Four years ago, some conservatives created an uproar when pro-choice President Barack Obama was invited to deliver the commencement address at Notre Dame University. (That protest was more than a little hypocritical, given the school's tradition of featuring pro-choice speakers including Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.) Now, Boston Cardinal Sean O'Malley has announced he will boycott next week's graduation speech at Jesuit Boston College by Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny.
For Cardinal O'Malley, Kenny's offense is his support for new legislation allowing Irish physicians to perform emergency abortion procedures only in those dire circumstances in which the life of the mother is in immediate jeopardy. That bill arose after the 2012 case of Savita Halappanavar, who needlessly died in agony after doctors refused her pleas to terminate her already miscarried pregnancy. While the legislative debate continues, Halappanavar's husband has since accepted apologies from both University Hospital Galway and the midwife who told him as his wife was dying that "this is a Catholic country."
But as Huffington Post reported, Cardinal O'Malley is apparently in no mood for apologies:
Late Thursday evening, Mitt Romney's presidential campaign launched a new fundraising drive, 'Meet The VP' -- just as Romney himself has narrowed the field of candidates to a handful, sources reveal.
And a surprise name is now near the top of the list: Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice!
The timing of the announcement is now set for 'coming weeks'.
The timing was actually announced as "some time between now and the Republican convention", which is when, typically, VP choices are announced. So it's breaking news that a Veep choice will be made in the next six weeks? Seriously?
As to the hinted selection of former Bush Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, well, that's all Bill Kristol, doncha know, who is the brain trust behind the selection of Sarah Palin as well. And as we have documented very well over the years, Kristol is *always* wrong. (As an aside to Drudge, blogger to blogger: if you think this is important and good news to push, why do you use a picture of Rice that looks grim and almost like a mug-shot? Old habits die hard?) But it's not helping the Romney campaign push this meme when the subject herself rejects it totally. And that doesn't begin to take into account the larger party's reaction:
This has all the makings of a classic, time-worn political ploy. The candidate openly flirts with several supposed veep contenders, each of whom fits a demographic that the candidate needs to woo. Midwesterners? Hispanics? Southerners? And now, in a week when Romney’s in trouble with the NAACP, the Condi rumors resurface.
It’s too cute by half, though.
Floating Condi has now roused the pro-life wing to action. Instead of Romney getting plusses for considering a black woman, the story could soon turn to how conservatives are beating up on a black woman. That’s not the best way to do damage control after being booed at the NAACP convention.
Rice is too smart to play this political game. A loyal Republican, she has said that she will help the GOP ticket with fundraising. But she says that’s as far as she goes.
After all, Rice is a cool, calm woman who has tackled conniving, evil international dictators. She chooses her words carefully. In 2008, she knew her remarks would never pass GOP muster during a vice presidential vetting process. In that way, she has solidly guaranteed that she will never be asked to be on a Republican ticket – not as long as abortion is a central issue.
That's right! Condoleezza Rice is pro-choice. Yeah, that's not going to play well with the extremists that now control the Republican Party. In fact, Tea Party Nation could hardly contain their disgust:
Is the Romney plan to try and lose?
The social conservatives will not come out for her, like they did for Palin, because Rice is pro-abortion. Social conservatives don’t really believe Romney when he claims he is pro-life, but to add a pro-abortion VP would really sink him with the social conservatives.
Rice is a consigliore of the Bush family. She worked for both of the Bushes. She is associated very closely with the Iraq war, which in case anyone has forgotten is one of the main reasons why the Republicans lost the House and Senate in 2006.
We do not need anyone else named Bush leading the Republican Party and we don’t need one of the Bush team players as a part of the future of the GOP.
Condi Rice is a RINO establishment Republican. She is as clueless about the middle class as Romney is.
Wow. Let's just chalk this up to yet another inept and transparently pandering move by the Romney campaign.
The mind reels. I really miss the days when racists attempted to hide their ignorance and bigotry.
Condoleezza Rice was interviewed by 700 Club correspondent Kristi Watts, who finished her interview with a softball on the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday. When Rice proclaimed her favorite Thanksgiving dish to be mac and cheese, Watts immediately bonded with her fellow carb lover. But that choice just befuddled founder and host Pat Robertson, who asked Watts, "What is this 'mac and cheese'? Is that a black thing?"
To be charitable (and it's the holidays, so let's try), it's unclear to me if Robertson is completely unfamiliar with the dish itself, or the concept of serving it for Thanksgiving. It's say the chances are about 50/50 either way, but Robertson himself is no stranger to the befuddling or just plain hateful statements either.
So Condoleezza Rice has come out with a new revisionist legacy book, desperately trying to climb on to the apron strings of the Obama administration. Any "success" that Obama has achieved in the Middle East--such as they are begrudgingly able to admit--is due completely to the Bush Doctrine, doncha know?
But other than the same disgusting, lack of self-awareness that allows Condoleezza Rice the ability to sleep at night knowing that under her tenure we invaded, occupied and destroyed at least two countries, the most startling revelation in her book involves a sadistic little bent by Darth Cheney:
Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says she and President George W. Bush were once given a mouthful of a scare — that they may have been lethally poisoned.
In a revealing ABC interview, Rice recounted the story while on tour for her newly released memoir, in which she details fears of radioactive attacks and smallpox in Washington after 9/11.
She and then-President Bush were in Shanghai just weeks after the terrorist attacks when Vice President Dick Cheney called in on a video conference line to deliver the unsettling news.
"The vice president came on the screen and said that the White House detectors have detected botulinum toxin, and we were all — those of who were exposed — were going to die," Rice told ABC's George Stephanopoulos this week.
"I remember everybody just sort of freezing and the president saying, 'What was that? What was that Dick?" said Rice.
Botulism poisoning leads to paralysis, first starting with the face muscles and then spreading toward the limbs. In its most severe forms, the poison can lead to respiratory failure, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
That is the stuff of nightmares right there: Dick Cheney on a big screen saying, "You're going to die!" How do you imagine he said it? Panicked? With barely contained glee? In a Darth Vader menacing voice?
As is obvious from the years past, it turned out to be a false alarm. Oddly, none of the reports in the media ask the obvious question of whether an investigation was done, why they thought they had been exposed to the botulism toxin, if anyone had called/mailed in a threat, whether arrests were made.
Back in May, Brendan Nyhan used historical and statistical analysis to presciently conclude that for the hitherto untainted Obama White House, "the first Obama scandal is likely to arrive sooner than most people think." Now, the dual imbroglios over the $535 million loan lost to bankrupt Solyndra and the ATF's ill-conceived "Fast and Furious" gun-walking operation have Republicans targeting the President and his Attorney General, Eric Holder.
While the twin dust ups, each with roots in the Bush Administration, may ultimately reveal only bureaucratic bungling, poor judgment and taxpayer investments gone bad, Republicans are salivating at the prospect of manufacturing scandals just in time for President Obama's reelection. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa called the Solyndra case "salacious" and "a story of political interference" on behalf of "people giving to President Obama's campaign." Meanwhile, as House Republicans called for a special prosecutor to investigate Fast and Furious, grandstanding Arizona Sheriff Paul Babeu declared, "I believe that this is a much larger scandal than what took place in Watergate."
Perception often trumps reality when it comes to presidential scandals. Of course, if the accusations are actually true, the political damage will (and should) be worse. Worse, but not necessarily fatal.
Just ask those masters of scandal survival from the Bush White House.
Here are just some of the Republican scandal management tips for President Obama:
It's the "Criminalization of Politics." Ever since President George H.W. Bush first used it during the Iran/Contra scandal, Republicans and their conservative amen corner have routinely brushed off charges of their own corruption and lawlessness by accusing their opponents of "criminalizing politics." From Iran-Contra, Plamegate and Tom Delay to the U.S. attorneys purge and the Bush regime of detainee torture, Republicans survived their endless scandals by instead successfully politicizing crime.
"I think President-elect Obama has said it well. We don't want to criminalize policy differences that might exist between the outgoing administration and the administration that is about to take over. We certainly don't want to do that."
Four Words: "I Don't Recall Remembering." In a letter to Congress this week, Attorney General Holder pointed out that "I now understand some senior officials within the Department were aware at the time there was an operation called Fast and Furious although they were not advised of the unacceptable operational tactics being used in it." Then in words only a Republican could love, Holder explained how he remained unaware of the program's details until this summer:
"My testimony was truthful and accurate and I have been consistent on this point throughout. I have no recollection of knowing about Fast and Furious prior to the public controversy about it."
If the "no recollection" formula sounds familiar, it should. Then Attorney General Alberto Gonzales perfected it to the point of comedy during hearings about the Bush administration's politically-motivated prosecutors purge. Gonzales, who almost surely lied to Congress at least three times about the NSA domestic surveillance program, the Bush torture program as well as the U.S. attorneys scandal, reached new heights of selective amnesia in April 2007. As Dana Milbank recalled:
Explaining his role in the botched firing of federal prosecutors, Gonzales uttered the phrase "I don't recall" and its variants ("I have no recollection," "I have no memory") 64 times. Along the way, his answer became so routine that a Marine in the crowd put down his poster protesting the Iraq war and replaced it with a running "I don't recall" tally.
If he finds himself in a pinch during his next appearance before Congress, Eric Holder can always quote Alberto Gonzales:
God, I am enjoying the circular firing squad that is the Bush administration struggling to lift their individual heads above the slime that surrounds them. Implicit in this clamoring is the acknowledgment that they know they are part of this slime. Donald Rumsfeld is one of the first out of the gate to try to rehab his image and did so by going after the two members of the Bush administration who went out with the highest approval ratings, Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice:
In his first television interview since leaving public service in 2006, former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld gives candid criticism of his fellow Bush administration officials, former Secretary of States Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice. [..]
Powell, President George W. Bush's first secretary of state, "did not, in my view, do a good job of managing the people under him," Rumsfeld said [..]."There was a lot of leaking out of the State Department, and the president knew it," he reportedly said. "And it was unhelpful. And most of it ended up making the State Department look good. We didn't do that in the Pentagon. I insisted we not do it."
Rumsfeld was criticized during his tenure as defense secretary for his tight rein on information relating to the war on terrorism. This week, in conjunction with the release of his new memoir "Known and Unknown," Rumsfeld is releasing online nearly 2,000 documents from his career in public service. They span his time in Congress, in the Ford and Nixon administrations, the 9/11 attacks and the build up to the Iraq war.
Rumsfeld acknowledged that "the intelligence was certainly wrong" with respect to weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. However, he said that the military and the Bush administration -- including Powell -- had faith in the intelligence at the time.
"There's a lot of stuff [in] the press that say Colin Powell was against [the war]," he said. "But I never saw even the slightest hint of that."
"The idea that he was lying or duped is nonsense," Rumsfeld added.
Rumsfeld said "it's possible" that decisions on troop levels in Iraq may have been the biggest mistake of the war. He maintained that the war overall was not a mistake.
"I think the world's a better place with Saddam Hussein gone and with the Taliban gone and the al Qaeda out of Afghanistan," he said.
Rumsfeld was also critical of Powell's successor, Condoleezza Rice, for her lack of experience in government.
"She'd never served in a senior administration position," he said. "She'd been an academic. And, you know, a lot of academics like to have meetings. And they like to bridge differences and get people all to be happy."
Miss Rice tried repeatedly to organise a meeting with the most senior figures in the government to discuss the tribunals, but Mr Rumsfeld twice refused to attend, sending his deputy Paul Wolfowitz instead.
Pulitzer prize winning author Barton Gellman writes: "He did not regard her as an equal and barely hid it. The opinions of her staff did not interest him."
On finding Mr Rumsfeld absent from a second meeting, CIA director George Tenet was so angry that he defied a direct order from Miss Rice to sit down and marched out of the meeting, declaring: "This is bullshit."
The book goes on: "Something happened to Rice's face, control melting away. Her eyes welled up and her next words caught in her throat. The men in the room did not know where to look.
'She started to cry,' said one of them. 'And she said - I can't remember the exact words because I was so shaken - something like: "We will talk about this again," and she turned and walked quickly out of the door.'"
So when Fareed Zakaria asks Rice about Rumsfeld's less-than-glowing reports of the job she did, Rice simply gets a tight smile and says that Donnie--who has carefully crafted an "aw shucks" persona in the media--is just a grumpy guy and doesn't know what he's talking about.
But the best part? She tells Fareed to wait for her book to find out what she really thinks about Rumsfeld. The circular firing squad is about to load up again.
On Sunday, Liz Cheney took a brief hiatus from her preposterous charge that "President Obama is contributing to the isolation of Israel, and sending a clear signal to the Turkish-Syrian-Iranian axis that their methods for ostracizing Israel will succeed." In a rare moment of candor, Cheney temporarily withdrew her fangs to acknowledge her father's boss was largely responsible for Hamas' domination of Gaza. Which is exactly right. After all, before Bush's failed covert action in support of Fatah led to the Hamas takeover of Gaza, his administration never anticipated the terrorist group's earlier victory at the polls, one which Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice admitted, "nobody saw it coming."
Vice President Cheney's daughter and former Bush State Department official admitted as much. In an exchange with Arianna Huffington and Jake Tapper on ABC's This Week, Liz Cheney claimed the January 2006 elections pushed by the Bush administration were a mistake:
HUFFINGTON: The Hamas government is a terrorist organization. Nobody's saying anything contrary to that. The Hamas government is a terrorist organization that won an election, an election that Bush, Cheney and Condi Rice encouraged to happen.
TAPPER: ...[To Cheney] You were at the State Department in 2005 and 2006 when these elections were pushed forward and some people were saying, "don't do it, they're not ready for it." Do you think that was a mistake in retrospect?
CHENEY: I do. I don't think they were ready for it. I don't think we should have pushed it.
That's easy to say now, given the catastrophe that unfolded in the Palestinian territories under her father's watch.