Last January, Condoleezza Rice sat down with a NYTimes reporter to talk, for the first time, about her job as National Security Adviser.
Near the end of the conversation, throughout which Rice seemed to swing between an aggressive and defensive stance, she offered an interesting metaphor about her role in the White House. She said she would look back on her job as that of a pianist in a chamber music group.
“The pianist is always facing the fact that this beast that is the grand piano can just overwhelm in sound and volume and drama any string, or all of the strings together,” she said. “So you want your playing to have personality, but you don’t want it to be front and center, overwhelming. It has to be part of the team.”
As someone as guarded and concerned with appearance as Ms. Rice is, the disclosures made by her former subordinate, Dick Clark, regarding the Bush Administration’s disregard for the terrorist threat, has obviously unleashed the beast.
Rice has been nowhere if not front and center the past few days, hardly able to contain her rage. Unfortunately, as she soaks up more and more television time, what is mostly coming across is that sound, volume and drama she typically works so hard to drown in personality.
…As for team play, I’m sure Dick Cheney (another grand piano) hit some interesting notes when Rice openly contradicted him in order to salvage her image.