Like John Presnall, I have Sirius XM radio in my car. So I was driving home yesterday and I heard William Kristol on the 4:00 PM FOX News show. Kristol was touting (though not entirely endorsing) Condoleezza Rice for Vice President. Romney choosing Rice would be a serious political error. Rice is pro-choice on abortion, and it’s not like Romney has an excess of credibility with pro-lifers to begin with. So here is how it would play out if Romney picked Rice: He would face a revolt among strongly pro-life Republicans. The news would get real interested in Rick Santorum’s opinion on the subject. Romney and Rice would have to spend days and days publicly reassuring pro-lifers that he hasn’t already begun the process of selling them out. Not all pro-lifers would buy it. I wouldn’t. In the meantime, persuadable voters who place a low priority on social issues would see a party having nervous breakdown over an issue they don’t especially care about. So selecting Rice would demoralize pro-lifers, and end up making the Republicans look obsessed with abortion to those who don’t care about the issue. Strongly committed pro-choicers already have their candidate. And what is the gain? Rice is obviously a very smart, very accomplished, and seemingly decent woman. She was also one of George W. Bush’s top foreign policy advisers during the whole of Bush’s two terms. That includes the mishandling of Iraq policy from the Summer of 2003 until the Surge. Picking Rice makes the election somewhat less about the economy and somewhat more about the least popular parts of President George W. Bush’s foreign policy record. Romney choosing Rice to be his running mate would be a lose-lose-lose proposition.
Tuesday, July 10, 2012, 7:38 PM