As President-elect Barack Obama announces a handful of nominees today, it's good to see capable, competent, highly-qualified women in the mix. Of course we know Senator Hillary Clinton. And Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano, though not a household word, is recognized and respected in political circles.
The woman some Democrats jokingly refer to as "our Dr. Rice" is not related to Condi in any way, shape or form...although both share some interesting similarities:
- Both have a connection to Stanford - Susan attended the university while Condi taught there.
- Both just celebrated their birthdays in November. In fact, they're exactly ten years and three days apart - Condi's birthdate is November 14, 1954 and Susan's is November 17, 1964.
- Both are African American women who have risen to prominent roles in the white-male-dominated field of foreign policy - Condi as Secretary of State in the George W. Bush administration, and Susan as Assistant Secretary of State under Bill Clinton Both had 'firsts' associated with their tenure - Condi was the first African American female Secretary of State, while Susan worked directly under the first female Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, who coincidentally happens to be an old family friend.
- Both grew up in a cultured, privileged household with parents who were college-educated.
- Both attended an all-female high school.
Like Mr. Obama, Ms. Rice has long been a fierce critic of the Bush administration's foreign policy, and she does not look to Secretary Rice as a role model.If her nomination goes through (and by all accounts it should), then she'll get to prove herself as a major player on the world stage in 2009 and beyond as the United States' Dr. Rice and not just the Dems.
"I don't select role models on the basis of race and gender," she said in a telephone interview. She praised the two previous secretaries of state, Madeleine Albright and Colin Powell, but she said the jury was still out on Secretary Rice's tenure.
Photo of Susan Rice courtesy of The Brookings Institution