Why not Condi for VP?

Last night, the Drudge Report ran a big headline declaring that Secretary Condoleezza Rice was on Mitt Romney’s shortlist for vice president. It didn’t take long for Eric Erickson to report “Multiple assurances from Team Romney tonight that Condi is not happening for Veep.” The morning news programs are also reporting that the rumor has no truth to it. So that’s that.

But why are these reports being dismissed so quickly? Why wouldn’t Romney consider Rice for VP? Perhaps many readers already know the answer to that question, but for those of you who don’t here’s the long and short of it. Rice is completely unacceptable to social conservatives because she is pro-choice. In addition to that, Rice favors civil unions for same-sex couples, a position that is also extremely unpopular with many conservative voters. A Romney-Rice ticket would alienate social conservatives, a move that no GOP candidate can make and still possibly hope to be elected president.

Two years ago, Rice did an interview with Christianity Today that reveals just where she stands on these issues. Rice’s remarks were anything but comforting to social conservatives. Here’s the relevant excerpt:

CT: In the past you said you worry about the government trying to legislate morality, and you know that evangelicals care very much about the issue of abortion.

Rice: I’m generally pretty libertarian in these matters, because Americans are quite good, actually, at finding a way to deal with these extremely divisive and difficult moral issues. And it’s not that I’m a relativist. It’s not that I believe everybody has their own morality. But I do understand that there are different ways of thinking about how these issues are going to play out in people’s lives, and I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt in governing their own lives. Sometimes when things are out of whack the government has no choice but to step in. But I’m wary of the government stepping in to too many issues.

CT: Was there a time when you came to a place on that issue, where your faith informed your position on abortion?

Rice: I’m still coming to terms with it. I don’t like the government involved in these really hard moral decisions. While I don’t think the country is ready for legislation to overturn Roe v. Wade, certainly I cannot imagine why one would be in favor of partial birth abortion. I also can’t imagine why one would take these decisions out of the hands of the family. We all understand that this is not something to be taken lightly.

CT: Same-sex marriage is another issue that has captured the country’s attention in recent years.

Rice: I have lots of respect for people on both sides of this divide, because there are really hard issues. I don’t ever want anybody to be denied rights within our country. I happen to think marriage is between a man and a woman. That’s tradition, and I believe that that’s the right answer. But perhaps we will decide that there needs to be some way for people to express their desire to live together through civil union. I think the country, if we can keep the volume down, will come to good answers.

I’m generally a fan of Secretary Rice, but the moral reasoning on display here is incoherent. She says that she’s not a “relativist,” which means that she denies that right and wrong are derived from or based on an individual’s or a community’s preferences. As she says it, she does not believe that “everyone has their own morality.” Nevertheless, she says that “there are different ways of thinking about how these issues are going to play out in people’s lives.” In other words, Rice explains her own views on abortion and marriage, and then she implies that other people’s views are just as valid as hers as far as public policy is concerned.

And therein lays the fundamental incoherence. Either the unborn have a right to life as God’s image-bearers or they don’t. If Secretary Rice believes that the unborn have an intrinsic right to life, then it makes no sense to say that their lives deserve no protection in law (a la her support of Roe v. Wade). If she believes that they don’t have an intrinsic right to life, then why oppose late term abortions (as she says she opposes in the interview)? The unborn are either worth protecting from conception to birth or they are not. The ground between these two positions is an ethical no-man’s land.

Secretary Rice says that she is still “still coming to terms” with her views on these matters. I hope she sees her way through the moral inconsistency to a concern for the protection of the unborn. Until then, she should be on nobody’s short list for VP.


    • Denny Burk

      I appreciate her intellect and knowledge of foreign policy. I also like her personal story of growing up in the South and her subsequent ascendancy in public life. I think she’s really impressive on those fronts.

      But neither of those things by themselves make her qualified to be president. I would not want her to be commander-in-chief nor to be in any position that would allow her to shape public policy on these two seminal issues.

  • Matt Martin

    Sounds like Condoleeeeeeeza Rice would make a great VP. She has extensive experience in matters that actually effect this nation, such as foreign policy. But she has the wisdom to stay out of people’s personal business. Can’t wait for the day where this nation moves beyond just voting on abortion and gay marriage.

  • Larry Geiger

    “Can’t wait for the day where this nation moves beyond just voting on abortion and gay marriage.” That wil happen when abortion is rare and extremely expensive and “gay marriage” is… well… anyway… hmmmmmmmmmmmm. That’ll happen when when cats are dogs and pigs fly.

  • Paula Bolyard

    Aside from foreign policy, what would be her qualifications? This seems pretty one-dimensional.

    And like Obama, her thinking (or at least her answering) is irritatingly post-modern. She can’t seem to give a straight answer when it comes to moral issues. And how this usually works itself out in the public policy process is that the left ends up legislating morality. The ‘live and let live’ attitude nearly 100% of the time ends up skewing left. We end up with abortion on demand, homosexual marriage, forced acceptance of homosexuality in every aspect of life, even for those who have a moral objection. Those who object to abortion and contraception even end up paying for it! The liberties of those with sincere religious beliefs end up trampled when we follow Rice’s flippant, “we don’t want anyone denied rights” cliche.

  • Wade Choate

    I think Condi is wholly misunderstood. From the excerpts of the CT article, I cannot be terribly sure of her whole thoughts on these issues, but I suspect she is libertarian, more so than conservative. I would have liked to been able to read the whole article, but it is no longer up there.

    Here is a link to my pastor’s blog on the libertarian view point. I think it is a reprint, but our pastor pretty much has similar view points represented in the article.


    By the way, I think Condi would be a supremely wonderful VP for this country.

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