Monday, February 14, 2005

Condi 44--the most powerful weapon in the world...

Wonderful post over at The Shape of Days. President Bush--known within his family as "43" since dad was president 41--is rumoured to tease Condi with the nickname "44". A blogger then picks up the Clint Eastwood reference with a French twist: "feel lucky today, punque?"

I wouldn't want to vouch for the literal accuracy of the rumour. But I'd guess the basic drift is dead-on...quite apart from the president being an inveterate joker.

1. The president is not--at heart--an ideologue...notwithstanding his ability to put major ideas into inaugural addresses. As with his father, he is fundamentally about people: you wind up in Dubya's cabinet, not because you are a brilliant mind or an ideological soulmate; rather, you wind up in W's cabinet because he likes you, trusts you, and feels confident that you are loyal to him. Condi got her job because of all the people that might have been sent to State, Condi is the one to whom the president is closest on a personal level and whom he likes and trusts the best. The key here is the power of friendship.
2. W is one of the most ambitious men ever to hold the White House; he wants to be remembered as a great president, and he knows that a key part of that is installing a successor to carry on his legacy. He sees his legacy as principally in foreign policy and the war on terror. Now if you wear W's Texas boots, whom do you see as the most likely person to carry on your legacy in foreign policy after you are gone? Cheney?--he's out. McCain?--these two guys don't really get along. Giuliani?--there's a reason W couldn't find a place in the cabinet for Giuliani. From W's vantage point, the most logical successor is probably the woman he just appointed Secretary of State: Condi.
3. Never been a black, unmarried woman president?--that's probably in part just what W likes about Condi: it gives W an opportunity to break the mold, to do something never done before in American history. If W set the stage for the first black president--not to mention the first black woman president--well, a chance to rewrite the history books is exactly the thing W is always gunning for.

Condi: .44--with a bullet...


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