July 13, 2012

Never mind the hate-hate relationship between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton now. When it comes to doing anything to win reelection, Obama will sell his soul (that's presuming he has one) to stay in office. He is hell-bent on finishing his transformation of America.

The conventional thinking goes something like this: If Obama dumps Biden and puts Hillary on the ticket, he not only wins reelection, but guarantees that the Democrats will keep the White House at least through 2024. By then, the Republican party would be toast as all the special interest groups, supporters of amnesty for illegal aliens, women's groups, the young, the elites, all minorities and whoever else fits the leftist mold, would become the majority and can keep the Dems in power, potentially forever.

The speculation about Mitt Romney's choice for VP is now centering on former Bush National Security Advisor and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Should Romney single her out for the slot and she accepts the nod (something she has said on at least three separate occasions she is not interested in), then, it's game on!

A Romney-Rice ticket means Biden has got to go. I don't think Obama will "dump" his current gaffe king, but he would "persuade" him to "retire" or step down, perhaps with the promise of moving over to the State Department in place of Hillary.

Obama has got to have a different partner on the ticket. Romney choosing Rice is a tactical move as he would try to sway a number of the women voters and a few of the so-called educated voters. Her nomination to VEEP will not persuade so much as one-quarter of one percent of the black vote. She is, after all, viewed as a traitor to her race because she is a conservative and worked for Bush.

Obama's move is to go from tactical to strategic by countering with a selection  of a female as well. If Hillary truly believes that turning down Obama's request to be on the ticket will bring his demise and her possible comeback in 2016, then she will say to the President, "you are on your own, Bud" and ride off to wait for her turn in four years.

What, then, for Barack? The thought of "Foot-in-Mouth Joe" debating the flamboyant, highly educated and well-informed Condi, would be too much for the Obama team to swallow and may produce a few cardiac arrests half way through the debate.

Enter Debbie Wassermann-Schultz. She is not brilliant at all, and suffers from gross exaggeration to the 3rd degree. But, she can muddle her way through a debate all the while delivering the women and Jewish vote, as well as possibly bringing Florida back for Obama on election night. After all, if Obama gets Florida, he will be elected.

Rice would be a political game changer for the 2012 race. 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, female voters and single women. So let the Condimania begin!

But she is more than just a fad 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.

And her expertise on foreign policy, as a former secretary of state, would compensate for Romney’s lack of international experience. As a governor and a businessman, Romney dealt almost exclusively with domestic policy.

The downside of selecting Rice, is the likely conservative backlash to her refusal to ban a woman’s right to an abortion. Opposition from the left will center on her central role in the Bush administration, specifically her role in the Iraq war and the weapons of mass destruction controversy.

And then there is the Republican establishment’s concerns about her past and her role in the Bush administration. Wall Street Journal's Bret Steph has written that “she was a bad national security adviser and a bad secretary of state.” In a May column opposing any thought that she might be a good fit for Romney, Stephens wrote, “choosing her would simply be evidence that he doesn’t have much faith in his own November chances.”

But Rice has a strong political spine. She flew in the face of anti-immigrant fervor from the GOP right wing recently by standing up for immigrants. She opposed individual states, beginning with Arizona, passing laws to increase pursuit of illegal immigrants. That position — politically daring in the modern-day GOP — will be a big help as the Romney campaign tries to win over Latino voters.

There is another critical reason why Romney should pick Rice. Over the last few months, she has partnered with Joel Klein, the former chancellor of the New York City public school system, to draw attention to the crisis in American public education. They co-chaired a Council on Foreign Relations panel that examined the failure of public education as a threat to America’s national security.

They found that 75 percent of American young adults do not qualify to serve in the military because they have criminal records, are physically unfit or — the biggest reason — have inadequate levels of education. One out of every four American students fails to get the high school diploma needed to join the military.

This includes about half of the nation’s black and Hispanic students, who drop out of high school. Even more disturbing is the report’s finding that 30 percent of the young people graduating from America’s high schools don’t do well enough in math, science and English on the aptitude test to serve in the military.

The report also screamed out that the U.S.  State Department is unable to find enough foreign-language speakers to serve as interpreters and translators.

“The education crisis may well be the greatest threat to our national security,” Rice explained at a recent speech before the Heritage Foundation in Washington. “The crisis in K-12 is producing unemployable people who will ultimately be on the dole because they will have nowhere else to go.”

Rice has exactly the right message to jump start the education debate.

By putting Rice on the ticket Romney could reform his image and give the education reform movement a boost. And win or lose in November, he will have created a political legacy for himself and done his country a great service.

We are in the middle of a chess game and it's Mitt's move. If he takes a pawn as he moves his knight, the pawn would be Biden and Obama would have to use his queen to counter. Just who will be the queen? Hillary or DWS?

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