Those who clamor for Condi will find disappointment below. Condoleezza Rice unequivocally says she will not run as John McCain’s running mate in the 2008 election, saying that her “time is up” and that she looks forward to her return to Stanford as an academic. When Steve Doocy presses her by insisting she’d want the job, she laughs:
Will this really disappoint many — and will it discourage speculation anyway? Since 2003, Republicans have speculated that George Bush would dump Dick Cheney in favor of Rice. We heard it at the last Republican convention, and I’d almost guess that we’ll hear it at this convention unless McCain makes his selection of running mate public before the September 1 start. Even that might not discourage the rumors.
The Cult of Condi seems to have dissipated over the last couple of years, though. Some Republicans expected Rice to clean out State after her appointment as Secretary of State in the second Bush term, or to toughen Bush’s foreign policy, seeing her as a cross between John Bolton and a supermodel. Neither happened, and as Condi carried out Bush’s foreign policy, the luster dimmed from her reputation among conservatives. She has been seen as closer to Colin Powell than John Bolton in direction, which has not pleased the conservative base that McCain arguably needs to address with his pick for VP.
Rice probably has the best measure of the situation in noting that her time has expired, both personally and politically, at the national level. If she wants to enter electoral politics, Republicans as well as Rice would be better off having her start in California, perhaps as a gubernatorial or Senatorial candidate in a state that could use a change in either position. Rice doesn’t appear too inclined to become a politician in that sense, but maybe the state GOP can convince her to take another mission in helping to keep America secure by sending Barbara Boxer to Stanford in her place in 2010.