From The Grio — Condi Rice for vice-president? At least Juan Williams thinks it’s a good idea.
With former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney now emerging as the presumptive Republican nominee for president, now is the time for the GOP to find a running mate.
And Juan Williams of Fox News believes that Condoleezza Rice, former Secretary of State under George W. Bush, is made to order.
“Rice would be a political game changer for the 2012 race. Yes, she would be the first African-American woman to be on a major party’s presidential ticket, at a time when the GOP is losing ground with minority and female voters,” Williams argues. “But she is more than that because — unlike some other prospects — her selection can never be dismissed as racial tokenism. She is an experienced political player who has scars from previous battles; former Vice-President Dick Cheney and former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld are still taking shots at her in their latest books.”
A recent CNN/ORC poll puts Rice at the top of the list of Republicans vice-presidential contenders. But Rice in the number two spot may not be the cakewalk that Williams suggests. After all, there are pros and cons to her candidacy.
As for the pros, first of all, Condi Rice brings likeability and personality to the ticket. Obama is ahead in the major polls, nationally and in battleground states like North Carolina, Virginia, and Nevada. Even Arizona is up for grabs. Although the election is months away and a lot can change before November, the race will come down to 10 swing states, nine of which Obama won in 2008.
Romney suffers from an enthusiasm deficit and a long, drawn out and nasty primary campaign season that potentially positions the candidate and the party in an unfavorable light — among independents, moderates and other voters outside the Republican base. The charisma, charm and brilliance of a Condoleezza Rice could help offset Romney’s negative image as a rich, dull, white bread kind of guy.
Second, Rice brings much needed diversity to the ticket and to the party. In recent years, theGOP has an image problem, which is fully grounded in reality. The GOP is viewed by some as an overwhelmingly white party that has veered to the edge of right, plain and simple.
Black Republicans are mostly nowhere to be found, particularly black Republican elected officials under 40 (with one, high profile exception). Moreover, the party’s hardline stance against immigration isn’t exactly attracting Hispanic voters, and its Islamophobic, anti-Sharia legislation has made Muslim- and Arab-Americans run in the opposite direction.