December 24, 2007

An American Life

“My parents had me absolutely convinced that you may not be able to have a hamburger at Woolworth's, but you can be President of the United States.”

She is the very first black female to be chosen as US Secretary of State and the 66th to be appointed to the position, after her stint as National Security Adviser. Easily the most academic member of the Bush team and very distinguished. But who is Condoleezza Rice? Almost enigmatic, she has the ear of the President and yet remains on the outer of the Washington social circuit.

Journalist Elisabeth Bumiller gives us some insight in her book, Condoleezza Rice: An American Life. The site Hiram7 site publishes Ann Applebaum's review of the work exploring Rice's past from childhood to education. In the book Bumiller successfully tells us why she was such a good fit in the Bush administration.

“Way back when George W. Bush was still a candidate and “Condi” was not yet an internationally recognized nickname, someone who had observed the present secretary of state in a previous incarnation told me to watch her carefully. “Everyone underestimates her, because they think she’s a token. Condi’s not a token. Condi plays the game better than anyone else.”

“No, Condi is not a token, and yes, Condi played the game better than anyone else–so much so that Condi has now dispensed with pretty much everyone who underestimated her to begin with, most notably Donald Rumsfeld, but for all practical purposes Dick Cheney, too. At this point it is she, the small, athletic black woman, and not one of them, the older, gray-haired white men, who is commonly understood to be the most influential foreign-policy figure in this administration. Condi has the president’s ear, Condi calls the shots, and Condi’s particular form of pragmatism has triumphed too. Step away from questions of substance (Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan), examine the results of seven long years of infighting, and it’s hard not to conclude that she is this administration’s star player.”


Read the whole review here.

Her career ascension is an amazing story of doggedness and consistency, appearing to possess unyielding self- belief and ruthless devotion to her success. She once said, “My parents had me absolutely convinced that you may not be able to have a hamburger at Woolworth's, but you can be President of the United States.” We explore a life that began in the Deep South and arrived at the private sanctums of the White House.

To gain further insight into the dynamics of Bush's inner team and, how State Department and White House relations have altered during Rice's incumbency I point you to a 2006 New York Times piece which articulates her influence.

Comments welcome

14 comments:

Tapline said...

Otto, I use to be in her corner, but of late, and the Israel/Palistaine mess. She has completely lost an fan. Completely, bowing to the Arabs,,different entrances,,,no hand shakes,,,Talk about losing face. Wow! It always seems to be what can Israel give up??? No one else.... I think she has been in Washington too long.... I ramble.....stay well......

Karen said...

I read another biography of Condi and her's is a true American dream story. Her parents were educated people and expected the same of her.

She was a cherished only child and she was given the gift of parents who told her she could do or be absolutley anything.

The truly ironic part of her State Dept tenure is that Madeleine Albright's father is her mentor. He was a Professor of hers at the Univ of Denver. They still meet regularly and discuss the problems of the world.

I, too, am concerned about her recent Middle East attemps concerning Israel.

American Interests said...

Tap: I can empathise but as yet I haven't lost hope on her, to do so is to lose hope in the entire administration..I'm still with her..

Karen: Enlightening comments thanks. Have you an opinion on Albrights tenure in the same position? And may I ask, what was the title of the biography you read on Condi? Stay well!!!

WomanHonorThyself said...

Condi is a dhiiiiiiiimi of the worst kind and has turned her back on Israel in the worst way..no offense my friend but she doesnt even deserve your attention!

PoorGrrl said...

No comment on Condi. Just wanted to wish you a Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year!

Karen said...

The book I read is titled: Condi by Antonia Felix. Really interesting story she tells of Condi's life. The author isn't agenda-driven, which is nice for a change.

About Albright. I have little respect for her, truth be told. I think she sold us out to the N. Koreans and made us look foolish. Her war in Serbia was questionable, but I'm skeptical about all wars in the beginning, having grown up with the Vietnam war throughout my childhood. I don't think she really did anything of note.

We received a Christmas card from friends living in Perth today. They are Brits we met thru our son's younger school days. The husband is in evil oil biz like my husband is so they move frequently.

Merry Christmas, Otto!

American Interests said...

Angel: No need to concern yourself about offending, not ever! For you may articulate yourself fully here...I appreciate your veiws...

The focal point of the post centres purely on the career achievement/s of an individual, nothing more. In this case, the current serving U.S. Secretary of State...

poorgrrl: Thank you!

Karen: Thanks for the book title…Not "agenda-driven" hmmm, much like my post...see my reply to Angel.

I harbour comparable reservations about Albright though...

Lovely city Perth...

Donald Douglas said...

Thanks for the tip, Ottavio! That looks like a great read.

Have a wonderful Christmas!

Goat said...

I admire Dr. Rice for what she has personally accomplisked though some of her policy decisions have been weak. I grew up just a few miles from her and to rise from the Alabama of that time to where she is is impressive as is Justice Thomas'.
Sidenote, she is also a gifted concert worthy pianist.

WomanHonorThyself said...

hope your holiday was spectacular my friend!

American Interests said...

Goat: Thanks and I hope you had a great holiday. Did not know she played the piano...

Angel: Hope yours was same...

D.S.Harford said...

Now if we could only convince her to run as a vice-president; maybe with Rudy.

American Interests said...

dsharford: Thanks for coming by...maybe with McCain!!!

Brian, aka Nanoc, aka Norski said...

Rice for President?

I doubt that we'll see that in the 2012 election - but it could happen later, after she's had a chance to distance herself from the current Bush administration.

I'd need to know more about policies she supports when not working for someone else before voting for her, but she certainly seems to be a potential candidate.

And, one who would drive the established order here to distraction.