I'm slightly embarrassed to admit that, apparently, Secretary of State Condaleezza Rice and I share a common passion: bad boys. According to recent reviews of Twice as Good, the new biography of Secretary Rice, she has a penchant for such men, which Freud would surely say has something to do with her allegiance to President Bush, who she once almost called her husband. Yes, apparently Condi is straight (who knew?), but it seems that she may be more pro-gay than her current employer would like to admit. Now, if only she'd tell him.
Of Condi, Bad Boys & High Heels
I remember, very early on in the Bush administration, watching a fascinating ABC News interview with Rice, which I unfortunately cannot find online. In it, though, she was very clear: she may be a hawk on defense issues, but on social policy she has a clear difference of opinion with the President. Rice specifically pointed to gay rights and abortion rights as evidence that she isn't interested in having the government peer into America's bedrooms or doctors' offices. Now, we might know why.
According to the author of Twice as Good, many of Rice's friends are gay, including the person she describes as her best friend. The revelation answers one question (now we know who picks out those fabulous high-heeled boots she likes so much) and raises another: why hasn't Rice used her considerable influence with the administration to stop the White House's relentless attacks on the civil liberties of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans?
The answer might be found in the same explanation for why she has rarely diverted from the Clarence Thomas mold of civil rights when it comes to her own community. Rice's father, the author of her new biography writes, once gave her a piece of advice that has stayed with her until today. When it comes to racism, he told his daughter, "Don't deny it, but don't be defined by it." What he failed to remember, however, is that whether Condaleezza wanted to be defined by racism or not, the rest of society would use it as a weapon to define her.
The same is true today for gay Americans, including Rice's best friend, who could certainly use a voice - even a whisper - among the White House inner circle.
In fact, as one of George W. Bush's most trusted advisers, one could imagine that Rice may have been able to save us a lot of heartache over these last two terms. And it's not too late: there's still hate crimes legislation, ENDA, "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," and immigration equality to fight for. Condoleezza Rice still has an opportunity to leave a lasting social legacy behind, if she'd only just find her voice and not be afraid to use it.
So I have a message for Secretary Rice, from one bad boy aficionado to another: It's not just bad boys who are hot, but bad girls, too (cue Donna Summer). Stand up, speak out, and put on your heels. Tell the President that your friends aren't to be used as political ploys. There's nothing sexier to a bad boy than a woman who knows how to fight back once in a while.