Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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Rice at State

I have absolutely no problem with Dr. Rice at State. I think it is a good choice. George Will’s column is a series of questions that Senators, were they serious, could ask her at her confirmation hearings. Needless to say, a response would mean a real graduate level seminar lasting a week or two. Unlikely. It would be fun, not because I think Rice would be put on the ropes, but because we could also learn much about our Senators as well. This is President Bush’s announcement of her nomination. Michael Goodwin thinks it is "wonderful" that Bush isn’t making a big deal of the fact that she is the first black woman to be Secretary of State. He snuck her (and Powell before her) in the front door in broad daylight before anyone noticed. Lincoln lives. Imagine the diversity speeches we would have gotten from Kerry (or Clinton). Good for Bush, and us.
This BBC
report describes her as "driven and highly ambitious."

Discussions - 2 Comments

The notion that Condi Rice is a good choice for State reflects the wrongheaded view of most liberals, that what counts in government is the same thing that counts in the academy: intellect, verbal adroitness and familiarity with the nuance of policy. All of which Rice certainly has.

In fact, as President Bush has demonstrated, what really counts is being able to manage. That is, give clear operational direction, choose good subordinates, back those who perform, and fire those who don’t.

Condi Rice has none of these skills. The organization she’s been nominated to run has 50,000 employees. Most are career-long opponents of everything she and the President stand for.

They’ll eat her alive.

Lawrie McFarlane
Victoria, BC

I think there’s something to this observation.

Bush needs to appoint more ass-kickers.
His tendency is to appoint people he feels personally close to. This is not how a transformational leader operates.
It is a clear mark of second-rateness.

Look at the appointment of Margaret Spellings to Education -- roundly praised by Ted Kennedy and the NEA, denounced by John DiIulio months ago in a very public article as completely ignorant of public policy. Ah, but Bush worked with her in Texas.

I’m not trashing Condi, just wondering if State didn’t need an ass-kicker.

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