Sunday, October 16, 2005


Ya'll: I think you might like this one....DannoMrs President In an extract from his provocative new book, oneof Bill Clinton's former key advisers argues thatin 2009, America will have its first womanPresident - but will it be squeaky cleanCondoleezza Rice or controversial HillaryClinton? Dick MorrisSunday October 16, 2005The Observer On 20 January 2009, at precisely noon, the worldwill witness the inauguration of the 44thPresident of the United States. As the chiefjustice administers the oath of office on theflag-draped podium in front of the US Capitol,the first woman President, Hillary RodhamClinton, will be sworn into office. By her side,smiling broadly and holding the family Bible,will be her chief strategist, husband, andco-President, William Jefferson Clinton. If the thought of another Clinton presidencyexcites you, then the future indeed looks bright.Because, as of this moment, there is no doubtthat Hillary Clinton is on a virtuallyuncontested trajectory to win the Democraticnomination and, very likely, the 2008 election.She has no serious opposition in her party. Theorder of presidential succession from 1992through 2008, in other words, may well becomeBush, Clinton, Bush, Clinton. But her victory is not inevitable. There is one,and only one, figure in America who can stopHillary Clinton: Secretary of State Condoleezza'Condi' Rice. Among all of the possibleRepublican candidates for President, Condi alonecould win the nomination, defeat Hillary andderail a third Clinton administration. Condoleezza, in fact, poses a mortal threat toHillary's success. With her broad-based appeal tovoters outside the traditional Republican base,Condi has the potential to cause enough majordefections from the Democratic party to createserious erosion among Hillary's core voters. Sheattracts the same female, African-American andHispanic voters who embrace Hillary, while stillmaintaining the support of conventionalRepublicans. There is, perhaps, an inevitability to the clash:two highly accomplished women, partisans ofopposite parties, media superstars andquintessentially 21st-century female leaders,have risen to the top of American politics. Eachis an icon to her supporters and admirers. Twogroundbreakers, two pioneers. Indeed, two of themost powerful women on the planet; Forbesmagazine recently ranked Condi as number one andHillary as number 26 in its 2005 list of the mostpowerful women in the world. For the first timein our history, a majority of voters say theywould support a woman for President. In a May USAToday/CNN/Gallup Poll, an amazing 70 per centindicated that they 'would be likely to vote foran unspecified woman for President in 2008'. Hillary Clinton has always wanted to be the firstwoman President of the United States. Shortlyafter her husband's election in 1992, thecouple's closest advisers openly discussed plansfor her eventual succession after Bill's secondterm. Things didn't turn out quite that way, buther election to the Senate in 2000 gave her thenational platform she needed to launch her newimage - the 'Hillary Brand' - and begin her longmarch back to the White House. Hillary Clinton does not want any other woman totake what she regards as her just place inhistory. Yet, ironically, it is Hillary'scandidacy that makes Condi's necessary and,therefore, likely. The first woman nominated bythe Democrats can only be defeated by the firstwoman nominated by the Republicans. Were Condiand Hillary to face one another, it would be thenext great American presidential race and one ofthe classic bouts in history: Hector vs Achilles;Wellington vs Bonaparte; Lee vs Grant; Mary,Queen of Scots vs Elizabeth; Ali vs Frasier. Andnow, Condi vs Hillary. These potential combatants are as different as,well, black and white. In many ways, they aremirror images of each other: not only white/blackbut north/south; Democrat/Republican;married/single; suburban/urban; and, in policyinterests, domestic/foreign. Their backgrounds are not in the least similar.While Hillary grew up in the middle-classsecurity of white, Protestant Park Ridge,Illinois, Condi came of age on the wrong side ofthe racial divide in pre-civil rights Birmingham,Alabama. It was Rice who came from an educated,professional family; Hillary's was far moreblue-collar. It is not only their familybackgrounds and geography that were distinctive.Their careers also took very different paths. Formore than 30 years, Hillary's success has alwaysbeen coupled with her relationship with onepowerful man: Bill Clinton. Unlike Hillary, Condi has never married and hersuccess has never been a matter of hitching herwagon to the political fortunes of a powerfulman. Instead, she advanced strictly on hermerits. She began her career by excelling as anacademic and specialising in foreign affairs.Eventually, she brought that expertise to afamily of Presidents. But it was always Condi'srecord of accomplishment that made her aprominent national figure. When she was still in her twenties, she waselevated to the Stanford University facultybecause she amazed her colleagues with herabilities. She came to Washington during theadministration of President George HW Bushbecause she had impressed national securityadviser Brent Scowcroft, who met her at Stanford.She was only 34 when she became theadministration's chief expert on the SovietUnion. Condi Rice, in short, reached her positionof power on the strength of her achievements. Condi's and Hillary's respective reputations inpolitics, too, were diametrically opposed.Condoleezza Rice has never been involved inpersonal or professional wrongdoing; Hillary hasbeen embroiled in scandal after scandal, eversince she entered public life. She has alwaysteetered on the ethical edge. Both women deny having plans to run for Presidentin 2008. In Hillary's case, the demur istraditional, usually couched in an often-repeatedcoy and calculated answer - 'Right now, I amfocusing on being the best senator from New Yorkthat I can be' - rather than a flat-out rejectionof the idea. Condi's dismissals have been more emphatic.During an interview with the Washington Times inMarch, she said she had no intention of runningfor President. A denial, but a soft one: 'I havenever wanted to run for anything,' Rice said. 'Idon't think I even ran for class anything when Iwas in school.' The fact that Condi has not laid out a plan torun for President does not, by any means, signifythat she won't run. It's not that simple.Compared with Hillary, she merely approaches herfuture in a very different way. She has neverplanned her advancement with the same degree ofprecision that Hillary has. She hasn't had to.Her obvious talent has stood out among her peersand her rapid promotions have always been theresult. Hillary is different. She is a plodder;she approaches the presidential race like a longto-do list. For her, the path to the West Wing in2008 is already laid. The strategy is in place,the players are on the team. For the past 15 years, the Clintons havesystematically built up a network of wealthydonors, influential supporters and opinionleaders throughout the country, creating aRolodex of millions. They used the power of thepresidency to reward these people by appointingthem to jobs and commissions. They alsounderstood the allure of invitations to the WhiteHouse and used events like state dinners andChristmas parties to solidify the loyalty oftheir stalwarts. Under Bill's tutelage, but with the discipline helacks, Hillary will scrupulously follow theirjointly developed plan to recapture power. Theymay not spend much time together, but they areunited on their journey back to PennsylvaniaAvenue. Hillary will absorb all the lessons herhusband's history has to teach and dramaticallyand obviously move to the centre. The Clintonshave always understood that they cannot attractswing voters with a leftist agenda. So, for thecampaign, Hillary will become a moderate, atleast in public. But Hillary's newfound centrism focuses only onissues at the margins of American politics. Shemay attack sex on television or call for morevalues in public life, but when the chips aredown, she votes like a solid liberal, backing herparty more than 90 percent of the time. Condi's way to 2008 is totally different. She hasnone of the presumptive-nominee aura that Hillaryhas working for her. Her viability as a contenderfor the 2008 nomination will depend on whateversuccesses she has as secretary of state. She willfirst be seen as plausible, then as desirable,and, finally, as voters see Hillary move to thefore, irresistible. In the end, it is notCondoleezza Rice who will come to the votersasking for the nomination, but they who will cometo her, imploring her to run. Can Rice be nominated? The vacuum in theRepublican 2008 field makes it quite possiblethat she can.There is no heir apparent. DickCheney's health isn't strong enough, and nobodyelse from the cabinet stands out. Rudy Giulianiand John McCain are the early front-runners,gathering together more than four out of everyfive decided votes in the polls. But Rudy is tooliberal to win the nomination. And McCain showedhis limited appeal to GOP primary voters in 2000,when he won the votes of Independents but lostthe vast majority of registered Republicans toBush. As meritorious as these two men are, they aren'tgoing to win the Republican nomination. Theirlikely demise will leave an enormous vacuum.There will be a search for a real candidate,someone of stature, someone charismatic who canbeat Hillary. And the party faithful will turn toCondi Rice. America has not seen a real draft ofa presidential candidate since Dwight DEisenhower in 1952. Yet popular acclamation canbe one of the highest expressions of democracy. A draft is especially possible at this time inAmerica's history, for, as the 2004 electionresults revealed, there has been a seminal changein US politics. That was the year that thepolitical ruling class was turned upside down. Onthe left and on the right, ordinary people foundthemselves in the vortex of the national campaignin 2004, each battling to be heard, outshoutingthe mainstream media and creating in the processa new, lower centre of gravity for our politics.It's just the kind of environment in which thegrassroots activists can decide who they want tobe President. This grassroots domination of politics in 2004began when the internet impelled Howard Deanupward so far and so fast that he almost beatJohn Kerry for the nomination. Then, when Kerrydecided to build the edifice of his candidacy onthe shaky foundation of his Vietnam record, theswift boat veterans, with very little money andno political experience, bested the Democraticpublicity machine and brought the truth to thevoters. Finally, it was the 1.6 millionRepublican workers - and their Democraticcounterparts - who brought out 12 million morevotes for Bush on election day than he got in2000, and nine million more for Kerry than AlGore received four years earlier. America hadnever seen anything like it in the 20th century. The same avalanche of individual activists cananimate the draft-Condi movement. So widespreadis the admiration for this self-made woman and soubiquitous the fear of the Hillary juggernautthat it may well be the spontaneous outpouring ofhundreds of thousands of people that could propela Rice candidacy. It almost happened once before. In the autumn of1995, General Colin Powell, newly resplendent inhis post-Gulf War prestige, published his memoirsjust as the pre-primary process for the 1996Republican nomination to oppose Clinton wasgathering steam. Inside the White House, Clintonwas panicked. He ranted and railedapoplectically, to all within earshot, thatPowell didn't deserve the 'free ride' the mediawere giving him. For a while, Powell seemed unstoppable. As hecareened from one packed book signing to thenext, his name soared to the top of all thepresidential polls. Enigmatically, he refused toacknowledge the political firestorm around himand would not address the possibility that hemight run in 1996. Then came the bad news: Powell couldn't beat BobDole in a Republican primary. His support foraffirmative action, gun control and an array ofliberal positions undermined him and left himwithout a party. 'Congratulations,' I toldClinton after showing him the poll demonstratingthat Powell wouldn't get the nomination andtherefore, I said, would not run. 'You just wonthe election.' But Condi is not Colin. And 2008 is not the sameas 1996. Back then, Powell had to live off theresidual legacy of his Gulf War achievements. ButCondi will find her inadvertent candidacy fuelledby her real-time accomplishments on the worldstage. And wouldn't a Condoleezza Rice candidacychange America? The very fact that anAfrican-American woman could actually becomePresident would send a powerful message to everyminority child that there is no more ceiling, nomore limit for black Americans in electivepolitics. The sky would now be the limit. Make no mistake about it. If the nextpresidential election were held today, HillaryClinton would be in your face, exuberantlydelivering her victory speech on every televisionnetwork and beginning the redecoration of theWhite House, starting with the designation of theoffice for her chief adviser and the new firsthusband, Bill Clinton. (His would be the oneright next to the President's dining room, theone with the small, eye-level window in the door,so she can easily see what he's up to.) Hillaryis hot. She's popular. She's confident - and withgood reason. She is by far the Democrats' topchoice and she has the support of women voters,the key swing group who make the difference inAmerican elections. Money, for her, is no problem. Her donors loveher and don't mind giving, over and over again.Her plan to win the nomination is viable and shenever wavers from it. She's built a loyal team,strategically placing her former staffers inpositions at her various political committees aswell as in the National Democratic Party. Shelooks great - the days of crazy hairdos and wackyclothes are long behind her. Everything isclicking just right; barring yet another Clintonscandal, she looks unbeatable against theregularly mentioned field of Republicancandidates. She's a winner and she knows it. Hillary has found her groove. Her message istight, clear and controlled. It reads: HillaryClinton is a hardworking, effective moderate whocan collaborate with even the most conservativeRepublicans on joint, highly visible (and usuallyuncontroversial) projects. She's highlysupportive of the military, capable in foreignaffairs and fighting to keep pornography andviolence away from children. She's experienced;she spent eight years in the White House. She'sindependent of her husband, although very muchmarried, and she's serious. She is not - repeat,not - a liberal. But Hillary's strategy does not end with a moveto the centre and an embrace of the military. Shehas a multipurpose ace in the hole: her husband.Many people still ask: 'Why does she stay withhim?' Obviously, there are many personal reasons.Beyond that, there are political reasons.Together they have been a winning team for morethan 30 years. It works for them. Even if theydon't see each other very often, they still sharetwo important common goals. The first is to electHillary as the first woman President. The secondis to vindicate Bill's presidency. Bill plays anenormous role in Hillary's quest for the OvalOffice. Not only is he her major adviser,cheerleader, and fund-raiser, but he is also aliving reminder to the Democratic voters whoadored him that he, too, would be back in theWhite House if she were elected. Without him, itwould be very difficult for Hillary to be electedPresident.With him by her side, a third Clintonadministration is within reach. But Bill Clinton's presence behind the scenes isnot nearly as important as what he can do forHillary in front of the TV cameras. Just asHillary offset Bill's principal weakness by'standing by her man', so he can counter herchief problems by standing by his wife. Anyfirst-time candidate for President faces doubtsabout his administrative ability, foreign policyexperience and capacity to handle crisis.Particularly when the candidate is a woman whohas held elective office for only a few years andwho has no administrative or internationalexperience, the doubts are likely to intensify.Bill's presence assuages them; his experiencereassures sceptical voters. The first husbandwould be live-in help. Condoleezza Rice can defeat Hillary RodhamClinton. Were she to run, her candidacy wouldstrike directly at the three pillars of theDemocratic party's political base:African-Americans, Hispanics and white women. TheDemocrats cannot win without fully tapping allthree sources of votes. A Hillary Clintoncandidacy is particularly strong because of herappeal to all three bastions of Democratic power.Because of her husband's long identification withminority voters, her efforts to court Hispanicvoters and her own gender and record of feminism,she stands to cash in on the support of all threegroups in a huge way. But Condoleezza Rice, also a woman and anAfrican-American, blocks Hillary's built-inadvantages. How would Condi fare among blacks?Would she crack the solid phalanx of African-American support for the Democratic party,something no Republican has done in 50 years? A number of prominent black Democraticpoliticians think she could. Bill Clinton'sformer secretary of agriculture, Mike Espy, thefirst black congressman from Mississippi and alifelong Democrat, thinks Condi would run wellamong America's blacks. Espy was one of twoAfrican-Americans in Clinton's first cabinet. 'They are two brilliant women,' Espy says,'evenly matched, both well rounded, both withinterests outside politics.' How would the blackcommunity vote? 'Their heads would be forHillary,' Espy predicts, 'but their hearts wouldbe with Condi.' And which would they follow? 'Weoften are emotional and follow our hearts. Wewould all like to have parents like Condi's -focused, encouraging, nurturing - and we'd alllike to have a daughter like Condi,' Espy says. When I pressed him for a numerical prediction,the former congressman thought for a while andthen said: 'My guess is that the race [amongAfrican-American voters] would be pretty mucheven. Hillary may have a bit of an edge becauseof the hegemony of the Democratic party base, butCondi would run much, much better than any otherRepublican. My guess would be a 60-40 Hillarymargin.' Sixty-40! For a Republican to win four out of 10black votes would mean a major realignment inAmerican politics. If Rice should realiseanything close to such a gain in theAfrican-American vote - and do as well as Bushamong the rest of the electorate - she wouldsweep to an overwhelming victory, a truelandslide. Condoleezza Rice's public record at the WhiteHouse is of relatively recent vintage. It is herlife story, more than her public career, thattells us why she could be a great President.Rice's biography is a unique story that bearselaboration. Condoleezza Rice has been defyingodds since she was born in an all-black communityin Birmingham, Alabama. Her family was solidlymiddle class, but in the Birmingham of thosedays, racial barriers could not be bypassed, evenby money. Shopping as a young girl with her mother at alocal department store, an employee told her shecould not use the 'whites only' dressing room andhad to try on her clothing in a back storagecupboard. When Condi's mother refused andthreatened to leave, the embarrassed employeerelented. 'I remember,' Condi relates, 'the womanstanding there guarding the [dressing room] doorworried to death that she was going to lose herjob.' But the event that seared its way most powerfullyinto Rice's memory was the 1963 bombing of theSixteenth Street Baptist Church, a few miles fromher house. She heard the blast. Rice recalls theterror she felt, as an eight-year-old, that day. 'These terrible events burned into myconsciousness,' she remembers. And as Americashook its head in disbelief at the murder of fourgirls in the blast, Condi Rice was mourning thetwo she knew, including Denise McNair, herkindergarten classmate. 'I remember more than anything the small coffinsand the sense that Birmingham was not a very safeplace.' Racism also followed her to the University ofDenver, where her professor lectured the 250students in his class on the genetic inferiorityof African-Americans, citing thepseudo-scientific work of William Shockley. Rice simmered as her professor recountedShockley's belief that 'art, literature,technology, linguistics - all the treasures ofWestern civilisation - are the products of thesuperior white intellect'. 'Rather than crouch down in her seat to avoid theonslaught,' her biographer Antonia Felix reports,Rice 'sprang out of her chair and defendedherself: "I'm the one who speaks French! I'm theone who plays Beethoven. I'm better at yourculture than you are. This can be taught!'" Yet Condoleezza's childhood is not just a saga ofrace and rage; it's also one of a middle-classyoung woman striving for excellence. As a recentNew Yorker profile, written by Nicholas Lemann,pointed out: 'She was an only child, born toolder [for that time and place; both Rices wereover 30 when she was born], well-establishedparents, with a large supporting cast ofrelatives in addition to the community itself,and a long-standing family tradition of ambitionand education.' For all her childhood encounters with racism,Condi's life in Birmingham was one of relativeprivilege. According to Lemann, her parents'brought a special intensity' to her upbringing;she had 'flute lessons and ballet lessons andFrench lessons and violin lessons and skatinglessons and skipped two grades in school',entering college when she was 15. Condi's mother and father tried to shield herfrom the arrows of racism. As Rice told Ebonymagazine: 'Our parents really did have usconvinced that even though I couldn't have ahamburger at Woolworth's, I could be President ofthe United States.' Rice's childhood was very different fromHillary's. At the Rodham household, there was nosuch stress on disciplined self-improvement and,obviously, no sense of great obstacles toovercome. In her autobiography, Living History,Hillary notes gratefully: 'I was lucky to haveparents who never tried to mould me into anycategory or career. They simply encouraged me toexcel and be happy.' In the future senator'schildhood, there were no French lessons, flutelessons, or piano lessons, just a childhood ofhanging out. The one theme that is present in Hillary's youth,but absent in Rice's, is politics. Even the fewpages Mrs Clinton devotes to her childhood inLiving History are filled with references to heryouthful electoral triumphs. 'I was electedco-captain of the safety patrol at elementaryschool,' she tells us proudly. Rice, on the otherhand, was entirely focused on individualself-improvement. She never ran for any office inschool and remained separate and apart, a prodigywho mastered every manner of musical instrument. Rice, even as a black girl in the segregatedBirmingham of the 1950s and 1960s, was more of aloner. As Alma Powell, who was well placed in theBirmingham black social circle and later becameColin Powell's wife, described the Rices: 'Theywere not the generation that would get socialchange. They did not participate in sit-ins andmarches. They were leery. In conversations witholder people, you'd hear things like, "Oh, Idon't know what's going to happen." But there wasno opposition to the movement, none of that.' Asone of Rice's friends put it: 'We don't all havea deprivation narrative.' In the New Yorker, Lemann speaks of 'the greatintellectual divide of 20th-century black America- between WEB DuBois, the radical proponent ofpolitical change, and Booker T Washington, theadvocate of self-improvement and not confrontingthe Jim Crow system'. The Rices, he concludes,'were more on the Washington side'. Hillary came of age in the context of a movement- the anti-war student activism of the 1960s. Hermemoir makes it clear that her political lifereally began at Wellesley, where she demonstratedon campus, defended the Black Panthers andtravelled to California, to work in the lawoffices of former communist Robert Treuhaft, oneof the Panthers' lawyers. From the start of heradulthood, Hillary saw herself as an agent ofsocial change, an activist in a political world,always part of a group, a phalanx committed torearranging the world. In their differing backgrounds - and the lifechoices that flowed from them - Hillary and Condireflect the different priorities of theirpolitical parties and the approach they take tothe problems of social betterment, upwardmobility and race relations. If the Democrats see individual upward mobilityas a danger to group cohesion, the Republicanssee the tendency to herd into a group and sticktogether as stimulating a sense of victimhood andclass identification that is alien to truedemocracy. Democrats accuse Republicans of callousness,saying they neglect those at the bottom and workonly for the few who are well equipped to competein life. Republicans accuse Democrats of wantingto enhance bloc voting by trying to keep the poorand minorities in a group, dependent on handoutsfrom the political system for their upwardmobility. So what kind of President would Hillary be? Howwould Condi handle the job? Let's start withpolicy. Hillary Clinton would be the most liberalPresident since Lyndon Johnson. Bill Clinton is amoderate by choice and, sometimes, a liberal bynecessity. But his wife is the exact opposite.Hillary believes that government deliversservices well and that the quest for privateprofit is the root of all selfishness and vice inAmerican life. In foreign affairs, Hillary's views are lessclear. She is only just learning about theseissues and her real opinions have yet to emerge -and probably won't until after she is elected.During her White House years, she was a peacenik,opposed to foreign interventions, againstAmerican involvement in Somalia and concernedthat the administration would be too preoccupiedwith the Balkans. But now, who knows? For her part, Condoleezza Rice shares the basicBush/Republican outlook on public policy issues.She would likely seek to hold down taxes, limitthe role of government and harness the privatesector for the delivery of public services. Like Hillary, Condoleezza Rice is a woman on amission. But Rice's mission is the expansion ofdemocracy. Where Hillary would focus primarily onexpanding the role of the government at home,Rice would want to see America become moreinvolved abroad. But it is in temperament that these two womenwould most differ in the presidency. Rice hatesto make enemies. While she is quite capable ofstanding her ground in any debate or give andtake, she tries to charm rather than compel, tofinesse when others would confront. As first lady, Hillary Clinton defined herself byher enemies. She needed her adversariesconstantly in her sights to reassure her that shewas doing the right thing by opposing them. One senses that Condoleezza Rice likes staffmembers who offer constructive criticism. Rearedin academia, she seems to relish advice and seekout counsel. But Hillary does not. Many times Ihave sat with her top staffers, trying to figureout who would have the guts to go into the lion'sden and tell Hillary she was making a mistake.Often I assumed the role myself, only to emergewith my head in my hands. And finally, how would each grow in office? Rice demonstrated a tremendous capacity forgrowth in the way she adjusted to the newenvironment of 9/11. Her evolving understandingof the need for a morally grounded foreign policythat rotates around the push for global democracyshows how much this woman can grow to meet newdemands and situations. Hillary's inability to accept criticism makes itharder for her to grow. She often comes totactical conclusions, altering her conduct tosuit the opportunities and challenges of themoment. But she is capable of surprising us.Since her election to the Senate in November2000, Hillary Clinton seems happier than she didin the White House. Starting with her campaign for Senate, though,Hillary seems to have lightened up. Having movedinto her own political career, it's possible thatshe may finally have absorbed the lessons it hasto teach. She may have seen the limits ofconfrontational politics and the virtualcertainty that anything that is hidden inWashington will always come out - and come backto haunt you. Then again, she may not. Beneath the newfoundgood cheer, she may be the same old Hillary shehas always been. We just don't know. The election of 2008 will be the next greatpresidential race. With the possibility of twopopular women as candidates, the voters will makehistory. We can only hope it's the right kind ofhistory. . Extracted from Condi vs Hillary: The Next GreatPresidential Race by Dick Morris and EileenMcGann published by Harper Collins. © Dick Morrisand Eileen McGann 2005. Dick Morris served asBill Clinton's political consultant for 20 years.Condi vs Hillary is published in the UK byReganBooks on 1 November