After watching Condi Rice stumble and lie for two weeks, it's time to say that she cannot do the job she was hired for.
She's not a good National Security Advisor. In fact, her entire career has relied on a bizarre combination of right-wing affirmative action and largess from the Bush Administrations. When Bob Novak asks if Richard Clarke had a problem with a black, female boss, I get angry. Because that isn't the issue. Her color is irrelevant. Her qualifications are paramount. If she could do the job, and there are 3,000 dead to say she can't, her color would be irrelevant. No one ever wondered if Colin Powell or Eric Shinseki could be capable leaders. You may disagree on policy with them, but they were competent. I wish Powell had the character to oppose Bush, but I think he can secure embassies without a problem.
Rice is just not competent. It's not her intelligence, but her academic work, would, if she was not an ideologue, have allowed her to teach at a second-rate state university or work at the CIA. She may be bright, but her degrees are, well, not that impressive. And given that she never worked for State, the Agency and never lived in Russia, well, she clearly had a helping hand.
Rice is crippled by a childhood and culture which doesn't allow her to stand up to men. She's what black folks call a "church lady". Someone who never marries, never has kids, but has a great job. All these women do is go to work, go to church and back to their tastefully decorated apartments. They are amazingly deferential to men and try to placate them. Exactly the wrong qualities needed in a National Security Advisor.
If you remember Anita Hill, well, she was the same kind of woman. I know a lot of women who would have smacked the piss out of Clarence Thomas, boss or no boss, if he made a joke about pubic hair to them. Hill needed the male approval, so she shut her mouth for years. Rice might have gotten huffy at such a joke, but challenge it? Nope.
She was a smart girl who grew up with an overprotective father and was quickly isolated from her peers. The only men she dealt with were mentors and family members. She pleased her parents with her piety and dedication.
The reality is that Rice is also unlikeable. She is a rigid person, eager to please her bosses, a pattern which began in childhood. She also cannot lie well. She's the ultimate "good girl", so that she can't form a lasting, mature relationship with anyone, because the job comes first, as does the approval which comes with it. She's also socially isolated because, like a "good girl", in the black church context, she won't date white men. Which in her work environment is an illogical decision at best.
So you have a person who couldn't even escape Stanford without making a ton of enemies now expected to knock heads and force decisions. Maybe they should have hired Maxine Waters instead, because Condi Rice can no more challenge a room full of men than fly. She's too rigid and too addicted to the need for male approval to pull that off.
Rice, like all incomptents, lies when challenged, but is so constitutionally unable to do it, she throws tells off like a bad poker player. Of course she didn't care about Al Qaeda, the men she dealt with cared about Iraq. And while Dick Clarke liked her, an unusual response to many, he had zero respect for her ability and he'd worked with her in Bush 41, before she quit.
You would think the President would hire a National Security Advisor who was clever and could smack people around. Rice clearly is not clever and clearly cannot smack superiors or peers around. Her whole manner is of a high school principal, prim and rigid.
Let's not forget that Rice has been placed in an unenviable position by the President. If she doesn't testify, she will be vilified by the 9/11 families and lose her credibility. But no sane person in the White House wants her to testify under oath. She can't lie well enough to fool anyone and Rice might well crack under serious interrogation. In a speech or formal setting, Rice is impressive. In a setting where her ass, not Bush's or some policy, is on the line, she's horrible.
She doesn't even realize that Bush is setting her up to be the fallguy for his failure. His " she can't testify" line leaves her not Bush, in the drink. It will be her legacy, one which makes it look like she couldn't do her job, which she couldn't, while Bush escapes blame, a lifeong pattern.
And considering the stakes her, she might want to testify instead. In a perfect world, she'd have been fired, but no one gets fired by Bush unless they tell the truth.
posted by Steve @ 12:21:00 AM