Condi

Rumor now has it that Condoleezza Rice is the frontrunner for Romney's VP.

She's too much of a hawk for me, but I've always liked what I've seen of her personally.

At an age where Barack Obama was smoking weed, Rice was practicing to become a concert pianist. At an age when Obama was neglecting his studies so badly that he later had his academic records sealed, Rice was becoming a Phi Beta Kappa. And that pretty much sums up the difference between them.

But personal histories aside, Rice is a brilliant strategic choice.

She nullifies the race card which the Democrats would otherwise inevitably play. If you're black, she causes a little bell to go off in the back of your head: ding, we can't lose either way. Blacks will of course still vote overwhelmingly Democratic. But maybe, just maybe, fewer of them are motivated to show up at the voting booths now.

Rice will help nullify Obama's edge among women. All those frustrated Hillary supporters who wanted to see the first woman President would now at least get to see the first woman VP. (And Rice, unlike Palin, has done her homework; I'd love to see Katie Couric try to ambush Rice.)

Rumor has it, and circumstantial evidence indicates, that Rice is a lesbian. Perhaps the most intriguing question about her candidacy is, will she come out during the campaign? Or, perhaps, will she be outed? Rice has always conducted herself with great decorum, so I doubt that she will volunteer her sexual orientation. Most likely the question will be raised, and she'll brush it aside with a nondenial similar to the one Janet Reno used ("I'm just an old maid with a great fondness for men"), and the issue will be dropped.

But if she does comes out, or is outed, she goes from being a twofer to a threefer.

Imagine she does. Romney has already come out against gay marriage, so it would be hard for Rice to support it. But what if she said something along the lines of, I'm gay and I'm for civil unions with all the benefits of marriage, but which stop short of marriage. Will gay voters support Obama and Biden, who only came out in favor of gay marriage late in their term, and purely for political reasons? Or will they be inclined to support a woman who is actually one of them?

Watch the polls when she is announced. Romney will surge. And remember, Rice doesn't have to win over a substantial portion of any of the groups mentioned. She just needs to win over a percentage point here, and a percentage point there. 

All the Democratic spokesmen will of course decry the cynicism inherent in picking Rice. But their anger -- which will be palpable -- will be commensurate with the extent to which their own strategic advantages will be blunted.

And after four years of the most dishonest administration in memory, they really ought not be complaining about cynicism.