CLASS ACT alert.

Condoleezza Rice should prepare herself, because the Republican Party in California has been comatose since Pete Wilson’s governorship. She’s just the woman who might bring it back. She’s an abortion rights advocate, incredibly adept, with her domestic passion education, which she calls the civil rights issue of our time. Who can argue with that?

As for her history with the Bush administration, it has been thoroughly vivisected around here, but I’m a liberal, and we’re talking about domestic politics. A Republican female who isn’t against women’s self-determination that brings game to the party.

It was a stunning performance by Rice, which was a perfect opener for Paul Ryan.

Text of Ms. Rice’s speech, with an excerpt below.

It has been hard to muster the resources to support fledgling democracies and to intervene on behalf of the most desperate. The AIDS orphans in Uganda, the refugee fleeing Zimbabwe, the young woman who has been trafficked into the sex trade in Southeast Asia. It has been hard, yet this assistance together with the compassionate work of private charities, people of conscience and people of faith, has shown the soul of
our country. And I know too — I know too there is a wariness. I know that it feels as if we have carried these burdens long enough. But we can only know that there is no choice, because one of two things will happen if we don’t lead. Either no one will lead and there will be chaos, or someone will fill the vacuum who does not share our values. My fellow Americans, we do not have a choice. We cannot be reluctant to lead and you cannot lead from behind.

[..] And your greatest ally in controlling your response to your circumstances has been a quality education. But today, today, when I can look at your zip code and I can tell whether you’re going to get a good education, can I honestly say it does not matter where you came from, it matters where you are going? The crisis in K-12 education is a threat to the very fabric of who we are.

My mom was a teacher. I respect the profession. We need great teachers, not poor ones and not mediocre ones. We have to have high standards for our kids, because self-esteem comes from achievement, not from lax standards and false praise.

And we need to give parents greater choice, particularly, particularly poor parents whose kids, very often minorities, are trapped in failing neighborhood schools. This is the civil rights issue of our day.

[..] And on a personal note, a little girl grows up in Jim Crow Birmingham. The segregated city of the south where her parents cannot take her to a movie theater or to restaurants, but they have convinced that even if she cannot have it hamburger at Woolworths, she can be the president of the United States if she wanted to be, and she becomes the secretary of state.

photo: Shutterstock