“Pick a Republican with enough working digits to handle a pen to become president of the United States. This is a change for Republicans: the House and Senate doing the work with the president signing bills. His job is to be captain of the team, to sign the legislation that has already been prepared.” — Grover Norquist, CPAC 2012
Rice, born in Birmingham, AL., has roots in the South going back to before the Civil War. At the age of fifteen, she began piano classes with the goal of becoming a concert pianist. In 1967, the family moved to Denver. She attended St. Mary’s Academy graduating at the age of 16 in 1971. Rice later enrolled at the University of Denver. Rice’s initial college major was piano, but she later changed to Political Science. She earned a Master’s Degree in Political Science from Notre Dame in 1975. She earned her PhD in political science at the University of Denver.
According to biography.com:
Rice was appointed national security adviser by President George W. Bush becoming the first black woman (and second woman) to hold the post. She went on to become the first black woman to serve as U.S. Secretary of State—she became the nation’s 66th Secretary of State in 2004, following Colin Powell’s resignation, and served from January 2005 to 2009.
As Secretary of State, Rice has dedicated her department to “Transformational Diplomacy,” with a mission of building and sustaining democratic, well-governed states around the world and the Middle East in particular. To that end, she has relocated American diplomats to such hardship locations as Iraq, Afghanistan and Angola, and required them to become fluent in two foreign languages. She also created a high-level position to de-fragment U.S. foreign aid.
According to the March 26, 2014 article in The Hill cited below:
Rice recently headlined a fundraiser for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), helping him against his Tea Party challenger, Matt Bevin, and keynoted the California Republican Party’s annual fundraising dinner.
She’s serving as a co-chairwoman of the Bipartisan Policy Center’s task force pushing for immigration reform, and has weighed in on education and energy issues in recent months.
Sources say Rice plans to use her closed-press NRCC speech to discuss the importance of passing immigration reform legislation and call for a stronger, more internationalist foreign policy — a direct rebuke to the rising strain of libertarianism within the party.
“America is at its best when it is strong and prosperous both at home and abroad. That is why we need a robust Republican majority in the House working each day to promote peace and economic opportunity for all. I’m proud to join with the NRCC in promoting these values across the country,” she said in a January statement.
To the chagrin of many Republicans, Rice has no interest in returning to Washington or running for office. She’s running the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, serving on a number of corporate boards and was named last fall to the NCAA’s college football playoff selection committee, the only woman on the 13-member panel.
In an opinion piece that appeared in the “Washington Post” on March 7, Rice wrote:
Most important, the United States must restore its standing in the international community, which has been eroded by too many extended hands of friendship to our adversaries, sometimes at the expense of our friends. Continued inaction in Syria, which has strengthened Moscow’s hand in the Middle East, and signs that we are desperate for a nuclear agreement with Iran cannot be separated from Putin’s recent actions. Radically declining US defense budgets signal that we no longer have the will or intention to sustain global order, as does talk of withdrawl from Afghanistan whether the security situation warrants it or not. We must not fail, as we did in Iraq, to leave behind a residual presence. Anything less than the American military’s requirement for 10,000 troops will say that we are not serious about helping to stabilize that country.
Rice’s views, while reasonably consistent with those of her predecessor Madeleine Albright and her successor Hilary Clinton, seem outdated–chiding Obama for not embracing discredited Bush Administration policies. Instead of assuming the role of academic expert and experienced policy hand, Rice here takes the role of partisan zealot siding with John McCain and other neocons who favor an aggressive defense policy, while ignoring widespread public opposition to any military activity by the Obama Administration as well as any concern about costs or impact on civil liberties.
Conor Friedersdorf, writing in the March 27 Atlantic, notes:
… if Election 2016 turns out to pit Rand Paul against Hillary Clinton, lots of neoconservatives will vote for the Democrat, as they should, given their ideological notions of what’s right for the world.
As Secretary of State, Rice took a background role while wild bulls Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld occupied center stage. Reportedly, she has no interest in high public office. If she ran and were elected President, would she meet Norquist’s ideal of a President who would passively sign GOP bills, or would she emerge as a powerful and determined President who would bring RINOs and Wackos to heel?
© William Hungerford – March 2014