By William A. Foster, IV
Leadership is the ability to get men to do what they don’t want to do and like it. – Harry S. Truman
It seems almost comical that based on Harry Truman’s aforementioned quote that there has not been the potential for a woman president in the United States of America well before 2016. Since the dawn of the first species, it would seem the female of any species have enlisted males to do much of what they wanted regardless of whether we liked it or not. There may or may not be hyperbole in that statement. And while women have often been the shoulders that shape men’s viewpoint, in the West and in the United States of America in particular it has taken a long time to catch up to the belief that women could also be the head.
At the moment, the GOP presidential field is very uninspiring to most of the gentleman I know that frequent the cigar shops I visit, which have typically been a bastion for right-leaning political views amidst the puffs of smoke in the air. This is saying quite a bit when you realize that 99 percent of these cigar shops are European American older men in the heart of Texas. If this current field of Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush, Scott Walker, etc. can not galvanize some good ol’ boys in Texas, then there is surely a problem and it appears that everyone seems to know it, everyone but the GOP that is. Perhaps they do know it though, but the Grand Old Party of Lincoln is now largely controlled by a few small minority groups who are well organized and very well funded, thank you Citizens Kane. The more centric part of the party may have the funds, but it has yet to find organization or a candidate that can tap into the growing age, income, gender, geographic, and ethnic diversity of America. Who can they tap into that could cut across all of these demographics and still keep the (extreme) conservatives of the party happy? Condoleezza Rice.
A brief synopsis of Dr. Rice’s background by Biography, “Condoleezza Rice was born on November 14, 1954, in Birmingham, Alabama. She grew up surrounded by racism in the segregated South, but went on to become the first woman and first African-American to serve as provost of Stanford University. In 2001, Rice was appointed national security adviser by President George W. Bush, becoming the first black woman (and second woman) to hold the post, and went on to become the first black woman to serve as U.S. Secretary of State. (She was the nation’s 66th Secretary of State, serving from January 2005 to 2009.)” Also of note in her background is time spent studying Russian at Moscow State University and has gone onto become an expert and published author on Mother Russia. Currently, she is the Denning Professor in Global Business and the Economy at the Stanford Graduate School of Business; the Thomas and Barbara Stephenson Senior Fellow on Public Policy at the Hoover Institution; and a professor of Political Science at Stanford University.
She has everything this country needs at the moment. First, a strong higher education pedigree at a time where it is becoming more mandatory than ever for it in the workplace, but a system that is arguably broken due to its rising cost and broken K-12 pipeline. Her family was a strong middle class family that valued education, with her father serving as Dean of Students at Stillman College, a liberal arts HBCU in Alabama. Her experiences from liberal arts colleges to research institutions would serve her well in helping shape policy for higher education and education overall in this country. Her family’s background also gives her perspective on the rising cost of education and its potential burden that many middle class families are trying to manage just to keep their family’s intellectual assets current in the vicissitude global economy.
Her Soviet Union/Russian expertise can not be understated. While China is our inevitable long-term foe, they are decades away from being formidable to our military. Today, Russia is not only an agitator but an aggressor who keeps unsettling a fragile Europe. Enter the story of Alexander The Great and Queen Candace of Ethiopia. The Savvy Sista’s blog gives us a brief tale that could parallel today if Putin and Rice were heads of state. “Alexander reached Kemet (Ancient Egypt) in 332 B.C., on his world conquering rampage. But one of the greatest generals of the ancient world was also the Empress of Ethiopia. This formidable black Queen Candace, was world famous as a military tactician and field commander. Legend has it that Alexander could not entertain even the possibility of having his world fame and unbroken chain of victories marred by risking a defeat, at last, by a woman. He halted his armies at the borders of Ethiopia and did not invade to meet the waiting black armies with their Queen in personal command.” Vladmir Putin largely mimics a modern day Alexander – ego and all. Dr. Rice’s potential relationship with Putin could have two strong aspects. First, she obviously would have the strength of the world’s strongest military at her beckoning. Second, a point that is often under appreciated is when one world leader can relate to their counterparts culture and country history. Dr. Rice’s intimate understanding of Russian culture and politics allows her to rub the belly of the beast in ways that Putin could appreciate, but would probably not allow coming from anyone else. China maybe our problem in the future, but Russia is our problem right now.
In both of those priorities she fairs and stands strongly against Hilary Clinton. Mrs. Clinton has been entrenched in the political system for almost four decades now and legitimate concerns could be raised about her lack of understanding outside of the political world. Whereas, Dr. Rice has been both in the political and academic arenas maintaining a strong connection with today’s millenials generation and their needs, hopes, and talents. She has an intimate access that Mrs. Clinton simply does not have. The Benghazi incident also looms large over Mrs. Clinton and raises some legitimate concerns about her behavior as it relates to foreign policy. Again, during Dr. Rice’s time in the political arena she has never been had any accusations directly lobbied at her.
The Grand Old Party needs to show you can mix conservative values and inclusion. Something it has struggled with mightily. Dr. Rice represents an ability to merge those two while her strengths bring a focus to two of our country’s major current problems, higher education and foreign policy namely Russia. Her southern roots, where 55 percent of the African American population resides and growing, could indeed help the GOP finally break the Democrat stranglehold. It is also no secret that she could also galvanize a split in the women’s vote against Hillary Clinton, who appears to be the inevitable Democrat candidate. Otherwise, the GOP will see Hillary bring in a lot of moderates/independents much in the way Barack Obama did in 2008 who are more interested in saying they voted on the “winning” side of a historical moment than necessarily the actual politics of the moment. To discount this again would be a strategic folly on the GOP’s part and could set the party back in the way that France was after Napoleon’s loss at Waterloo.
This is a defining moment and election even more than 2008 because it could show that the GOP simply does not get it and never will. That is a chilling provocation because the United States does better when there is political balance in it. However, the Republicans are essentially on the verge of consigning control of the leadership of this country for a very long time as the demographic sands shift under their feet. No party has held the presidency longer than twelve years since FDR left office, but if the GOP allows itself to be entrenched with a strategy of candidates who represent a shrinking demographic in the country, instead of allowing others to share in the conservative values that have often made this country great they will have only themselves to blame. Dr. Rice’s story exudes those values and instantly brings the party into the 21st century. More than good for the GOP, Dr. Rice is what and who America needs most at this critical intersection.