Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Condi in '08? I love her, but no.

There is some buzz about Condoleeza Rice as a Presidential candidate in 2008 in this article from Dick Morris and even in my own house. I greatly admire Dr. Rice's abilities and her public service, and I would almost certainly vote for her if she were nominated. But because she has never proven herself by actually winning election to any office, I don't think her running for President in 2008 would be a good idea.

Steven M. Warshawsky lists a lot of reasons for her not to run on the American Thinker: Beware the Condi bandwagon (Hat tip, Michelle Malkin).

To me, the biggest concern is her lack of experience and unproven ability to actually get elected to something. There have been several recent cases of people running for public office for the first time and choosing a major office like Governor or US Senator. Examples are people like Michael Huffington who ran for US Senate in California and Bobby Jindal who ran for Governor of Louisiana. In both of these cases and many more, the candidate had no experience being a candidate in a major campaign and had never proven their ability to actually get people to vote for them.

(As an aside, Jindal has made an excellent recovery from his Governorship loss, winning a US House seat in the last cycle and is getting off to a great start there.)

As much as I like to bash politicians of all stripes, I'm also aware that it takes real talent and skill to get people to vote for you. It goes beyond simply taking positions most people agree with. Vote-getting talent is independent of other innate characteristics like intelligence, wisdom and character. The skill requires training and practice. A lot of us Vast Right Wing Conspirators were frustrated by Bill Clinton's enormous talent and skills in this area. Ronald Reagan had a similar effect on the Left.

So my rule is: Get elected to something else first, before running for something as big as Governor or US Senator. And forget about running for President as a first time candidate.

Of course there counterexamples to this rule such as Ronald Reagan's California Governorship, Hillary Clinton's US Senate seat, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Dwight Eisenhower. Each of these had exceptional circumstances which I don't see in Rice's case.

Condi is a great person. I loved what she did as National Security Advisor and what she is doing as Secretary of State. I'll back her 100% if she is nominated. But my hope is she will not run for President unless she proves she can get elected to some other office first.