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A Couple of Quick Comments on Rice

I will start off by saying that it is hardly a blow to the republic when any given person is not able to obtain a nomination and a confirmation to a given cabinet post.  Susan Rice is not the indispensable woman at State.  As such, on one level at least,  the announcement today that she has withdrawn herself from consideration is not really all that big of a deal.  This is not to say that she isn’t qualified—my general impression is that she is, but simply to say that there are other equally, perhaps better, qualified possibilities.  Indeed, I will say that a serious debate about her qualifications might very well convince me that she is not qualified (if only we were having such a debate ). However, I am generally of the opinion that president’s ought to be able to get whom they want for cabinet positions and that objections ought to be based on serious objections.  If the opposition to a given candidate has a serious objection, they should make it and then persuade a majority of the Senate to vote against.   Obstruction based on partisan point-scoring, however, should not be the way things work.

However, there has been no serious objections articulated about Susan Rice—certainly not of later.  Rather, the objections are all rooted in one set of Sunday morning appearances on TV talk shows in which she recounted information given to her by the CIA and vetted by the DNI.  This information did not lead to deaths or, really, any harm to Americans or to US national interests.  No, it just ends up that some of the information was incorrect.  I remain, as I have noted before, unpersuaded as to the grave seriousness of said utterances.  However, even if one finds them to be outrageous(!) it is still rather difficult to pin said outrage on Dr. Rice—and certainly not in a way that means she deserves the attacks that she has suffered nor that she should have to withdraw her name from the pool of potential nominees for SoS.

First, if uttering information that one believed to be correct on television that ended up being not true is a disqualifier, then the nominees for all future cabinet positions will have to be persons who have never been on television.

Second, this entire affair is another example of the fundamentally unserious nature of the Republican Party at the moment.  If one wants to make an argument against Rice’s qualifications, please do so.  But to pretend like what she did in those Sunday show appearances is disqualifying is utterly ridiculous and has no intellectual heft whatsoever.  Senator McCain in particular comes across as a naught but a grumpy old man in this episode.  Where is the reasoned argument on this issues?

Third, this all underscores the fundamentally flawed nature of the filibuster rules in the Senate.  A president whose party has a majority of seats in the US Senate ought to be in a position to get his cabinet nominees confirmed.  Again:  if there are serious objections founded in reason and evidence, then make the case.  Being grumpy and creating faux scandals (and pegging that scandal simply on someone who made a serious of TV appearances on one morning) is not the behavior of serious people.  It is, instead, the behavior of the petty and childish.  Governing is important, and it would be nice if those elected to high office treated it as such.  There is not justification for a minority of the chamber to be able to control the makeup of the president’s cabinet.  It serves no fundamental democratic nor constitution purpose.  It is a fluke of the development of the rules of the chamber and nothing more.

It all seems to boil down to Benghazi!  Well, just because, that’s why. (Has anyone yet articulated what the exact harm is supposed to have been because of the way the story was initially handled?  Certainly I have not seen anything of this nature.  However, Benghazi!!).

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About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is Professor and Chair of Political Science at Troy University. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. He is the author of Voting Amid Violence: Electoral Democracy in Colombia and is currently working on a comparative study of the US to 29 other democracies. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging at PoliBlog since 2003. Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. As I have said more than once, my problems with Susan Rice revolve around her support for the flawed and mistaken “Responsibility To Protect” Doctrine, and her involvement in the decision to intervene in the Libyan Civil War without seeking Congressional approval.

    I’ve always considered those to be far more important issues than the fact that she was sent out as the sacrificial lamb on the Sunday morning news shows back in September.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 4

  2. Ron Beasley says:

    @Doug Mataconis: One of those rare times we agree Doug. In addition she does not appear to be very “diplomatic”.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  3. @Ron Beasley:

    That is why I think she would have been inappropriate for the position in any event. Thought I disagree with him in many respects, I think Senator Kerry would be far better at the diplomacy part of the job of being Secretary Of State.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  4. @Doug Mataconis: I would have no problem with a debate of that nature, to be sure.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  5. Argon says:

    Here’s the rub: The ‘moderates’ of the GOP from New England were right behind McTemper and helped fuel the media circus. I do hope their behavior finally leads to the last of the GOP Senators in the northeast.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  6. Console says:

    I don’t think she should have been nominated in the first place. I’m sad to say that because she is ridiculously qualified and what the hell does Bengahzi have to do with the UN ambassador? Because she said some talking points on a sunday morning show? But she was not a hill to die on.

    But at the same time, I’m not all that heartbroken over that because in all reality she is just another establishment clinton retread. I’m not so enamored with our foreign policy that I’m willing to fight for the status quo. So basically what Doug said except I don’t think Susan Rice is exceptional in that regard, just a representative of the DC consensus on foreign policy.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  7. stonetools says:

    The Republicans were just being assholes who victimized her as being the most vulnerable person in this BENGHAZI! faux scandal. I think the Republican scheme is to get the Administration to nominate Kerry, thus opening up another Senate spot to defend. I hope it fails.
    Ms. Rice has the disadvantages of being female, black, and the low person on the totem pole. Had Clinton been available to testify, there would been ZERO scandal. Frankly, what Obama should have done was to order the intelligence guys Clapper and Petreus to “eat their own dog food” and defend their own talking points. Does anyone think that Grandpa Walnuts and Mr. Southern Drama Queen would be pulling these shenanigans against Clapper and Petreus ?

    The good thing is Ms. Rice is still relatively young ( 48) and can try for SoS in a later Democratic Administration , if that’s her wish.Maybe she can learn to be softer and more deferential since people keep saying she is too undiplomatic-although I’ve never heard this criticism leveled at any white male SoS.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  8. michael reynolds says:

    Hillary Clinton is getting ready to testify and present the findings of the Benghazi report. This is clearing the brush.

    I don’t have a dog in this fight, I don’t know if Ms. Rice would have been a good SoS or not.

    What I do know is that Benghazi was a sideshow, an irrelevancy in the history of a superpower. It was blown up by a bitter old man and his South Carolina bootlick out of personal pique, vanity and petulance. It adds to the poisonously bitter atmosphere in Washington and adds nothing good to matters of national security.

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  9. Jeremy R says:

    @stonetools:

    The Republicans were just being assholes who victimized her as being the most vulnerable person in this BENGHAZI! faux scandal.

    Ms. Rice has the disadvantages of being female, black, and the low person on the totem pole.

    Also, her current position as U.N. Ambassador made her a target of opportunity for the GOP as well. She has to maintain some degree of non-partisanship and be above the political fray for the sake of doing her job, so she was never going to be able to mount the sort of outraged & forceful response the attacks on her character demanded.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  10. Jeremy R says:

    A Micah Zenko (of the Council on Foreign Relations) tweets I liked on this topic:

    https://twitter.com/MicahZenko/status/279333151686402048

    If reading IC-cleared talking points leads to this, prepare for USG officials being less willing to talk + more vague if they do.

    https://twitter.com/MicahZenko/status/279338593628065793

    Wasn’t Rice’s job to vet IC-cleared talking points, or come up w/ her own intel assessment of Benghazi. That’s Cheney-land.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  11. Herb says:

    Has anyone yet articulated what the exact harm is supposed to have been because of the way the story was initially handled?

    Well, they thought it would damage Obama and help Romney. “Damage Obama” explains this pretty well.

    (And sorry, Doug, but I don’t think your objections are very sound. “Responsibility to Protect” and the Libya decision are Obama’s policies. Object to them if you want, but “She supports the president’s policies” is not a valid reason to oppose her nomination to his cabinet unless you’re willing to admit to just being an obstructionist.)

    @Console:
    Also….”I don’t think she should have been nominated in the first place.”

    She wasn’t nominated. Hillary Clinton is still in the job and has not yet resigned, although everyone expects her to, and until this announcement, everyone expected Rice to be nominated. But she wasn’t….not yet.

    So while I’m sure a lot of Republicans (as well as their low-information Fox-stunted supporters) are patting themselves on the back for killing her nomination, all they actually did was create such a toxic situation that the nomination never occurred.

    Good job, guys!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  12. Scott O says:

    Maybe we’ve never heard what the harm was from the way the Benghazi story was initially handed but we now know that it was 10 times worse than Watergate and Iran-Contra combined.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  13. Dazedandconfused says:

    @michael reynolds:

    It appears that it’s about Benghazi on the surface, but Rice made a LOT of enemies.

    http://www.columbian.com/news/2012/nov/17/sorry-obama-but-rice-ill-suited-to-replace-clinton/?print

    The McCain’s really believe in this save the world stuff. I recall Cindy doing a trip to Rwanda just a couple weeks into the slaughter. Ideologically, Rice is exactly the sort of person they would like. However say things like “strolling around in a flak jacket” to people like John, did time in the Hanoi Hilton and will travel to the worlds most dangerous places. You just don’t do that.

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  14. MarkedMan says:

    I don’t think it is any accident that Rice was black woman. Not only is it safe for a Republican to attack a black woman, but it actually stokes the ‘roids in their base.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 4

  15. Lightwave says:

    @MarkedMan:

    Funny how the mainstream press completely refuses to consider the fact that it was Hillary Clinton and the greens on the left who scuttled Rice over her lack of qualifications and her investments in Canadian oil firms.

    Doesn’t that make Hillary and Co. the real “racists” in this picture? I wonder what African-American voters are going to do in 2014 and 2016 as a result?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 15

  16. superdestroyer says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Do you really think that the public would have been interested in a discussion of the war power act or on what progressives believe can be preemptive war in the name of humanitarian response? When everything discussed in the media needs to fit into a 10 second sound bite, Ms. Rice made the mistake of doing something stupid that fits into a sound bite.

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  17. Brummagem Joe says:

    Absolutely agree with you Steven. This was an entirely phony controversy where she was almost by accident the messenger because she was the second ranking US diplomat. Under other circumstances Hillary would have been the messenger. Ultimately it was just one tactical element in the Republican strategy to try and turn the incident in Benghazi into some sort of scandal. It’s completely failed because there was no scandal involving the admin just as there was no scandal involving the admin in the fast and furious nonsense and that has gone nowhere either. The involvement of McCain and Graham in this is indicative of just how totally without integrity they really are. Essentially senate versions of that slimeball Issa. I can think of no greater condemnation. One can only hope that Obama gives the finger to these mediocrities by appointing her to another senior post in his admin like NSA which doesn’t require senate confirmation.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  18. Rob in CT says:

    My issue with Rice is exactly the same as Doug’s: R2P, which I think is dangerous. So I’m not fretting b/c she isn’t going to be SoS. Of course, if Obama wanted her, that means he’s fine with R2P, so it’s unclear that the eventual nominee will be better on that score.

    There were also lefty objections to Rice over her oil investments (I found those odd, myself, but whatevs). That didn’t help.

    As for the rest, well… yeah. She went out and said what the CIA told her to say. The GOP wanted a scalp and got one. Shrug.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  19. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Just to repeat what I said at JJ’s post, if I had a nickel for every lie a politician told, I could retire the US Gov. debt. That includes John McCain and his sidekick Lindsey Graham.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  20. john personna says:

    I think opposition to Rice is simply sour grapes that she and Obama won. She is associated with what winguts wish was a pivotal moment in the campaign, but with sputtered. She is a painful reminder of wingnut failure.

    Now on R2P, the converse is that “genocide is a purely internal matter.” I think it’s politicking to get panties bunched about the policy, while also believing that genocide should be prevented, when possible. I mean, “we can’t stop a Holocaust because that would be R2P!” Serious?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  21. MarkedMan says:

    @Lightwave: Lightwave, so what you’re saying is that Hillary Clinton make the Repubs act like D*uchebags? ooookay then.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  22. john personna says:

    I don’t find this so frightening:

    If the state fails to protect its citizens from mass atrocities and peaceful measures have failed, the international community has the responsibility to intervene through coercive measures such as economic sanctions. Military intervention is considered the last resort.

    This does not demand intervention. It demands economic sanctions. Military action still has, even with the doctrine, a higher bar to pass.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  23. Jeff says:

    Bret Stephens has had two columns in the WSJ recently about Rice’s work in Africa in the late ’90′s which were less than complimentary. Do those qualify as “serious” arguments?

    “Partisan point-scoring” is in the eye of the beholder, I guess.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  24. Septimius says:

    Third, this all underscores the fundamentally flawed nature of the filibuster rules in the Senate. A president whose party has a majority of seats in the US Senate ought to be in a position to get his cabinet nominees confirmed.

    Dr. Steven L. Taylor, 12/13/2012

    Beyond the current election, the Senate has built-in powers given to the minority party. This is not unreasonable, given that a given majority may not actually represent a majority of citizens. As such, there are solid democratic (notice the small “d”) reasons to give the minority in the Senate certain protections. I sometimes get the impression that some would like to do away with the advise and consent power of the Senate.

    Dr. Steven L. Taylor, 11/14/2006

    I wonder what could have changed…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  25. An Interested Party says:

    I wonder what African-American voters are going to do in 2014 and 2016 as a result?

    Considering their alternative is to vote for Republicans, they will continue to vote for Democrats at a 90% plus rate…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  26. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Jeff:

    I suppose this depends on whether columns by Brett Stephens in the WSJ oped page are to be regarded as anything other than the most extreme partisan shilling. They’re a foreign policy version of Stephen Moore’s economic pontificating.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  27. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Dazedandconfused:

    It appears that it’s about Benghazi on the surface, but Rice made a LOT of enemies.

    I’ve now had minute to read this. What Millbank’s “evidence” amounts to is criticism of Hillary during the 2008 presidential primaries when Rice was Obama’s foreign policy guru; flipping the finger at Holbrooke who was a notorious bully and shouter of obscenities; dismissing McCain as a posturing old fart; criticising some obscure aspect of Dubya’s foreign policy which allegedly upset the Europeans (no actual citations); and some criticism of Rice in the Russian newspaper Kommersant. Definitely incontrovertible prima facie evidence that would get her convicted in any court in the land. The land of course would be Stalinist Russia…..LOL

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  28. Rob in CT says:

    I mean, “we can’t stop a Holocaust because that would be R2P!” Serious?

    I’m not an absolutist. But I set the bar really, really high. Like holocaust high. I think “R2P” is the sort of thing that pushes the bar down much lower, and thus I am deeply suspicious of it.

    I wonder what could have changed…

    The sheer frequency of use of it. If GOP use of the filibuster was at Bush-era Dem levels, a lot less would have been blocked, and there would be a lot less complaining (though certainly not none).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  29. C. Clavin says:

    I think the fact that McCain and Graham can torpedo this woman’s chances before she was even nominated…when they are both guilty of far more grevious examples of the same type of thing…is just flat out stupid. But more than anything it’s an indicator of the quality of today’s journalism stenography.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  30. john personna says:

    @Rob in CT:

    The moral calculus should not require millions of deaths. It should be about some number of thousands, and then cost analysis. The framework seems defined for that conversation, rather than as a blank check.

    Opponents seek to preclude the conversation?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  31. mattb says:

    @Septimius:

    I wonder what could have changed…

    More like selective quoting. Steven has been critiquing the current implementation of the filibuster for as long as I’ve been reading OTB. And advocating for filibuster reform is in no way an argument for “do[ing] away with the advise and consent power of the Senate.”

    Or put a different way, please explain how Steven’s two statements are in opposition instead of just making a snarky remark.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  32. mattb says:

    @john personna:

    Now on R2P, the converse is that “genocide is a purely internal matter.” I think it’s politicking to get panties bunched about the policy, while also believing that genocide should be prevented, when possible. I mean, “we can’t stop a Holocaust because that would be R2P!” Serious?

    The fact is, for better or worse, the US has over the years avoiding taking direct military action to stop numerous acts of genocide.

    And like it or not, the only reason that the US acted to “stop the Holocaust” was that we were already engaged in a war with Germany. And we got into that war for a number of reasons that had little to do with Hitler’s acts of ethnic cleansing.

    The problem that we face is that most of the areas where genocide take place are regions with limited governing infrastructure. And all too often, the only way to stop a genocide is to essentially remove what little government there is already in place. In other words, to become an occupying force.

    And as we’ve seen, that always goes so well.

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  33. Andre Kenji says:

    I think that Susan Rice´s interviews on the Sunday Morning Shows are a good reason to oppose her nomination. She sounds the standard Susan Rice – abrasive and extremely aggressive. It was horrible.

    And I´m not a sympathetic to the Republicans, in any sense.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 3

  34. Rafer Janders says:

    @mattb:

    And we got into that war for a number of reasons that had little to do with Hitler’s acts of ethnic cleansing.

    Mainly that Germany declared war on the US after the Pearl Harbor attacks.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  35. stonetools says:

    @Andre Kenji:

    Well I didn’t see those interviews but an awful lot of the comments about temperament sounds to me like “uppity black woman who doesn’t know her place”. I don’t remember any one saying that a Henry Kissinger or a Warren Christopher or even a Madeline Allbright should be demure and deferential when appearing on TV. Indeed, Madeline Allbright thinks she was railroaded and would have done just fine.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  36. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Andre Kenji:

    It was horrible.

    You obviously like the submissive type of woman. She looked just like my kinda gal. Intelligent, street smart, assured, to the point but polite, knew her shit and wasn’t going to take any from some journalist. No this is not a woman who simpers but then I don’t think Hillary does either……or Angela Merkel, Indira Ghandi, Golda Meir, Margaret Thatcher et al for that matter.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  37. Jeff says:

    I suppose this depends on whether columns by Brett Stephens in the WSJ oped page are to be regarded as anything other than the most extreme partisan shilling.

    Do you have any specific objections to what Stephens wrote, or do you believe it’s enough to say that Stephens is a partisan, apparently of the wrong kind, so anything he says should be dismissed outright?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  38. @Septimius:

    I wonder what could have changed…

    Well, I don’t have time to get too lengthy on this, but here’s a quick-ish response.

    1. You think you have discovered some partisan-based bias here. However, you are assuming some constancy of my partisan and electoral preferences over the last six years. You would be rather wrong in that assumption.

    2. In truth, however, you are noting a change in views to some degree. I have increasingly become quite frustrated with the Senate’s rules, and this is the result of a) writing and thinking about these issues in public for almost a decade, and b) co-authoring a book on comparative democratic institutions. Intellectual rumination often leads to the changing of minds.

    3. Having said that: the Bolton case was different from the Rice case in the rather important sense that opposition to Bolton was not based on one weekend’s worth of TV show appearances. I am, ultimately, calling here for an actually argument from the Republicans in the Senate about Rice, rather than a faux controversy (this seems reasonable).

    4. I would also note (and this links back to #2), the filibuster has been increasingly abused in the Senate and rather than being a mechanism for extraordinary circumstances and nominations, it has become the norm. This is a ridiculous evolution that I was not as obvious in 2006 as it is now.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  39. Septimius says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    1. Are you seriously arguing that becoming more liberal/Democrat over the last 6 years means that you aren’t displaying a partisan bias? That seems like rather absurd logic.

    2. It’s quite convenient that your “intellectual rumination” has led to a changing of mind on the issue of the filibuster that benefits your preferred political party. However, I take you at your word.

    3. Democratic opposition to Bolton is actually remarkably similar to Republican opposition to Rice. Both were accused of being brusque and lacking the temperment for diplomacy. Both were accused of making false statements. Numerous columnists and even Democrats have criticized Rice. It’s not just partisan Republican Senators.

    4. This talking point that the filibuster has been increasingly abused since Republicans became the minority is nonsense. A. An increasingly used filibuster is not necessarily an abused filibuster. When the Democrat majority changes Senate rules to restrict Republicans from offering amendments on legislation (as they did), of course you will see an increase in the filibuster. B. You have a selective memory of how the Democrats used the filibuster from 2001-2007. They filibustered judges based solely upon race and gender. There was no scandal, no lies/misrepresentations on Sunday morning talk shows, no issues with temperment. Just well qualified judges that were too conservative or posed political problems for Democrats because of their race/gender.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  40. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @MarkedMan: I don’t think it is any accident that Rice was black woman. Not only is it safe for a Republican to attack a black woman, but it actually stokes the ‘roids in their base.

    I was wondering who’d make this incredibly stupid assertion. Marked, let me school you: this is how you make a racist, sexist attack on a black woman named Rice.

    She was taken out of consideration for a very simple reason: every time she spoke in the future, people would be asking “is she speaking the truth, or is she just lending her name and credibility to lies and spin again?”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  41. @Septimius:

    1. Your original intimation was quite clearly that I was a partisan Democrat then and now and that the things that are currently different at the party of the minority and the party of the president. You simply don’t know what you are talking about.

    2. “It’s quite convenient that your “intellectual rumination” has led to a changing of mind on the issue of the filibuster that benefits your preferred political party. ” Only an ideologue thinks that a) all positions are the result of partisan preferences, and b) that thoughtful consideration can’t change minds. I have been writing about the Senate and the filibuster for some time now, btw, if you have been paying attention.

    3. At the moment the most significant criticism being leveled at Rice are all about Benghazi and those criticism are the reason for the withdrawal, not some columns and whatnote.

    4. I suggest you check out the political science literature on this subject. Gregory Koger’s book would be a good place to start.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  42. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Jeff:

    You’d have specify precisely what he said but as a general rule anything Stephens says about foreign policy can be treated with the same seriousness as anything Dick Morris might say about elections.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  43. Dazedandconfused says:

    @Brummagem Joe:

    I’ve now had minute to read this. What Millbank’s “evidence” amounts to is criticism of Hillary during the 2008 presidential primaries when Rice was Obama’s foreign policy guru; flipping the finger at Holbrooke who was a notorious bully and shouter of obscenities; dismissing McCain as a posturing old fart; criticising some obscure aspect of Dubya’s foreign policy which allegedly upset the Europeans (no actual citations); and some criticism of Rice in the Russian newspaper Kommersant. Definitely incontrovertible prima facie evidence that would get her convicted in any court in the land. The land of course would be Stalinist Russia…..LOL

    In Russia, job select you.

    Job interviews tend to be quite arbitrary, especially for jobs like that. Dismissing a “posturing old fart” who is a war hero was unnecessary, undiplomatic, and un-smart. They say she got snippy in the last meeting with one of her patrons, the Senator from Maine. I’m not worried about her as she is young and dedicated and sharp as a tack.

    This will be forgotten.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  44. Ben Wolf says:

    @Andre Kenji: Her aggression and arrogance go hand in hand with her cheerleading for the invasion of Iraq, which so many “Democrats” have conveniently forgotten. Had Susan Rice been a Republican that alone would have disqualified her.

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  45. Ben Wolf says:

    Indeed, I will say that a serious debate about her qualifications might very well convince me that she is not qualified (if only we were having such a debate ). However, I am generally of the opinion that president’s ought to be able to get whom they want for cabinet positions and that objections ought to be based on serious objections. If the opposition to a given candidate has a serious objection, they should make it and then persuade a majority of the Senate to vote against.

    This misses the point. Had Benghazi not been an issue for Republicans, Rice’s record would never have even been discussed during confirmation hearings. Her failures would not have been publicized, nor her warmongering, nor her conflicts of interest, nor her close personal ties to tyrants around the world. There was zero chance for any sort of real discussion on this because the woman is a picture-perfect Foreign Policy Insider.

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  46. @Ben Wolf: Granted, I have been exceptionally busy the last two weeks. but I have not seen these arguments as the basis for her withdrawal. I somehow doubt that that is what is motivating McCain and Graham, for example (indeed, I am certain of it).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  47. al-Ameda says:

    This is all part of the kabuki that is Washington. Susan Rice was trotted out there by the Administration and told what to say with respect to the attack in Benghazi, and she did as ordered.

    This is not at all similar to the up-front lying that Dick Cheney, Don Rumsfeld and Condi Rice did when they used the “mushroom cloud” talking point to justify a second War in Iraq. Republicans did not care about those lies and misrepresentations.

    Again, it’s kabuki as usual in DC.

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  48. al-Ameda says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    She was taken out of consideration for a very simple reason: every time she spoke in the future, people would be asking “is she speaking the truth, or is she just lending her name and credibility to lies and spin again?”

    …. As when Don Rumsfeld, Condi Rice and Dick Cheney all went on the Sunday talks shows in September 2002, and repeated the lie that “there will always be some uncertainty” in determining how close Iraq may be to obtaining a nuclear weapon but said, “We don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud.”

    What Susan Rice did is nowhere near that level of deceit and prevarication. This is all about the Republican Party continuing it’s post-election temper tantrum because it was unable to turn Benghazi into a cause to oust Obama.

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  49. Ben Wolf says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: I’m not saying those things were the basis for her withdrawal, I’m saying they would never have come to light anyway. I agree wholeheartedly this Benghazi episode has been a farce, a ridiculous reason to disqualify this woman. But the real reasons she’d make a bad Secretary of State wouldn’t have been part of the discussion had Benghazi never been an issue, because those reasons are why she’s popular with the foreign policy establishment,

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  50. Barry says:

    @Doug Mataconis: “As I have said more than once, my problems with Susan Rice revolve around her support for the flawed and mistaken “Responsibility To Protect” Doctrine, and her involvement in the decision to intervene in the Libyan Civil War without seeking Congressional approval. ”

    And the leading GOP (well, sheiskopfs) opposing her, McCain and Graham, have yet to meet a war they don’t love.

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  51. Dazedandconfused says:

    @Barry:

    That’s the disconnect I was referring to as well. R2P is essentially “McCain Lite”. They were totally on the same side during the run-up to Libya.

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  52. Barry says:

    @Doug Mataconis: “As I have said more than once, my problems with Susan Rice revolve around her support for the flawed and mistaken “Responsibility To Protect” Doctrine, and her involvement in the decision to intervene in the Libyan Civil War without seeking Congressional approval. ”

    The problem here, Doug, is that her position on those issues put her squarely in the ‘mainstream’ of elite thought, and are favored positions of the right and the GOP.

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