Thursday, April 19, 2012


What makes a good Vice President? I would suggest the following traits are paramount in an effective Vice President.
  1. Qualified and capable of taking the reigns of government.
  2. Able to execute policy of the POTUS.
  3. Grant competent advice and counsel.
  4. Must be politically satisfied with being Vice President of the United States.
Mitt Romney will pick who he will pick for Vice President but I can think of few people that fit the above criteria better than former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. 

1) Qualified and capable of taking the reigns of government. This is the number one qualification of a good vice president and something John McCain didn't give much consideration in 2008 (apologies to the Palin supporters). We have had eight of forty-four presidents die in office making their vice presidents the Commander in Chief. As medicine has improved the likelihood of the death of a sitting president has been decreased but it is no less important to have a qualified VP that is capable of taking control of government in the event of a tragedy or accident. Few Americans believe that current President Obama is up to the task of his office let alone his Vice President. Joe Biden has been a colorful addition to the White House with his uniquely off-the-cuff and oft times inappropriate remarks but all agree he is no statesman and would make an unlikely POTUS. Condoleezza Rice on the other hand has had all the experience of government but is no cheap politician. Americans could sleep at night knowing that Rice was in the drivers seat protecting the red button. She has proven to be a thoughtful leader with tempered emotions. Unlike our current Vice President, Condoleezza Rice would mean what she said and only say what she means. In a word Rice is: Professional.

2) Able to execute policy of the POTUS. Vice Presidents have in the past had the job of executing the Presidents agenda. Some VP's are more powerful and influential than others but almost all of them are given the task to bring consensus to the president's vision. In the case of a Mitt Romney presidency a VP would have to be a budget hawk with the ability to understand and project balance budgets, debt/deficit reduction, and the downsizing and redistribution of the Federal Government. Few people know the intricacies of government better than Rice and even fewer have run entire government departments. Romney is running more or less on a economic ticket and Condoleezza Rice would complement his fiscally minded administration. As Stanford's Provost, Rice was responsible for the multi-billion dollar university budget. When Rice took over Stanford was running a deficit of $20 million dollars and she promised that the budget deficit would be balanced within two years. Stanford's deputy director of the Institute for International Studies said, "there was a sort of conventional wisdom that said it couldn't be done... that [the deficit] was structural, that we just had to live with it." Two years later Rice announced that the deficit had been eliminated and the university was holding a record surplus of over $14.5 million. Coupled with Rice's strong national security and international credentials is her real life experience in balancing a large institutions budget. Again, there are very few people in government with that sort of real life experience. Let's just say that President Obama never had to balance anything and he still hasn't as POTUS.

3) Grant competent advice and counsel. There are varying degrees of vice presidential influence. Some say that  VP Cheney had the presidents ear like few vice presidents have ever had. Our current VP made a deal with the President that he would accept the VP spot in exchange for at least a weekly hour meeting.  We don't know how that has turned out for VP Biden but we do know that he advised the President not to send a SEAL team to Pakistan to get Osama bin Laden. That was a bit of bad advice and if Biden is advising the President on the economy too then heaven help us. One thing is certain. Condoleezza Rice is an expert in national security and international relations. Having been National Security Advisor and Secretary of State, Rice has all the experience of real world politics cupeled with her time as an academic. A year before the September 11th attacks Rice warned, "You really have to get the intelligence agencies better organized to deal with the terrorist threat to the United States itself. One of the problems that we have is a kind of split responsibility, of course, between the CIA and foreign intelligence and the FBI and domestic intelligence... there needs to be better cooperation because we don't want to wake up one day and find out that Osama bin Laden has been successful on our own territory." Of course her fears became the national tragedy of 9-11. With counsel like Rice, Mitt Romney would be well advised in all things foreign and domestic. 

4) Must be politically satisfied with being Vice President of the United States. This is a very important trait in a VP. I would argue that Dick Cheney, for better or worse, was one of the most powerful VPs we've had in living memory because he had no ambition to be POTUS. He was less worried about his career than he was about defending the President and championing his causes. While you can argue that VP Cheney was a poor adviser or had bad policy ideas no one can argue about his loyalty and dedication to President Bush. Condoleezza Rice would also be a very noticeable and influential VP as she has expressed zero interest in political office. She has even said on multiple occasions that she would not seek or accept the VP slot on a Romney ticket. But I also believe that she is a woman who has never turned her back on duty and if the call were made I imagine she would feel obligated to accept. But that is hopeful speculation on my part. Certainly a Vice President Rice would never look to save her own political neck and throw a President Romney under the proverbial bus.

There are many other reasons why Condoleezza Rice would make an excellent Vice President. She is an accomplished person with many talents, experiences, and background. But when it comes to the top four qualifications for a good VP she passes with flying colors and practically defines the role. Mitt Romney likes to surround himself with stable competent people with real life experience. He tolerates no amateurs and Condoleezza Rice is the antithesis of that. After these last three years of amateurs on parade it would be nice to have a professional executive branch once again and Romney Rice would be a perfect team to go up against the daunting task of a terrible economy, a bloated government, and a dangerous world. 

In addition to being extremely qualified, Rice has been under the microscope for years. No surprises in her candidacy. And it doesn't hurt that the mainstream media already takes a dislike to her. That's a bandage of honor and endorsement in my book. Tough decisions will always create controversy. We don't need popular people. We need competent people. 


Anonymous said...

Too Bush. I like her.

Anonymous said...

I think she was a voice of reason in the Bush administration and most Americans see that and like her. She did her job well and that is what people remember. People might take Bush over Obama anyway. It's that bad now.

ConservativeCard said...

Rice would be my first choice for Romney's VP. She would have been the only candidate, who if she ran for the nomination, would have pulled my support away from Romney. I like Ryan & Rubio too for VP, but Romney couldnt do any better, I think, than Condi Rice as his VP running mate...The VP debate between her and Biden would be better, in my opinion, than an Abott and Costello routine! My order for Romney's VP Pick, in ranking order:

1. Ryan or Rice
2. Rice or Ryan
3. Rubio
4. MAYBE...Huckabee


dgenetaylor said...

Wow. Very well done. I love Condi for VP.
Her recent discourse at BYU was inspiring and shows her ability to communicate conservative values very effectively. Romney-Rice !

Anonymous said...

I hope you mean a BADGE, not a bandage of honor. . .

Anonymous said...

Pro-choice. End of issue.

Anonymous said...

I respect and like Condi as much as I do Mitt, but she's not a good choice for VP. Pro-choice disqualifies her from the start.


Machtyn said...

Sadly, I think Anon@xx:05 has it pegged. She is perceived as "Pro-Choice".

This isn't true, though. She holds a Libertarian view on the subject (similar to Romney's 1994 position and Santorum's 1990 position.) That is, she feels it should not be up to the government to decide the issue.

I am pro-life up to the point that an abortion is needed to save the mother's life. All others, rape, incest, etc, the babies should be put up for the adoption if unwanted. Of course, that is my personal opinion... which is why many politicians would rather the government not get involved. My point is, there are some pro-lifers that would call me pro-choice on my one exception.

For more about Ms. Rice's position, see this excellent article:

Edmund Burke said...

Whoa mule. You missed the most important feature. You have to have positions and philosophy that is totally consistent with the President. Or if not, you totally disavow and subvert your beliefs in a believable way. I have no idea if Rice is even a conservative.

Anonymous said...

In her own words she says she is more of a "libertarian" when it comes to abortion. It needs to go back to the States so no one is dictated to. I think she's OK when it comes to this issue especially in a Federal capacity. States Rights Rule!

newark hawk said...

Condoleezza Rice is pro-choice, pro-affirmative action and pro-amnesty for illegal immigrants.

Rice has never held elected office.

Rice has never held executive office(sorry, Rice fans, but Secretary of State doesn't count).

And the fact that Rice only made ONE public reference to the threat of Osama bin Laden & al-Qaida prior to 9/11 is a disqualifying - not a qualifying - bullet point on her resume`.

Condoleezza Rice doesn't have a snowball's chance in hell of being Romney's running mate.

Terrye said...

I like Condi, but the right will never accept her.

marK said...

Remember, Vice President of the United States is an elective office, not an appointed one. There is a huge difference. Condi Rice has never run for elective office in her entire life. She has only served in appointed ones. And you want a complete elective amateur with no campaign experience whatsoever to run as Mitt's VP running-mate?


newark hawk said...

And you can say good-bye to another pro-amnesty, soft on illegal immigration Republican as Romney's VP, since Marco Rubio publicly declared yesterday that he would definitely say "NO" if Romney asked him to be his running mate.

Don't let the door hit you on the way out, Marco, since I'm sure Romney was never even considering you in the first place.

Anonymous said...

The country does not piviot of who is 'pro choice' and who is not. Mitt has never governed 'pro choice' I don't see the problem. Rice is a solid choice, if Romney chooses her.


newark hawk said...

As the latest FOX, Rasmussen & Gallup polls show, Romney does NOT need the African-American or Latino vote to defeat Obama.

"If the election were held today, Romney would defeat Obama by a double-digit margin, because 90% of the undecided voters vote for the challenger in presidential elections."~Dick Morris on 'O'Reilly' last night

Anonymous said...

Rubio has already said definitely no, and so has Condi Rice.

leighrow said...

I think Ryan,Governor Daniels and Christie would be great choices. I like Christie because he might give the Romney ticket that excitement boost. I still would love to see some polls with Rand Paul as a VP. The GOP needs to pull away from GWB's progressive agenda and I think someone like Paul would be a great sign and it actually might pull in the younger voters.

Condi is too much like Bush and Rubio's criticism of AZ immigration law yesterday was a deal breaker for me. Rubio's endorsement of Romney was very weak as well.

Anonymous said...

All of those qualities mean diddly without the ONE critical quality. ELECTABILITY. Which VP gets Mitt the most votes. Hands down Rubio

newark hawk said...

Marco Rubio is not crazy about Romney because he knows that Romney is dead serious about securing our nation's borders with fences, border patrol, E-Verify and severe criminal penalties for employers who hire illegal immigrants.

If Romney could crack down on illegal immigration in a deep blue state like Massachusetts, he will certainly do so as POTUS.

Romney will select a running mate who is as serious as he is about securing the borders.

Marco Rubio doesn't fit the bill.

Slick-Willy said...

Mitt will select Christie, who is a great partner. The match doesn't pander to regional biases and doesn't pander to race voters, but it's a perfect personality match.

I wish Christie were Hispanic, but he's not. And he's still the best option.

Emma Peel said...

Publius, thank you for your wonderful piece on this remarkable and gifted woman Condi Rice. Your arguments are serious and persuasive. So many of us admire Condi for her many achievements (academic, artistic, international), as well as her confrontation with racism as a black girl growing up in the old South.

But Condi will never be persuaded to run as VP. By her own account, she's not a politician. She's been absolutely forthright about this. She's interested in policy--not in retail politics. Perfect for a cabinet position (which she held under GW), but not for the grueling contests on the political battlefield during a national election. (I don't believe she's ever run for any elective office, much less a national constitutional office.)

Perhaps a President Romney can find some way to use Condi's expertise in his administration--if she is willing to return to the public fray. Even that's a stretch.