Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Presidential Ballot of the Future: Hillary and Condi’

While many eyes are focused on midterm elections next year, potential Presidential candidates are jockeying for media attention with numerous press conferences and interviews on television and in newspapers.

This season has brought us a new television series, “Commander-in-Chief,” chronicling the professional and personal life of President Mackenzie Allen, the first female President of the United States. Geena Davis plays the role masterfully, seeking to push a centrist agenda in the face of a snarling House Speaker played by Donald Sutherland.

In three years, we may be witnessing the election of a female president in real life. While everyone knows many Democrats are pushing for Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) to run in 2008, many Republicans have been floating around an attractive and bright personality – Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Both women are smart, driven, have compelling life stories, and would appeal to the core loyalists of their respective party bases. Political strategist Dick Morris even recently wrote a book entitled “Condi vs. Hillary: The Next Great Presidential Race,” which details the strength of Rice and his view of Hillary’s “calculated” run for the presidency.

While both candidates have much to offer, both have their own respective strengths and weaknesses. We all know who Hillary’s husband is, and that’s such a big thing – Hillary Clinton has virtually 100 percent name recognition. She has been in the press for years and, fairly or unfairly, she has received criticism for some comments she has made in the past.

Who doesn’t slip up in the media, however? Whatever you may think of her, Hillary is a strong person – she got through a humiliating affair on the part of her husband and was elected as a New York senator in 2000 on her own merits. Once derided by Senate Republicans, she has worked with many of them on issues of common ground such as increased spending for military families and better health insurance for children.

Sounds good, right? Well, Hillary still has a lot to overcome. In a Rasmussen Reports poll from early November, 29 percent of Americans said they would definitely vote for her and 40 percent said they would definitely not vote for her. The latter number has actually gone down a little, but for an unannounced candidate that is still quite high.

Condoleezza Rice offers a strikingly different life story. Secretary Rice has been one of President George W. Bush’s closest advisors. She is so close to him that she spends most weekends with him and his family. As an African-American woman, she has accomplished so many firsts – first female National Security Advisor and first African-American Secretary of State. From Chile to Israel to Japan, we see Secretary Rice on television every week working with foreign diplomats on issues of importance to the United States.

She is confident and poised, but as a political candidate she is untested. Many Republican activists are urging her to run, but she said she has no interest, and has repeatedly said her only dream job is to become NFL Commissioner. While some say Hillary Clinton is uninviting, many see Rice as an even-tempered alternative that is more moderate on social issues than most conservative Republicans and could appeal to a wide section of the electorate.

Clinton has a lot to offer on the national stage. She has been a tireless advocate of children’s issues, health care, a stronger national defense and equal rights for all citizens. Her initiatives, however, come from a legislative perspective. As a member of the Executive Cabinet, Rice’s viewpoints affect the day-to-day operations of the Oval Office. She many not be a U.S. senator, but Rice definitely can hold her own and can wield a lot of power on treaties and potential agreements that trickle down to Congress.

Clinton has a Senate race next year, but she will win easily – much to the dismay of national Republicans. The GOP will likely nominate Westchester County, New York District Attorney Jeanine Pirro, who evidently has trouble reading simple sentences at her own press conferences, so she shouldn’t be too much of a threat. Meanwhile, another Rasmussen Reports poll has a Clinton-Rice matchup with Clinton winning 44 percent and Rice garnering 38 percent.

Some Democrats have said that Clinton has too much baggage from her days in the White House and want a fresh face, particularly a moderate governor. Names like Governor Mark Warner of Virginia, Senator Evan Bayh of Indiana (a former two-term governor) and Brad Henry of Oklahoma have came up recently. Some are skeptical, however, if any moderate candidates can excite the Democratic base. I think they can, but they must be willing to avoid becoming a regional candidate and campaign vigorously for the nomination in all states.

Rice would be a fresh face who could attract many crossover votes from African-Americans and women, two groups that help secure many Democratic victories. Right now, the Republican field is also wide open. Rice says that she is not running for president, but if she ever changed her mind, a race between her and Hillary Clinton would be truly be an interesting one.

John Dorman is a senior in the College and can be reached at The Inside Edge appears every other Tuesday.

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