Treating Condoleezza Rice as an individual

Andrew Sullivan thinks the Left should be paying tribute to President Bush for nominating Condoleezza Rice as the first female African-American secretary of state.

Why does Bush get no respect on this score? I guess it reveals that much of the left’s diversity mania is about the upholding of a certain political ideology, rather than ethnic or gender variety itself. Depressing.

Depressing? I’ve kicked leftists around the cyber-block more than a few times myself, but for failure to ooh-and-ahh over the Rice nomination? Why?

Explaining in 2000 her decision to become a Republican, Rice said, “I found a party that sees me as an individual, not as part of a group.”

So why not treat Rice as an individual when assessing the appointment? Here’s one assessment from Fred Kaplan at Slate:

In her four years as national security adviser, Rice has displayed no imagination as a foreign-policy thinker. She was terrible—one of the worst national security advisers ever—as a coordinator of policy advice. And to the extent she found herself engaged in bureaucratic warfare, she was almost always outgunned by Vice President Dick Cheney or Rumsfeld. Last year, for instance, the White House issued a directive putting her in charge of policy on Iraqi reconstruction; the directive was ignored. If Rumsfeld and his E-Ring gang survive the Cabinet shake-up, Rice may wind up every bit as flummoxed as her predecessor.

Not once does Kaplan refer to Rice’s race or gender. If we take her at her word, I suspect she wouldn’t want it any other way. Why, then, does Sullivan insist on criticizing leftists for failing to do what Rice implicitly criticized them for doing?