Tuesday, December 18, 2007

A baseball metaphor.

Anne Applebaum:
Way back when George W. Bush was still a candidate and "Condi" was not yet an internationally recognized nickname, someone who had observed the present secretary of state in a previous incarnation told me to watch her carefully. "Everyone underestimates her, because they think she's a token. Condi's not a token. Condi plays the game better than anyone else."

No, Condi is not a token, and yes, Condi played the game better than anyone elseā€”so much so that Condi has now dispensed with pretty much everyone who underestimated her to begin with, most notably Donald Rumsfeld, but for all practical purposes Dick Cheney, too. At this point it is she, the small, athletic black woman, and not one of them, the older, gray-haired white men, who is commonly understood to be the most influential foreign-policy figure in this administration. Condi has the president's ear, Condi calls the shots, and Condi's particular form of pragmatism has triumphed too. Step away from questions of substance (Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan), examine the results of seven long years of infighting, and it's hard not to conclude that she is this administration's star player.
If you are a pitcher who can't win a starting job but who manages to pitch a scoreless eighth inning in a game in which your starters got blown out, you are not the team's star player.

By all accounts, Condi has been rolled consistently by Rumsfeld and Cheney, who actually got to run foreign policy -- through and around her -- when this administration could still direct events. Is outlasting them a badge of honor?

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