Wolcott on Condi

Dipping his pen in battery acid, a deliciously caustic James Wolcott comments on the poetic justice of Condi replacing Colin.

It is fitting and proper that Condi Rice replace Colin Powell as Secretary of State. Putting a black face on the rock formation of white arrogance and prerogative represented by Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld-et-al shows a shrewd consistency. But the face that Powell fronted for Bush’s diplomatic charades was an open, amiable, somewhat ambiguous one. It offered the faint hope that someone in the administration could be reasoned with and would convey allies’ concerns back to the Cowboy Jesus, that there was at least one listener in the bunch.

That illusion is gone. Rice’s face is the game face of the Bushies, bony with Unwavering Resolve, eyes fanatical, mouth tensed. She has shown herself to be not a listener but a dictation machine on playback. “The President believes…” “The President has always said…” “The President has very consistent in arguing that…” “The President has said all along…” And now the dictation machine is in a position to dictate to other nations how they can fight terror and help make America a bigger, better empire. It’ll be the President wants this, the President wants that, the President is firm in his belief that…

But her incompetence precedes her, as does her presumptuous statement that for their failure to support the U.S. in Iraq, France should be punished, Germany ignored, and Russia forgiven. Punished, ignored, and forgiven for being right in the first place and refusing to take part in this debacle?–such nerve.

A dictating machine, running on automatic pilot. I like that. But Condi’s ascension is nothing to laugh about. Like the Defense Department and the CIA and the FDA, it’s now the State Department’s turn to be politicized and radicalized and purged. Come four years from now, our traditional government institutions will simply be puppet branches of the Republican Party as Rove’s vision of a one-party state becomes a tragic reality.

As Josh Marshall says of shrub’s recent appointments. “the shift is not toward right, left or center, but toward more direct White House control and the silencing of dissident voices in the civil service.”

The Discussion: 9 Comments

Condi should head back to the Cato Institute. The Soviet Union is long gone – the area of expertise – and I don’t think she is the right person for the job.

November 17, 2004 @ 11:19 am | Comment

From what I’ve heard through the grapevine, and this just may be political sniping, but that she was a rather second-rate Sovietologist at that. Some other historians and political scientists have been pretty critical of her work on the Soviet Union.

November 17, 2004 @ 2:05 pm | Comment

I can’t say I’ve been that impressed by what I’ve seen of her on the media, but don’t really think the above attack sounds justified. At its root it seems to come down to nothing more than a “she’s just an Uncle Tom” attack. All blacks are really Democrats, just like all Hispanics … so any who support the Republicans (or even worse work in their administration) are traitors to their own kind.

Come on!! Please!

November 17, 2004 @ 9:16 pm | Comment

I think there’s more than that, mainly stemming from her absolutely dsiastrous appearance before the 911 commission. That was on TV the week I moved back from Asia, and it toally blew me away. When she was forced to tell the panel the name of Richard Clarke’s memo — Osama Bin Laden Plans to Attack Inside the US — there was a palpable gasp in the room; and in the country. I used to truly respect her, but she fillibustered and dodged and she lied, and she lost a lot of respect that day.

November 17, 2004 @ 9:32 pm | Comment

Some how having Ms Rice in power is a step back for womens rights. Partuicularly since she’s a puppet of Bush’s if not a clone of him.

Yuo can put in all the female senators you like and all the congresswomen, but Ms Rice is going to give women in politics a poor name.

November 17, 2004 @ 9:42 pm | Comment

It’s not the fact that Dr. Rice is a Republican that we object to — it’s the fact that she’s a neoconservative.

November 17, 2004 @ 11:33 pm | Comment

Only a liberal would have the sheer nerve to villify a brilliant and highly accomplished black woman as a lackey of the “Shrub”.

In short: Ugh.

November 18, 2004 @ 7:07 am | Comment

Who has vilified her? Did you see her performance at the 911 commission? She’s intelligent, a good speaker, and a nobody, a “dictation machine” for her boss. She has been mediocre in every was as NSC with no accompishments to speak of save her dog-like loyalty.

November 18, 2004 @ 7:11 am | Comment

For every liberal who vilifies Condi, there are a dozen conservatives who vilify Kofi Annan.

November 19, 2004 @ 9:40 am | Comment

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