2007: Awkwardest Condiyear EVER
Each week, veteran Condiwatcher Peter Huestis (also known as Princess Sparkle Pony) provides a summary of the searing wit and infinite wisdom of America's Favorite Princess Diplomat™!
Listicles, of course, are the year-end gift writers give themselves. But you know what? It's been such a peculiar year for the Condibot that it would be totally criminal not to look back and reflect on its thrilling awkwardness. Join me on an epic journey through my personal (hey, get your own column!) favorite special moments in Dr. Ferragamo's 2007, and my picks for AP's Condirazzi photos of the year, after the jump...
Let's get to the meat of the matter right away, because Condiyear '07 got off to an immediately auspicious start on January 17 when, upon her arrival in Berlin, a momentary gust of wind surprised Madame Secretary and was immortalized by AP snapper Marcus Schreiber. The moment I saw it, I knew the contest was over and that this photo would never be surpassed:
*Ahem* That out of the way, let's proceed. Probably the most uncomfortable thing about January was not Iraq (Iraq never seemed to bother Condi much in 2007) but Hugo Chávez: "Go to hell, gringos! Go home!...What does the empire want?" The fiery little jump-up-and-downer knew: "Condoleezza said it. How are you? You've forgotten me, missy...Condoleezza said it clearly, it's about creating a new geopolitical map in the Middle East...They took out Saddam Hussein and they hung him, for better or worse. It's not up to me to judge any government, but that gentleman was the president of that country." Well, yeah, whatever, but missy? You called Condi missy?
The Condiyear got back on track when, almost as if the Condiverse were correcting itself, nutty Italian designer Gattinoni presented to the world, on January 28, the Condidress (AP Photo/Riccardo De Luca):
In February, Madame Secretary got her whole Olmert 'n' Abbas photo op in the can, and totally, you know, yay for you, Condi! Little did she know that this was as good as it was going to get. The newly emboldened and recharged diplamazon, however is clearly shown on February 21 in my next favorite AP pic of the year, this one from Jan Bauer in Berlin. Condoleezza Rice, 007, Licensed to Thrill
March was mainly noteworthy for Her Condiness appearing in a music video for Brasil as a background dancer with Laura Bush. No, really. In April, at the NATO meetup of foreign ministers, AP's Yves Logghe captured this not-at-all forced looking grin:
In May, La Secretary got to go to the Crawford Ranch, and there she wore atrocious Chanel sunglasses and got stuck in a cactus patch. Later in the month, she participated in one of the most puzzling and apparently random photo-ops of the year when she appeared as a test passenger in a Tesla electric car, the development of which will surely be ultimately thwarted by her pals in the oil industry. If the electricity folks want to really impress Condi, they're going to have to take a tip from Texaco and start naming power stations after her. I didn't see any explanations as to how Condi wandered into this incongruous publicity stunt.
In June, Our Heroine gave an "exclusive" interview with the Associated Press. At one point, the plucky State Department spokesmodel gave away her whole game by giving the ASL sign for lesbian:
July was supposed to be the month that Condi turned her ever-fractured attention span to Africa, but alas, that trip got canceled. She also had to endure a photo-op with Joe Biden, seen here. Finally, it was a month of travel with excursions to Jordan, Saudi Arabia and, of course, Camp David. Here's my favorite snap from July, where AP Condirazzi Pablo Martinez Monsivais catches her looking left out and left over in the White House after her Africa thingy got axed:
August was when things started to heat up in the Condiography book race, and everybody was looking forward to Glenn Kessler's The Confidante to be first out of the gate in September. But Rush and Molloy revealed what turned out to be the only fun part of the book a month early, when we learned that La Rice yelled at insolent shop girls like a rich lady should, and that her ass was capable of deflecting quarters like maybe a rich lady shouldn't. Thanks R&M for extracting those choice bits so that we didn't have to slog through Kessler's entire wearisome tome.
September was super funny because it was snub month! It started off with the Aussie's disinclination to allow Condi to turn their security measures upside down to accommodate a simple game of golf, but then before you knew it, everybody was jumping on the Let's Exclude Condi express. Next, it was the Pope's turn to embarrass when Harper's revealed that he had rebuffed several requests for an audience with Our Lady of the Prada Slingbacks. Finally, and perhaps most cruelly, came a humiliating episode in which Condi decided to unwind on a few Sunday morning TV shows, only to be turned away by both Face the Press and Meet the Nation (whatever. Can you tell them apart?). "I expected we'd just get a repetition of the administration's talking points, which had already been well circulated," sneered haughty Bob Shieffer. Oh, snap! It's no wonder that by the end of the month, AP's Susan Walsh was catching her getting lost in dreamland as she accepted cuddles 'n' kisses from the French foreign minister. Aw, that's better:
October was a funny month in Condiland, and perhaps it was helpful for George Bush to remind her of her place in the food chain: "I always tell Condi Rice, 'I want to remind you, Madam Secretary, who has the Ph.D. and who was the C student. And I want to remind you who the adviser is and who the president is.'" Well, OK! Meanwhile, you'd think people would be impressed that she went to the Middle East and talked to all sorts of people, but no: the Condisphere was all ababble about some red dress bought for her by some teabag. Look, if Madame Secretary can't be glamorous, who's going to listen to her? And then, speaking of red, there was this, caught by AP's Charles Dharapak:
October was Annapolis Peacestravaganza month! You don't really need Wonkette to summarize this photo-op, do you? Good. It was also the month where Turkish children threw sharp objects at custom-made Condi dartboards and the Bush Administration welcomed their new BFF, Sarkozy with a big party, and Our Heroine totally got to go! Unhappier times included saying goodbye to galpal Karen Hughes and something about some company called Blackwater. It was also the month when we were all on pins 'n' needles waiting for Elizabeth Bumiller's big Condiography, An American Life, and got to hear about the funniest part, via Maureen Dowd's column, where Madame Fitness found out about Hamas winning the Palestinian elections on a news-crawl while Condicising. Meanwhile, elsewhere at the New York Times, the paper's mean-spirited caricature artists were evaluating the Condilegacy in their own special way. My favorite AP photo from November, taken by Haraz N. Ghanbari, shows the secretary of state in another one of those bewilderingly random photo-ops, this time planting a tree with (of all people) Lurita Doan. Cynics may say she had better things to do:
And that brings us to December, the final lurching step of a very awkward year, indeed, for our favorite gal! I'm glad new pal Sarkozy was around to give her lots of cuddles 'n' hugs, because 2007 might have been Condi's most uncomfortable EVER and it wasn't getting any better as all that NIE stuff hit the fan. Bumiller's book came out, and we all discovered that Maureen Dowd had already leaked the funniest part just as Rush and Molloy had earlier conveniently summarized Glenn Kessler's best bits. Finally, after a brief respite celebrating Jesus' birth and baking Condoleezza gingerbread cookies, Madame Secretary's year ended on a real downer when her best girlfriend in Pakistan got offed and some people had the nerve to say Condi could have done more to protect her! Oh, sure, Mr. Hindsight!
"Hindsight" makes me think of "reflection", something Condi has repeatedly claimed she doesn't like to do, and that brings me to my last favorite AP photo of the year, taken December 12 by Pablo Martinez Monsivais. Here, at last, is Condoleezza Rice reflecting on herself:
Ouch, that looks like it totally hurts.
Whew! OK, so that's my perspective on the old Condiyear. What will 2008 bring? Will Condi be secretary of state for a whole twelve months? Will she still be Forbes' most eligible bachelorette in Washington? More importantly, will she experiment with her hair? Stay tuned!
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