THE PLANK FEBRUARY 2, 2007
You know the new Time magazine cover story on Condoleeza Rice, portentously titled 'The Weight of the World', is going to be a long, hard slog when you come across two sentences like these in the second paragraph:
Even as the Bush Administration's support has slid to historic depths, Rice's image has been relatively unsullied. She remains not just the most glamorous member of the Bush Cabinet but also its most popular, with job-approval ratings 20 points higher than her boss's.
Hmmm, I wonder why this is. Perhaps because, God-knows why, the media still publishes fawning cover stories on her for absolutely no reason (okay, it is cool she wants to be NFL Commissioner). Although Romesh Ratnesar and Elaine Shannon, the authors of the piece, admit that, "To this point, Rice's tenure has been long on procedural victories but short on substantive policy results," they are intent on believing Rice is about to acheive some tangible wins:
Those who have spoken to her say her determination to seek a comprehensive settlement between Israel and the Palestinians is real. A senior Arab official says that on her trip to the region last month, Rice pledged to help set up a Palestinian state by the end of Bush's term.The most optimistic diplomats, including Rice, hope that U.S. engagement on Palestine could lead to other areas of cooperation among "moderate" Middle East forces, all of whom have an interest in checking the influence of Shi'ite Iran and subduing radical Sunni groups aligned with al-Qaeda. If that happens, the U.S. may be able to build a security arrangement that could limit some of the damage done by the misadventure in Iraq.
Do Ratnesar and Shannon actually think any of this is remotely true? That the Bush team is planning on making a major push for Mid-East peace? That their policies in this region will soon become popular enough that moderate forces will join with the United States? If so, they're deluded, and if not, why are they writing it? Oh well, at least the final paragraph has this gem:
Given the limited time available for the task ahead, it's admirable that Rice still exudes optimism.