Newsweek has a nice cover story on Condoleezza Rice. It manifests some of the usual prejudices (doves vs. hawks, etc.), but not too annoyingly, and it is a very flattering portait of Rice. Which raises once again the question why the Republicans can’t get more than 5% or so of the African-American vote. For the first time in world history, a major power (the dominant power, in fact) has blacks in leading positions, execising real influence on the world stage. This has never happened before; it would seem to be a newsworthy milestone; and American blacks, for reasons I can’t understand, don’t appear to care at all. On this same theme, it seems noteworthy that the ultimate source of Rice’s power (along, of course, with her considerable talents) is her close relationship with the President: “Rice has Bush’s complete confidence,” as Newsweek says, and as many others have observed. This ought to undercut the NAACP’s effort to portray Bush as an accessory to the murder of James Byrd, but if it has any impact, it is hard to detect.
These are obviously not novel observations. On the contrary, they are commonplace. I, for one, thought that over time, as the reality of President Bush’s giving unprecedented power to black advisors sank in, African-American opinion would start to come around. No such effect is apparent. I do think, however, that if blacks are indifferent to seeing Ms. Rice on the cover of Newsweek, women of all races are another story. I think that Bush’s obvious affinity for strong, admirable women like Karen Hughes and Condoleezza Rice has impressed many female voters, and is one of the reasons for Bush’s broad electoral appeal.
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