Condi for vice pres­i­dent

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary -

Iyou were watch­ing Sec­re­tary of State Con­doleezza Rice on C-Span as she tes­ti­fied the other day be­fore the Se­nate For­eign Re­la­tions Com­mit­tee, you would ask your­self as I did: what is this hand­some, ar­tic­u­late, charm­ing states­man go­ing to do for an en­core, af­ter her term of of­fice is over in a year or so? Be­come a fundrais­ing pres­i­dent of some univer­sity? Oh, no. Pres­i­dent of some big cor­po­ra­tion? Please. A Gold­man Sachs banker? Please again.

I think Miss Rice would make a good pres­i­dent, far bet­ter, say, than Sen. Hil­lary Rod­ham Clin­ton. In fact, in my fan­tasy dream: Condi, 53, and Hil­lary, 59, win the nom­i­na­tions of their re­spec­tive par­ties and then face off in a se­ries of pres­i­den­tial de­bates. But un­like Mrs. Clin­ton, who is hus­tling for del­e­gates to the 2008 Demo­cratic con­ven­tion, Miss Rice (any­body mind if I re­fer to her as Condi?) hasn’t the time or money to com­pete with Sen. John McCain or Rudy Gi­u­liani for the top slot.

That be­ing the case, there is one spot on the 2008 Repub­li­can ticket made to or­der for Condi: the vice pres­i­den­tial can­di­dacy.

With the urg­ing of Pres­i­dent Bush, Vice Pres­i­dent Richard Cheney has turned what was once a sickly ap­pendage to the pres­i­dency into a po­si­tion of power, ser­vice and na­tional in­flu­ence. Wouldn’t it be great to have as Amer­ica’s vice pres­i­dent some­one who is not only one of our most ex­pe­ri­enced pub­lic ser­vants, but is also a con­cert pi- anist, play­ing at one of those in­ter­minable diplo­matic con­claves Beethoven’s Wald­stein sonata or some Brahms waltzes?

I think it would be a coup of first mag­ni­tude if the front run­ners for the Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial nom­i­na­tion were to an­nounce in ad­vance that come what may, Sec­re­tary of State Con­doleezza Rice would be the other half of the ticket. True, vot­ers bal­lot for the top of the ticket, but with Condi Rice as a vice pres­i­den­tial can­di­date, I think vot­ers would have an im­mense in­cen­tive to vote the Repub­li­can ticket.

In Is­rael there is an Is­raeliArab sym­phony orches­tra which, I be­lieve, gives reg­u­lar con­certs. Next time Condi heads for the Mid­dle East seek­ing an elu­sive peace, an­other kind of pro­gram ought to be sched­uled for Condi. In day­time hours she is Amer­ica’s chief diplo­mat but in con­fer­ence af­ter-hours, she en­ters the world of the artist, the soloist, say, in the Rach­mani­noff sec­ond pi­ano con­certo. Worth try­ing.

William Con­greve, the Restora­tion play­wright, long ago put it well: “Mu­sic hath charms to soothe a sav­age breast, To soften rocks, or bend a knot­ted oak.” Lots of sav­age breasts out there, like Ha­mas, which need soft­en­ing up.

Arnold Be­ich­man is a re­search fel­low at the Hoover In­sti­tu­tion, Stan­ford Univer­sity, and a colum­nist for The Wash­ing­ton Times.

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