Thursday, April 17, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Susan Rice whirlwind unnecessary

navarrette column sig

By
From page A11 | December 06, 2012 | 1 Comment

SAN DIEGO — Which political party is behaving worse with regard to the possible nomination of U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice to become secretary of state?

It’s a close call. Both Republicans and Democrats have embarrassed themselves where Rice is concerned.

First, the GOP is obviously struggling with a little misplaced frustration over the election that got away, and many lawmakers are channeling it toward Rice.

What seems to bother Republicans is not just that the attack on an American consulate in Benghazi, Libya, failed to gain traction during the final weeks of the campaign. It’s the lack of accountability on the part of the Obama administration.

They are understandably flummoxed that the White House did not pay a political price for its clumsy response to what we now know was a terrorist assault on Sept. 11. The attack – in which the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans were killed – was initially attributed to a spontaneous protest against an anti-Muslim YouTube video.

It would have been helpful to Republicans if the picture about what happened in Benghazi – and how badly the administration bungled its response – had come into focus before votes were cast. It didn’t work out that way, and the Democrats dodged a bullet.

Republicans have to blame someone. And that someone is Rice, who stands accused of acting as a mouthpiece for the White House and misrepresenting the facts when she appeared on five different Sunday morning talk shows on Sept. 16.

The maddening part is that Republicans are right about how poorly Rice handled those interviews. She should have simply said she didn’t know all the facts. Instead, she pushed the line about how this was a protest against a video. It’s also disconcerting that – as Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine said after meeting with the ambassador – Rice seems to have “decided to play what was essentially a political role at the height of a contentious presidential election campaign” by going on the shows to advance White House talking points.

Republicans are foolish to focus mainly on Rice, who really is little more than a bit player in the aftermath of the Benghazi attack. They should aim higher, and question the actions of the State Department, the CIA and the White House. Republicans have also lost sight of what’s really important in all this. And it’s not whether the administration was putting out the story about the video past the point where it knew this was actually a terrorist attack.

What really matters is whether the administration abandoned its own diplomats who were under siege at the U.S. Consulate for more than seven hours, and whether the White House failed to provide backup for two valiant former Navy SEALs who tried to render aid and managed to pull most of the diplomatic personnel to safety before being killed. Those are the questions that need answers, and Republicans need to avoid any distractions that lead them in another direction.

Meanwhile, Democrats need to avoid a messy fight over a Cabinet nomination when there are much bigger issues to deal with. This will surely be an uphill climb that wastes a lot of political capital. The controversy surrounding Rice and her comments on television raise questions about whether she is the most qualified choice to be America’s top diplomat. She has too much baggage.

Why wouldn’t Obama go with a more seasoned pick such as Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, who is known to covet the job and has the backing of key Republican senators?

The answer: stubbornness. In his first term, Obama was fond of reminding Republicans that he won an election and there were consequences. Now that he’s won another one, he once again has the opportunity to rub his opponents’ noses in their own defeat by nominating Rice over their objections.

The president is right that elections have consequences. This is his call. He has earned it. But he should use his power wisely. Picking a fight over Rice, just because he can, poisons his relationship with GOP lawmakers.

Nor is it wise, or in particularly good taste, for some of Rice’s defenders in Congress to accuse her detractors of racism and sexism. Those tactics smack of desperation, and they don’t help anyone – least of all Rice.

If he looked around, Obama would see that he has plenty of good choices for secretary of state. But Susan Rice isn’t one of them.

Ruben Navarrette is a columnist for U-T San Diego. Reach him at ruben@rubennavarrette.com.

Ruben Navarrette

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 1 comment

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • Paul OlsonDecember 06, 2012 - 6:07 am

    Of course the reason the GOP is pushing Kerry is because that would open up a senate seat and Tea Party Scott Brown would be the likely successor. An interesting move to block the GOP's scheme would be to nominate Jon Huntsman for Secretary of State. As former ambassador to China he would be qualified. And if he runs for president again, it would likely be an an independent.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

Solano News

Supervisor candidates square off at forum

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A1, 11 Comments | Gallery

 
Carli takes oath, now Vacaville’s 14th police chief

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Huge jump in Solano median home price

By Brad Stanhope | From Page: A1, 8 Comments | Gallery

 
Donate a car, help build a house

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3

 
Solano DA hosts workshop to fight human trafficking

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A3, 16 Comments | Gallery

Drugs topic of cardiac class

By Adrienne Harris | From Page: A4

 
Fairfield town hall on crime delayed

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A4, 12 Comments

 
Railway museum offers wine-tasting rides

By Adrienne Harris | From Page: A4

 
Suisun Police log: April 14, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
Weather for April 17, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: B12

Fairfield police log: April 15, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12, 1 Comment

 
Suisun City police log: April 15, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

Fairfield police log: April 14, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
.

US / World

Armed robber was never told to report to prison

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Lost sea lion in California found mile from water

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

Body of California man who jumped into river found

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

 
Seabird from Atlantic spotted on Alcatraz

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Ex-Bell city leader gets 12 years in prison

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

 
California delays decision on protecting gray wolf

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Court rules for environmentalists in water fight

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Governor calls special session on rainy day fund

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

NATO ups military presence amid Russian threat

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10, 1 Comment

 
Denver police eye 911 response time after killing

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10, 1 Comment

Man charged with marathon hoax is held on bail

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Geneva talks on Ukraine face steep hurdles

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Pro-Russian insurgents seize armored vehicles

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Ferry sinks off South Korea; 6 dead, 290 missing

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

.

Opinion

Obamacare news you probably missed

By Martin Schram | From Page: A11, 7 Comments

 
Editorial Cartoons for April 17, 2014

By Kim Durbin | From Page: A11

In support of Pam Bertani

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11, 12 Comments

 
Parenting demands responsibility

By Ruben Navarrette | From Page: A11, 2 Comments

 
.

Living

A lesson in household budgeting

By Chris Erskine | From Page: A2

 
Today in History for April 17, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Community Calendar: April 17, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
Horoscopes for April 17, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

 
.

Entertainment

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Daniel Radcliffe on why New York audiences rock

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Alicia Silverstone out with book ‘Kind Mama’

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Jenny McCarthy announces engagement on ‘The View’

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Ailing Malcolm Young taking break from AC/DC

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Disney Channel’s ‘Jessie’ breaks romantic ground

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

.

Sports

Crawford’s 41 points leads Warriors over Nuggets

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Vacaville’s Peralta to wrestle at San Francisco State

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B1

Angels beat A’s 5-4 on Iannetta’s HR in 12th

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
MEL, SCAC tangle in hoops all-star games

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B1

Sharks take goalie questions into rematch vs Kings

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Sidney Rice agrees to terms with Seahawks

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Goodwin helps Suns to 104-99 win over Kings in finale

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

IndyCar driver Saavedra fined $10K

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Sandoval’s single lifts Giants past Dodgers, 2-1

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Officer: Sharper’s DNA found on 1 Arizona victim

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Jets sign former Titans RB Chris Johnson

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Spieth ready for more after Masters success

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Backup QB Matt Flynn returns to Packers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Atlanta lands MLS expansion team for 2017

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Bucks owner Herb Kohl reaches deal to sell team

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
.

Business

Yellen: Fed stimulus still needed for job market

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Some exempted from minimum wage, increased or not

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

Fed survey: Growth picks up across most of US

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
Bank of America posts loss, hurt by legal charges

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

IBM posts lower 1Q earnings amid hardware slump

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
Google’s 1Q earnings disappoint as ad prices slip

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

.

Obituaries

.

Comics

B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9