By Mary Beth Brown
March 06, 2008
Recently we were in Washington, D.C. to speak at the Conservative Political Action Conference and we couldn't help but notice a certain buzz and excitement about one individual in particular. It wasn't buzz about any of the presidential candidates, and they all attended. The buzz was about the possibility of Condoleezza Rice being chosen to strengthen the Republican ticket as vice president. Whenever her name came up, it was as if a light bulb went off in people's minds. Their eyes looked up in thought, and then they said with a smile, "Yes, that's a great idea!"
Much has been written about John McCain's rift with conservatives. As a longtime conservative, Christian activist and author, I think he could re-energize excitement about his campaign with the single choice of Condi Rice as his running mate.
Talk about the same subject has started to hit the airwaves and television screens. Larry King recently said on his show, "I arrived in Washington today from New York . . . and the first thing you hear is rumors. And one of the rumors is that if McCain is the nominee, he might choose Condoleezza Rice as a running mate."
People like Condi Rice, there's no doubt about it. She's a charismatic and articulate person with wonderful people skills. Americans like her because she is a brilliant woman who can stand up to anyone when the situation calls for it. An army of fans have watched her deal effectively with congressional critics on CSPAN. Her hours of testimony are the most articulate defense of Republican foreign policy to date. I doubt there is anyone who wouldn't enjoy watching this woman in a debate.
She helps John McCain solidify the Republican base. One reason men love her is because she can talk sports as well as an ESPN commentator. The National Rifle Association loves her because of her eloquent defense of the second amendment. Christians love her because of her open and forthright faith. She came into view for many with her inspiring words of comfort in the dark days after 9/11.
In August 2006, when polls showed Condi as one of the top three potential presidential contenders for 2008, she said she was flattered, but felt she had another job to finish: "hoping that in the last two and a half years as secretary of state that I can help to advance the president's vision for democracy." Although Condi has said that she will not "run for president" there is a considerable difference between running and being asked by your party's nominee to serve your country as vice president.
Beyond Republicans, there are other constituencies that embrace Condi. She remains popular in opinion polls of the American people-she's especially popular with women and minorities. These groups are now divided by bickering inside the Democratic Party because of the nasty turn in the Obama vs. Clinton nomination fight. Sen. McCain could trump the historic nature of a Democratic ticket with either Obama or Clinton by selecting Condi.
It's not a matter of Americans being ready for a woman or a black person to be president or vice president; it is a matter of finding the right individual for the job.
Condi is an optimist and visionary who inspires people with words of encouragement. Her beliefs about opportunity and equality ring true with most Americans, as do the themes which run through her life of hope, faith and perseverance, along with the values of education and hard work.
She has an amazing story to tell, and has demonstrated all her life that she can rise above the odds and achieve amazing feats. Born in the segregated south, few people better personify the American dream. Her father, John Rice, became a registered Republican only after being rejected by a racist Democratic Party official in Alabama.
Condoleezza Rice doesn't need to seek positions because she is such an outstanding and qualified individual. She lets them find her, saying, "Everything I've done that's been exciting was never planned."
Hopefully, the most exciting job of her life will be offered to Condi by John McCain. It will energize his campaign. With Condi, the Republican Party--the party of Abraham Lincoln--can regain its historic place as the party of equality based on merit.