The Initiation of Susan Rice

Thursday, 06 Dec 2012 03:48 PM

By Kathleen Parker

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
|  A   A  
  Copy Shortlink
A variety of insults have been deployed in opposition to Susan Rice's likely nomination for secretary of state: She is not qualified; she's too aggressive; she "misled" the public following the lethal attack on the American consulate in Libya.

Upon closer examination, however, the real reason may be less complicated. She's not a member of the most elite club in America, the U.S. Senate. Also, she appears to be President Obama's first choice.

As anyone with a television knows, Rice has come under fire by the new, revised Tres Amigos — Republican Sens. John McCain, Lindsey Graham, and Kelly Ayotte, plus Susan Collins of Maine.
 
All have expressed concerns about Rice's role in delivering the administration's explanation following the Benghazi attack, which initially was blamed on street protests over an anti-Muhammad video, but later confirmed as a terrorist attack.  
 
While Collins, who previously supported Rice, says she still has unanswered questions, McCain — whose understanding of qualified women candidates is legendary — has promised to block Rice's nomination. Graham, who most certainly will be "primaried" in the next election by South Carolinians who doubt his commitment to hard-right lunacy, followed suit, as did Ayotte.

Off somewhere letting her hair grow, Hillary Clinton knitted her brows and noted that Rice has been an excellent U.N. ambassador. Which is to say, she didn't exactly go to the mat for her female colleague, who had the audacity to support Obama for president rather than the former first lady.

In Ganglandia, it's the New Kids versus the Clinton Machine. How dare Rice, once a Clinton administration appointee, defect?

Clinton, a McCain buddy from their years in the Senate, reportedly prefers another Senate pal, John Kerry, as her successor. So does McCain & Co. And so, needless to say, does Kerry, whose chiseled jaw alone constitutes a diplomatic arsenal. There's clearly no profit in Clinton, a likely presidential candidate in 2016, alienating allies and devaluing her own currency for Rice.

Even so, the opposition's arguments are weak, chief among them that Rice isn't qualified. This from McCain, whose vetting history includes about 80 minutes of conversation with Sarah Palin before selecting her as his running mate in 2008. McCain's opinion about Rice's qualifications is only slightly less compelling than his thoughts on Playtex versus Spanx.

For the record, Rice is a graduate of Stanford University and a Rhodes Scholar, who served as the assistant secretary of state for African affairs. Even this is troubling to Collins, who said that the Benghazi attack "in many ways echoes the attacks on [U.S. embassies in Africa] in 1998 when Susan Rice was head of the African region."

Given this logic, shouldn't all eyes now be on Johnnie Carson? No, not the former "Tonight Show" host, Johnny Carson, but the current assistant secretary of African affairs. If Rice is somehow responsible for the 1998 attacks, shouldn't Carson be scrutinized for Benghazi?

Everybody brave enough to enter the public arena gets a few free passes when they utter something short of brilliant, but most of the criticisms aimed at Rice seem ungrounded in reality. To blame Rice for representing the administration's position as provided to her at the time is missing the target, which is properly the White House.

Does Rice have an aggressive personality, as some have said? And does this pose a risk in nominating her? Yes and yes. She notoriously once flipped the bird to diplomat Richard Holbrooke during a State Department meeting.

Such an impulsive act is no recommendation, but is it emblematic or merely anecdotal? Aggression — and even occasional rudeness — is rarely considered a flaw in men. And even aggressive men learn to temper their impulses as circumstances warrant. Thank goodness Rice didn't tell Holbrooke to go do that which one cannot do to oneself, as Dick Cheney once suggested to Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy. Or, heaven forbid, insist that we invade another country based on bad intelligence, as another Rice, who became secretary of state, once did.

The investigation into what transpired in Benghazi — bad things sometimes happen in dangerous places — is certainly appropriate. The administration's incoherent handling of information deserves scrutiny. But Rice, barring something we don't know, clearly has the qualifications for secretary of state.

And thoughtful Republicans might reconsider the image of white men ganging up on a highly qualified black woman as they ponder the reasons for their collapsing tent. The road to redemption ain't thataway.
 
Kathleen Parker's columns appear in more than 400 newspapers. She won the prestigious H.L. Mencken Writing Award in 1993. Read more reports from Kathleen Parker — Click Here Now.
 
 
 

© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Retype Email:
Country
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
 
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
Top Stories
You May Also Like

Solid Ground Game Beat Eric Cantor

Monday, 16 Jun 2014 13:33 PM

About that stunning defeat. Conventional Wisdom, that self-righteous propagandist, has it that Republican House Majority . . .

Gun Sales Need Sensible Scrutiny

Wednesday, 11 Jun 2014 09:30 AM

So much for the argument that having more people armed in public places will result in fewer gun deaths. One of the thre . . .

In Memory of Two Friends

Monday, 09 Jun 2014 07:13 AM

I had been friends with John Vasconcellos, the California legislator who was a weaver of big dreams and a lampoon target . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, NewsmaxWorld, NewsmaxHealth, are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved