By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
In the history of the United States no President has ever been elected from the state of Alabama. An Alabama native however could be the 2012 Vice Presidential candidate for the Republican Party. The former Bush Administration Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice has emerged as one of the finalists for the post according to the conservative blog, the Drudge Report.
As a former Secretary of State and National Security Advisor, Condoleezza Rice brings tremendous foreign policy experience to the ticket that former Massachusetts Governor Romney lacks. The Birmingham native would be the first Alabama born candidate on a major party Presidential ticket since Alabama Senator John Sparkman (D) ran for Vice President as Adlai Stevenson’s running mate in 1952. The duo were eventually defeated by the Republican ticket of Eisenhower and Nixon.
Peggie Noonan says that Condoleezza Rice is “A public figure of obvious and nameable accomplishment whose attainments can’t be taken away from her. Washington experience—she wouldn’t be learning on the job. Never run for office but no political novice. An academic, but not ethereal or abstract. A woman in a year when Republicans aren’t supposed to choose a woman because of what is now called the 2008 experience—so the choice would have a certain boldness. A black woman in a campaign that always threatens to take on a painful racial overlay. A foreign-policy professional acquainted with everyone who’s reigned or been rising the past 20 years.
I should add here the look on the faces of the people who were applauding. They looked surprised by their own passion. Actually they looked relieved, like a campaign was going on and big things might happen and maybe it could get kind of . . . exciting.”
Another consideration is polling. In all the major polls, Governor Romney has a big lead among white men. That is not likely to change. Among white women (the largest voting block when divided by race and gender) the two are running very close. Among racial minorities the President is trouncing Romney. Some polls show the President with support as high as 92% among Black voters. Also at age 57, Sec. of State Rice would still be young enough to make a viable run for President in 2020 following a Romney Presidency.
To win, Romney needs more support from women and if he could pull away any of Obama’s support among Hispanics or Blacks that could be enough to sway some swing states. The only time in American history that one of the major parties has put a woman on a presidential ticket was 1984 when a very desperate Democratic Party ran Rep. Geraldine Ferraro (D) from New York as the Vice Presidential candidate beside former Carter Vice President Walter Mondale. They were crushed by the Republican duo of President Ronald Reagan and then Vice President George H. Bush.
The negatives are many. Condoleezza Rice on the ticket likely does not bring a state with her. Her native Alabama is soundly in the Republican camp no matter who is the VP pick and her adopted state of California is polling so far in favor of reelecting Obama that it is likely not in play unless the Obama campaign were to totally meltdown. Secretary Rice has also been criticized by Bush administration insiders former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton and Vice President Dick Cheney.
Some social conservatives have criticized the prospect of Rice being on the ticket. Newsmax is reporting that Dr. Richard Land, President of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, said, “I contacted my contacts within the campaign and said, ‘You can’t do this.’”
Secretary Rice has in the past called herself, “mildly pro-choice.” Dr. Land said, “The key here is this is the first nomination in a proposed Romney administration and it cannot be someone who’s pro-choice, because that reactivates all the old doubts about whether pro-life is a preference, or a conviction, with the Romney administration.” Rev. Land said that choosing Rice for the No. 2 job, “would deactivate some pro-life activists and contributors into being mere voters, and some mere voters into being fishermen.”
The former Secretary of State has denied any interest in the job of Vice President. On June 26th she said, “I don’t see myself in any way in elected office. I love policy. I’m not particularly fond of politics.”
Rice is currently working at Stanford University.