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Condi Rice's Legacy and the "Creep" Factor

Condi Rice's Legacy and the "Creep" Factor

by Martha Rosenberg

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Condoleezza Rice finally lost her temper.

When Michele Keleman from National Public Radio asked the outgoing Secretary of State if Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe's discussion of human rights at the UN made it more difficult for her to talk about human rights, she exploded.

"To mention Robert Mugabe in the same sentence with the President of the United States is an outrage," she admonished in the December interview.

"Robert Mugabe is simply trying to cover the fact that he's taken a country which was once one of the jewels of Africa, made it into a center of starvation and now of rampant disease that threatens its neighbors. And no, we shouldn't fall prey to any kind of moral relativism here. We ought to call it as we see it."

You can't blame Rice for simmering.

With all the election 2008 talk about "firsts" for women and African-Americans and glass ceilings what about her?

Maybe she was not the first female US Secretary of State but she certainly was the first African American one. And she was certainly the first to brave diplomatic waters where a woman's hand outstretched for a handshake puts terror in the hearts of ruling male supremacists.

While the press corps swooned over Obama's family story of up-from-the-bootstrap assimilation and his academic achievement what about her?

Doesn't Provost of Stanford University trump Obama's professor at University of Chicago Law School?


Of course, many will never forgive Rice for being so Cold War/Red Menace oriented, so dated in her nation-sponsored terrorism construct that it blinded her to Al Qaeda threats.

Remember the name of the document she told the 9/11 Commission she received on Aug 6, 2001 but did nothing about?

Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside the United States.

Which word did she not understand?

But there were other Rice negatives.

Like the creep factor.

Why would a contemporary African-American woman, not bad-looking, even pretty, cleave to a good 'ol boy from Crawford, Texas?

Colin Powell certainly kept his distance.

It brought to mind the famous photo of Sammy Davis Jr. hugging Nixon.

Especially with the war going on.

The press said Rice and Bush became fast friends because they were Born Again Christians and liked to work out.

But that describes about 50 million people.

Maybe they both liked toast too.

Not only did Condi's Bush thrall creep everyone--no one could make sense of the ice skating and concert pianism. Was she an achievement nut? An isolating perfectionist?

Everyone knew Orpah's friends and boyfriend. But Condi was never photographed with anyone but humorless diplomats in ill fitting suits and exercise mats.

We get it--she's fit.

Why not use some of that skating, working out and piano playing energy to get a partner? Or a life?

No the sad saga of Condoleezza Rice seems to be all about being in the right place at the wrong time.

Armed with a specialization in the Soviet Union when cell terrorism debuted.

In office as both Ariel Sharon and Yassir Arafat passed from leadership but not able to claim any Middle East peace.

Attacked by a "Code Pink" antiwar protestor with "blood" on her hands when she testified about a two-state solution on the Hill last year.

And when Georgia finally blew up and vindicated her Soviet expertise? (Worthless with Afghanistan?) A lame duck.


Martha Rosenberg is a columnist/cartoon who writes about public health.

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