Something scared the hell out of me yesterday.
Had a thought that seemed crazy, then brilliant, then all too inevitable.
Eleven months from now, we vote. And it's shaping up to be a photo finish, the economy isn't changing and Vegas money says the president and his adorable, photogenic family are moving back to Chicago in January, 2013. I believe and hope and pray otherwise, but those are the odds.
That's not the scary thing.
It's the GOP field that makes that not so scary, right? The president has to run against someone, eventually Someone has to get nominated and I see three plausible scenarios taking shape. In order of descending probability:
1. Mittbot destroys all before him. Comes in second or third in Iowa, wins New Hampshire despite the Union-Leader's whimsical Gingrich endorsement, goes down to South Carolina and wins a dogfight with whoever's left standing. The only hurdle left is someone raising a constitutional challenge that the president has to be a human being, but I've looked and it's not actually spelled out, it just says "born in the United States".
What do you think that whole "corporations are people, my friend" weirdness was all about? The consortium behind Mittbot 2012 declares itself a person, with all of the rights of a person, including the right of their fearsome progeny to sit behind the Big Desk.
But that's not the scary thing.
2. The GOP base denies their only credible candidate the nomination. The cyborg is unplugged and Newt keeps puffing up until he's a Macy's Thanksgiving Day float, soaring above us all as we point agog at his enormous inflatable head. This could happen, which speaks to the profound intellectual impoverishment of the field. In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king, or in this case in the land of the dumb the man who speaks in complete sentences with subject and verb in agreement is Plato and wins the primaries.
Still not the Big Scary.
3. Most implausible but possible: The cyborg is denied, Newt collapses, Cain is gone, Perry shows up at a debate and forgets his name, how to pronounce "Texas" and to wear pants, so who's left?
It ain't Santorum or Paul or Huntsman, not in the basement of the GOP base, not in the basest of the base, anyway.
It's Michelle Bachmann, she who has never strayed from the strictest of the conservative orthodoxy. Doesn't matter that she's unelectable, she's a True Believer and I think they'd rather go down with honor than ride into battle with a plan.
And that, kids, still isn't what chilled me yesterday. Let's say one of the top two scenarios plays out. It's Mitt or Newt. So we go to the VP sweepstakes and we see very little. None of the candidates left behind make any sense to balance the ticket on a national level and it doesn't really work like that anymore, anyway.
The point is to beat Obama, by any means necessary.
So you look to the sidelines, looking for someone to stand next to Another Bland White Guy and give him some spark against the first black man in the White House. And who's that sitting there with her legs crossed demurely, her weird, sharp baby teeth flashing in the halogen glow?
Ladies and gentlemen, Ms. Condoleeza Rice.
And it's the thought of that lady anywhere near the seat of power again that stopped me cold yesterday. Bush the Lesser's first National Security Advisor (who's job presumably was to advise him on national security, like, for example, if there were a credible terrorist threat coming down the pike) and then his Secretary of State, advising him on the intricacies of international diplomacy and well, you can see how well that worked out.
Why she didn't have her resignation letter on the Big Desk the evening of September 11, 2001 and why it wasn't accepted immediately is one of the little mysteries we'll never solve. There are plenty of rogues and knaves and simple criminals that crowded the corridors of the Bush White House, but Rice has escaped a lot of the blame when I'd argue she deserves most of it.
Because she's smart. You can't really blame an alcoholic for drinking. But you can blame the bartender who keeps pouring him drinks. You don't blame a child for starting a fire. But you can blame the babysitter who kept handing him matches.
She knew better. But she sat there and played along. And now we're asked to forget or forgive the epic ineptitude and irresponsibility of her time of service to our country.
Just wait. And I pray I'm wrong.
But when the dust settles and the Republicans have their candidate, I'm pretty sure we're going to start seeing Condi on all of the news shows, quick smile, furrowed brow, politely interrupting the host to correct him on the pronunciation of Pakistan's deputy foreign minister's third wife's surname.
She's smart. And she's already proved she'll work for whoever's hiring.