Gov. Romney will find himself defending, or disagreeing with, what George W. Bush did a decade ago.

Rice is by her own admission "mildly pro-choice" on abortion, a position mildly anathema to religious conservatives, the foot soldiers of the party, many of whom have been only lately won over to the governor himself.

Rice's whole career has been devoted to foreign policy. Can she be brought up to speed in weeks to learn and recite the new catechism of the party and defend it from a hostile press or in debate with Joe Biden?

Most Republicans have no idea where Condi stands or what she believes about right to life, gay marriage, affirmative action and the Arizona immigration law. Asked whom she voted for in 2008, Rice reportedly said, "I just want to acknowledge that when the (2008) election took place and after the election took place, it was a special time for Americans."

Did the candidacy of John McCain make it a "special time"?

My friend and former White House colleague Peggy Noonan says that when she mentioned the possibility of Condi Rice as vice president to a gathering of business types, "spontaneous applause burst forth." Condi's nomination, she wrote, would be truly "exciting."

Peggy's got that right. The right is boiling with excitement already.

But would it be wise for Romney, who bears no responsibility for the record of George W. Bush, to choose a running mate who would force him to defend a Wilsonian policy of compulsive interventions across the globe "to end tyranny in our world"?

The choice of Rice would be a Romney endorsement of the Bush foreign policy of which she was co-architect, having spent four years as the national security adviser and four as secretary of state.

Tim Pawlenty could help carry Minnesota. Sen. Rob Portman could help secure Ohio. Sen. Marco Rubio would likely deliver Florida and help in a Hispanic community that is 16 percent of the U.S. population and may in 2012 constitute 9 percent of the vote.

Can Condi Rice deliver California? What does she bring?

When a candidate is facing what seems an insurmountable lead, he will often consider a roll of the dice.

Ronald Reagan's team, 20 points down, considered putting ex-president Gerald Ford on the ticket. Walter Mondale, 20 points down, picked a congresswoman from Queens whom America did not know. John McCain picked Sarah Palin.

But candidates who are running even tend not to take huge risks. Surely there are other ways to shift the subject from Bain Capital.

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of "Suicide of a Superpower: Will America Survive to 2025?" To find out more about Patrick Buchanan and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.

COPYRIGHT 2012 CREATORS.COM



Comments

2 Comments | Post Comment
Buchanan got the Hail Mary Pass part of this right. There is an air of desperation about the Romney campaign, and rightly so. Even J.C. himself might not be able to do for Romney what LBJ did for Kennedy.
Comment: #1
Posted by: Masako
Mon Jul 16, 2012 4:14 PM
As far as I've heard, Rubio does not want the VP, so I don't understand why his name keeps being brought up as potential VP in everyones articles. Pats concerns about backsliding on the Iraq war are valid. Most Americans want the wars to end, not continue or resume.
Comment: #2
Posted by: Chris McCoy
Tue Jul 17, 2012 9:31 AM
Already have an account? Log in.
New Account  
Your Name:
Your E-mail:
Your Password:
Confirm Your Password:

Please allow a few minutes for your comment to be posted.

Enter the numbers to the right:  
Creators.com comments policy
More
Pat Buchanan
Oct. `14
Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa
28 29 30 1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30 31 1
About the author About the author
Write the author Write the author
Printer friendly format Printer friendly format
Email to friend Email to friend
View by Month
Authorís Podcast
Marc Dion
Marc DionUpdated 27 Oct 2014
Lawrence Kudlow
Lawrence KudlowUpdated 25 Oct 2014
diane dimond
Diane DimondUpdated 25 Oct 2014

6 May 2014 Is Obama Wrong on Ukraine?

3 Jul 2007 In Defeat, a Bush Opportunity

16 Nov 2012 Who Fed Susan the Benghazi Bullhockey?