A tiny group has just experienced tiny growth. I wrote in this column a while ago that when John McCain considers who his running-mate should be, Condoleezza Rice should be on the list. A couple of friends e-mailed that they agreed, but boy, were we ever not a movement.
Now, Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson has joined the small club. He's careful to point out that it "probably won't happen" but, still, every little bit helps. McCain himself was noncommittal when asked about Rice on the ticket: "I think she's a great American," he said, which of course does not tell us whether she'd be a great VP. She would face the challenge of having served in the Bush administration, which is widely regarded as a flop. Still, she would bring youth, smarts and glamour to the ticket and those ought to be worth something.
She might do one other thing, and that's eliminate race as a campaign issue. If the Democrats nominate Barack Obama, and the experts seem to think they will, then there'd be a black on each ticket. What's a racist voter to do? Another Washington Post columnist, Richard Cohen, notes that Obama carries the white vote in states where there aren't many blacks--Wisconsin and Vermont--but not in states with substantial black populations--Ohio and New Jersey, for example.
It's worth noting that race is something about which voters will lie to pollsters. Nobody, or just about nobody, wants to tell the man on the phone, "Sure, I can't stand blacks" or whites or whomever. But if the Dems pick Obama and the Republicans Rice, racists will have to go Libertarian, or Vegetarian, or whatever. It would be a nice choice for them.
Sure, it probably won't happen. But this has been an unusual year. Who'd have guessed, a year ago, that the Republicans would pick a septuagenarian whom many strict conservatives dislike? Or that the Democratic contest would be between a women and a black? It's been good fun so far. Let's hope we stay lucky.