Skip to comments.Condi Rice & Pierce Flanigan’s Father’s Hat
Posted on 03/14/2005 3:00:35 PM PST by Congressman Billybob
Pierce Flanigan, Jr. died this week, aged 93. But this is about his hat, not his death. And it is about the absurd series of questions asked of Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice by Tim Russert on NBCs Meet the Press. Russerts effort to pin her down on whether she is running for President in 2008 spanned five straight questions.
Pierce, III has been my good friend since we went to school together, and later were college roommates. Along the way, Dr. Carl Zapfee of Troop 35 made us both Senior Patrol leaders in the troop. He assumed, correctly, that if he turned the two primary troublemakers into troop leaders, our energies would become constructive rather than destructive.
Actually, we were friends since we were babes in arms. I have a small group of friends Ive known all my life. Our various parents dated together in the 30s in Baltimore. Pierce, Jr. was the next-to-last survivor of that group. This is beginning to sound like Hal Holbrook doing Mark Twain Tonight, and the story about Twains grandfathers ram.
The ram was in his pasture when Smith of Calaveras County ventured in. Not seeing the ram, he bent over to pick a flower. The ram noticed this fine opportunity, put his head down and charged. It was Smith of Calaveras County. No, it was Smith of Tulare County. Then Holbrook/Twain went into a long discourse on the Smiths of Tulare County, and never did return to the matter of his grandfathers ram.
Well, this WILL get back to the Condi Rice interview.
Pierce, III told me a story about his father that Ive remembered for fifty years. Today it is relevant to a national story. P. Flanigan & Sons began as a paving contractor in Baltimore a century ago. Today paving is done with large, complex machines, operated by skilled men. But early on, paving required a large crew of unskilled laborers. When a job got seriously behind, Pierce, Jr. would go to the site, gather the workmen around, and talk to them about the need for better work.
As he talked, he would get madder and madder. Hed wave his arms and at the end of his speech hed snatch his homburg from his head and stomp it flat. Well, the workmen understood that Pierces fathers hat cost roughly as much as a weeks wages for each of them. So, the message was clear; he REALLY meant what he was saying.
Pierce said his father bought homburg hats in bulk. He had a closet full of them for just such occasions.
That brings us to the Rice interview. Russert pushed and pushed for an answer as to whether Secretary Rice was declaring herself in, or out of, the 2008 presidential race. Five times she gave the same answer: she had no intention of running. She was too polite to tell Russert that his question was foolish. So Ill say it for her.
That question was idiotic, Tim. None of the two dozen people nosing around to run (maybe) in 2008 are about to say this early that theyre definitely running. Not even Hillary! Clinton who is running as fast as a person can in an unattractive black pants suit. Not even former Senator John Edwards, who wants to run for President so bad he could taste it, ten years ago.
While were on the subject of how bad Edwards would be as a presidential candidate, keep in mind that in 2000 Bush carried the Tar Heel State by 13%. On the other hand, in 2004 with favorite son Edwards on the ticket, the Bush ticket dropped down to a 13% margin. Yep, Edwards was worth zip in his own state. But I digress.
No one should say, as of 2005, that he/she IS a presidential candidate in 2008. Besides, Condi Rice has no elective experience. On the other hand, she has the smarts and capacity to be President eventually. So if the Republicans are wise, shell be on the ticket as Vice President, with Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist. That assumes that Frist shows both skill and backbone in shepherding through the Senate President Bushs judicial nominees, and an agreed compromise to solve the Social Security mess.
Condi Rices hat, like Schrodingers cat, is neither in the ring nor out of it, as of now. But her answer to Tim Russert should be as clear as Pierces fathers message when he stomped on his homburg.
About the Author: John Armor is a First Amendment attorney and author who lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. John_Armor@aya.yale.edu
John / Billybob
So she's running, right? ;-)
Condoleezza Rice isn't likely to run for President. But if she does, she'll be defeated in the GOP primaries. The Republican Party is not going to nominate someone that is a "moderate" on social conservative issues. Nor should they. The GOP wins with candidates who stand on firm conservative principles. Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush proved it.
The people for whom abortion is a litmus test are going to have to accept the fact that many people currently registered as GOP are really "small gov't" proponents. Many of them would probably register as Independent if so many states didn't bar Independents from voting in either major party primary.
I think Condi is in the majority by saying that she is against abortion, but doesn't think the Fed'l gov't should be making laws on that issue, except in narrow areas like late term abortions or parental notification.
The real issue is how much of your life should the Fed'l Gov't be able to control? Remember, when you decide that, you also have to accept the results when they decide in a way you don't like.
That part is true, and I thought what Condi said was consistent with that.
The Fed'l Gov't has no right to be involved in abortion issues.
Having the Supreme Court ban abortions is just as wrong as having them allow them without restriction. There is nothing in the Constitution giving them the right to decide that issue one way or the other.
What Condi said is that she is Libertarian on the issue. In other words, some things are not in the purview of the Supreme Court, even if the Justices happen to agree with you.
Rice never said anything about Roe being wrong. When asked if abortion should be illegal, Condoleezza Rice said "no". She called herself "pro-choice". Republicans will never nominate her. That's a good thing, because she would alienate the pro-life base and lose to sHillary.
No, she said she was "mildly" pro-choice. She said she was against late term abortions and for parental notification.
She also said that she didn't think that most Americans wanted to outlaw abortion in every case.
I think her opinion is exactly where most Americans are, and even if she lost the vote of the one-issue voters, she'd win by a landslide.
One issue voters rarely win.
"By her own description, she is pro-choice, or more completely, a 'pro-choice evangelical.'"Pro-life voters will not vote for Condoleezza Rice. Rice would lose to sHillary were she to win the nomination, which she will not.
Actually, poll after poll indicates that "most Americans" oppose abortion. As a matter of fact, the opposition to abortion can be as high as 75% depending on the phrasing of the questions.
If Bill Frist wants to run, he needs to start letting the voting public know who Bill Frist is.
You were doing so well until you included Bush. Bush isn't a conservative and has, therefore, never stood on conservative principles.
Other than that, you are absolutley correct. Someone can't be "sort of" or "mildly" pro-choice. Either you believe it is all right to murder unborn babies or you don't. There is no shade of grey.
Rice shouldn't be anything other than a GOP VP selection because she is a social moderate and something of a statist. She has repeatedly stated public support for affirmative action and racial quotas.
She would make a dandy NFL Commissioner, though.
RICE won't get my vote.
That's clearly so; she has no real political standing apart from being nominated by the president to an important post. It is true that Secretary of State was, at the start of the 19th century, an important credential for a presidential candidate; Thomas Jefferson was the first person with that credential (along with having been governor of Virginia during the Revolution!). But Herbert Hoover was the last president whose top governmental office was appointive, Secretary of Commerce. There hasn't been a former Secretary of State elected president since, probably, 1840.
That's understandable when you consider that the Republic was founded for little else but to conduct a unitary foreign policy and defense policy - basically, to deter or fight the War of 1812. There are only two possibilites: either foreign policy will succeed in the next four year, mooting foreign policy as a political issue, or it will not - mooting a presidential run by a failed Secretary of State.
But as to the vice presidency, a fair number of VPs have become president - but only two sitting presidents have seen their vice-presidential running mate elected to succeed them - Andrew Jackson and Ronald Wilson Reagan. Bum ticker aside, Mr. Cheney would be seriously in the running for '08 because, at the present rate, GWB could be seen to stand in that company. But I think it's a long shot to think that the next GOP VP nominee will get to be elected president some day. Especially with no other elected office in her resume.
I think we look for a person (it will in fact be a man) who
IOW, it's a shame if Jeb Bush doesn't run. Entirely apart from - not because of and not in spite of - his relation to two presidents.
- will be a popular former two-term governor
- will be from a populous state
- will be a comer, not stale from being on the national scene for 15 years.
- you would be comfortable seeing on the Supreme Court.
What -- the pro-life base would vote for Hillary?
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