Damn, Eleanor--Just say it already!
Eleanor Clift blathers in Newsweek today about why Condi Rice won't be the Republican nominee in 2008. She spends two internet pages making the point that Condi won't be the nominee because--get this--she's mildly pro-choice, and as such won't be acceptable to the social conservatives. If Condi were, say, Rudy Giuliani, Clift might have a point, but Condi Rice isn't an Italian-American male, so her abortion stance isn't the problem.
Eleanor, honey, I'm going to let you in on a little secret as to the real problem with a Condi Rice presidential run. She's black and a Republican.
This has absolutely nothing to do with her qualifications, which are even more meager than those of her boss before he ascended the throne--this has everything to do with Republican electoral strategy for the last 35 years.
Not all Republicans are racists. I'll go even farther--I'll say that a majority of Republicans, even those in the deep red states are not racists, not the openly virulent type anyway. But there are enough of them to provide the margins of victory for statewide elections in those states to derail any African-American Republican candidacy. Why do you think Haley Barbour refused to denounce the Council of Conservative Citizens when they endorsed him? Because he knew they were going to provide him his margin of victory, and the fact that they're Klansmen trying to act respectable didn't matter one whit to him as long as they delivered on election day. the story is the same across the south. Kathleen Blanco won in Louisiana in large part because a small but decisive percentage of Republican voters wouldn't vote for Bobby Jindal because of his skin color--they either voted for Blanco or stayed home.
See--it's not a party line thing. It's a race thing, and in close elections, racists hold the decisive votes. That's why Condi Rice would never get the nomination. Sure, the pundits would claim that it's due to her mild pro-choice stance, but if you think that the redneck crackers with the Confederate flags on their trucks--people I grew up with, by the way--will vote for a black woman in a primary, you're a damn fool. And if by some miracle, Condi ran enough of the other states to actually get the nod, then you'd have an insurgent third party candidate, probably Roy Moore, who would split the Republican vote in the south and hand the Presidency to whichever Democrat happened to be the nominee.
I know pundits like to act as though electoral racism is a thing of the past, but trust me, it isn't, and Eleanor Clift does no one any favors by acting as though Condi's Achilles heel is her stance on abortion.