Thursday, April 08, 2004
Dr. Condoleezza Rice, the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, gave her long awaited testimony to the 9-11 commission today.
Watching on television, I could not help but be impressed by her measured and insistent responses to various interrogatories, many of them baiting and lawyerlike. After her testimony, the radio news broadcasts used words such as "resolute" and "unwavering" to describe her appearance. She won the day; that judgement was reinforced in my mind by the attempts on the part of the partisan media to raise questions about what she said, or to contrast her statements with the sentiments of various "9-11 Moms" who have, it appears, signed on with the Kerry Campaign. In so doing, the partisan media and their Democratic patrons missed the point of the episode.
Rice's testimony will convince no one in the Democratic Party's activist wing that she was sincere and her efforts were praiseworthy. That was not the objective. Karl Rove wanted her in there to appeal to centrist swing voters. The spectacle of Richard Benveniste or Bob Kerrey baiting and peppering Rice with "yes" or "no" questions was not lost on Mr. and Mrs. America. I could not help but be amazed that Benveniste, for instance, could be so stupid as to hector Rice on television. Rice refused to be intimidated by him, and confounded his attempt to steer her towards the conclusion that both she and the President were guilty of negligence. She did this by patiently, persistently, and relentlessly answering the questions raised by Benveniste, Gorelick, and Kerrey in her own way, and on her own terms.
There are people in Washington tonight who will try to get her on the Republican ticket in 2004. Her testimony, and her refusal to be buffaloed, was that impressive. She proved to me that not only does she have what it takes to be in the Arena, but she has what it takes to command, as well.