Would Condi Rice for VP Nominee Balance Romney?

Seems like the the Republicans always want to bring in a woman when there’s a mess to clean up, and Romney certainly has a mess on his hands with his multiple stories — some call them “lies” — about his time at Bain. No wonder Condoleeza Rice’s name is being floated again as a vice presidential candidate.

True, as Sarah Palin almost acknowledged, in the experience realm, Rice brings vastly more substance than the former Alaska governor had when she was chosen as John McCain’s running mate. And in both optics and general election appeal to independents, a female African-American with Rice’s foreign policy chops and moderate leanings could boost the ticket.

Palin’s comments were in response to speculation Rice would be Romney’s vice-presidential pick, driven by conservative commentators Matt Drudge and Rush Limbaugh, both now touting Rice for the post.

But in the end, despite Palin’s willingness (along with Drudge and Limbaugh apparently) to cut Rice some slack on her pro-choice stance, the fact is that the person at the top of the ticket sets the agenda.

Rice’s gender would not help “balance” a man who has flip-flopped on women’s reproductive rights, now supports laws making women non-persons, and won’t even commit to support equal pay. Nor would her race peel off African-American voters from Barack Obama, especially in the wake of the enormous egg Romney laid when he spoke to the NAACP earlier this week.

The Republicans might have been better served to choose Rice as their standard bearer for president in the first place based on her qualifications. But that could never have happened. The right-wing Tea Partiers to whom Romney pledged fealty to in order to secure his primary wins, hold the Republican party in an ideological vise grip. He’s stuck there and will have to remain so, along with whomever he chooses as his running mate.

Besides, in the end, if Romney were to choose Rice, and if she were to accept despite her more mainstream convictions, that would call her integrity into question and show her to be as much of a flip-flopper as Romney. No net gain for anyone.

An excerpt from this article ran in the Politico Arena. Here is a link to my response to the Arena question.

Gloria Feldt is the author of No Excuses: 9 Ways Women Can Change How We Think About Power. Buy the book here. Engage Gloria for a Speech or Workshop. Tweet @GloriaFeldt and connect on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+ Gloria is the co-founder (with Amy Litzenberger) of Take the Lead, a new initiative to prepare and propel women to leadership parity by 2025. Find them @takeleadwomen and on Facebook.

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