Dick Cheney(L), Defense Secretary Robert Gates(2nd-L), Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice(2nd-R) and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Peter Pace(R) at the President's Crawford, Texas, ranch. Bush met with top national security aides as he drew closer to unveiling a new strategy for Iraq, as ousted dictator Saddam Hussein's execution loomed. Photo:Tim Sloan/AFPDr. Ferragamo is probably wise to keep her flower protected amongst such a virile, randy crowd, especially notorious lothario Peter Pace. I agree with the White House correspondent who pointed this picture out to me (what can I say? Pony Pals™ are moving up in the world!) that her sweater set is totally cute.
But anyway, she's lucky to be hanging out in Texas so that she can miss all that BORING Gerald Ford stuff, and also so that she can be in a newspaper-free environment. Yes, after years of pointless Condi profiles in which we learn, over and over again, about her upbringing, her fashion choices, her dream job of being NFL Commissioner, her non-aspirations toward the presidency, some enterprising journalist finally thought long enough to write the unthinkable: a scorecard of her diplomatic achievements. And it ain't pretty:
"Great secretaries of state have compelling views of the world and/or are effective negotiators -- Secretary Rice has so far demonstrated neither," said Aaron Miller, who advised six secretaries of state before joining the Woodrow Wilson Center think tank in Washington.Uh, oh. Well, surely her bestest buddies, those adorable kids at the American Enterprise Institute, must have nicer things to say about her. Well, barely:
"I don't know that there have been concrete advances" under Rice's diplomacy, said Joshua Muravchik of the conservative American Enterprise Institute, though he nevertheless went on to give her "high grades" for faithfully implementing Bush's policy agenda.OK, so that's not exactly singing her praises from the rooftops, but she gets high points for obedience! So what's Condi to do to rescue her reputation? It's simple, really:
Rice's best shot at achieving a major success in her remaining time as secretary of state is likely to focus on the deadlocked Israeli-Palestinian peace process.So that's it: she merely needs to solve the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. Good luck with that!
UPDATE: Thank goodness for Bush advisor Fran Townsend, who reminds us that a failure is simply "a success that hasn't occurred yet." Take that, pessimists!