Condoleezza Rice’s powerful speech to the Republican National Convention Wednesday night catapulted the former Secretary of State back into the national spotlight. The Republican Party needs leaders like Rice who can forcefully and convincingly convey the Republican message while concurrently offering a personal story and credentials that can draw broad support.
As California continues to careen off the fiscal cliff and there’s no sign the Democrats in Sacramento have any intention of changing direction, Republicans must soon turn to the task of fielding a serious challenger to Gov. Jerry Brown. Here are ten reasons to consider Condoleezza Rice:
- She is an electrifying figure who challenges the Republican stereotype while concurrently earning Republican respect and support.
- She lives in California, and with the exception of her years in Washington has been here since she was first hired by Stanford University in 1981.
- Serving as National Security Adviser and Secretary of State for President George W. Bush and as the NSA’s Russia expert for President George H.W. Bush gives her impeccable Republican and government credentials.
- She has the respect of the Republican volunteer and donor communities. The donors would step up, and it would be easy to fill the headquarters and cover the precincts.
- Her public speaking skills are powerful, as demonstrated by her speech to the Convention.
- Her personal story is compelling, growing up in segregated Birmingham, Alabama and rising to hold one of the most critical posts in our government.
- In academia and government service, her background denies the Democrats their favorite lines of attack that were most effectively used against Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina in 2010. Yet, she has management experience as Stanford’s Provost in the 1990’s, turning a $20 million deficit into a surplus in two years.
- Jerry Brown has demonstrated he’s learned nothing since he last held the governor’s office. While members of his party in other states have embraced serious reform (Rhode Island), and resisted tax hikes (New York), Brown has done neither. His tax hikes, tepid support for reform, and focus on cosmetic spending cuts like cell phones and travel budgets while his agencies hide millions shows he is a Democrat of the 1960’s.
- Barbara Boxer attacked Rice in relation to her role in the war in Iraq. The occasional hits she’s taken from the right are exclusively in the area of foreign policy – not particularly relevant in the role of Governor.
- If she showed any interest in the post, she would become the instant and overwhelming frontrunner to challenge Brown.
Is Rice interested in leaving her Stanford post to run for governor? We haven’t seen any signs of that. Yet, the laws of the political universe tend to draw powerful contenders and opportunities together. Let’s see what happens.