Jay Cost has a good piece at RealClearPolitics on why Condoleezza Rice will not be running for President in 2008:
A long time ago, State was almost a prerequisite for the White House. Six of our first fifteen presidents â€“ Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, John Quincy Adams, Martin Van Buren and James Buchanan â€“ served as Secretary of State prior to election to the White House. What is more, there is a long list of presidential candidates who served in the same capacity, either before or (mostly) after their White House run â€“ notably Henry Clay, John Calhoun, William Jennings Bryan, Charles Evans Hughes and Alexander Haig. That office remains one of the preeminent political positions in this country. Of this there is no doubt.
However, it has not been a step to the presidency in 150 years. Zero of our last twenty-seven presidents have been Secretary of State. And the number of secretaries-turned-candidates has also been few and far between. Since Buchanan, only one person, James G. Blaine, has received a presidential nomination after having served as Secretary of State. The rest, like Bryan and Hughes, sought the presidency and lost â€“ and were subsequently honored by a victorious president of their party with the post. This seems counterintuitive. After all, this position has very frequently been filled by individuals of immense talent and intelligence. Why has the American public not made use of this resource? The answer has to do with matters of politics, rather than matters of governance.
Cost does an excellent job of explaining the political realities of being Secretary of State and why it’s not a suitable launching pad for the Presidency. Granted, Dr. Rice is in a better position than most Secretaries of State, but when she says she isn’t running, she isn’t running. A Presidential run requires months of prior planning, and Dr. Rice seems to have no interest in that sort of groundwork – she’s too busy doing her job.
As much as a Condi vs. Hillary match would be every pundit’s wet dream and tickles Dick Morris like a DC call-girl’s tongue, it just isn’t going to happen. Dr. Rice, much to her credit, seems to have no designs on higher political power and is concentrating on performing the duties of her office.
Then again, perhaps that explains why so many people would like her to run…