Sunday, April 19, 2015
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Susan Rice whirlwind unnecessary

navarrette column sig

By
From page A11 | December 06, 2012 |

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 [email protected]

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

Waiting game: Woman, toddler hope for kidney transplants

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: C1, 2 Comments | Gallery

 
Tiny twins call Heather House their 1st home

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A1, 37 Comments | Gallery

Solano ranks last in Bay Area for health

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A1, 2 Comments | Gallery

 
SID to consider water rate hikes

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A1

 
 
City announces Browns Valley Road closures

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A3

Healthier Living program begins mid-May

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A3

 
Bachelor party turns into community event

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3, 2 Comments | Gallery

Il Fiorello serves up chocolate desserts

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Coping with seasonal allergies

By Emerita Brigino-Buenaventura, M.d | From Page: C4

When to throw in the towel on sickly plants

By Karen Metz | From Page: C4

 
Church hosts health, wellness fair

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A5 | Gallery

Solano superhero back in school

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A5

 
Weather for Sunday, April 19, 2015

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B6

Home, garden show offers something for everyone

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A6 | Gallery

 
2 nations at center of market drop

By Bud Stevenson | From Page: B7

Vanden robotics team ready to compete in world championships

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A7 | Gallery

 
Fairfield hotel gets major renovation

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: B7 | Gallery

 
Teen victim of Dixon shooting dies

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A7, 2 Comments

Land use, design, project synergy key to growth

By Brian Miller and Karl Dumas | From Page: B7

 
Fairfield police log: April 17, 2015

By Glen Faison | From Page: A9

Suisun City police log: April 17, 2015

By Glen Faison | From Page: A9

 
Commissary-Exchange pairing gains steam

By Nick DeCicco | From Page: B10

Airmen with county ties complete training

By Nick DeCicco | From Page: B10

 
.

US / World

San Francisco marks anniversary of 1906 earthquake

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Time plus distance help some Oklahoma City victims move on

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Scarlett O’Hara outfit fetches $137,000 at auction

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Turin Shroud goes back on display for faithful and curious

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Caged puppies on car roof trigger dozens of 911 calls

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

French replica of revolutionary frigate sets sail for Boston

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

 
Islamic State blamed for Afghan suicide bombing killing 35

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

.

Opinion

Talk about corruption

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8, 7 Comments

 
Justice not served

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8, 23 Comments

 
Clinton should spruce up a bit

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8, 17 Comments

 
Sound off for April 19, 2015

By Daily Republic | From Page: A8, 2 Comments

 
.

Living

Community Calendar: April 19, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
Today in history: Sunday, April 19, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Vatican unexpectedly ends crackdown of US nun group

By The Associated Press | From Page: C3

Horoscopes: April 19, 2015

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: C4

 
Wife needs to decide if she can tolerate husband’s binge drinking

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: C4

.

Entertainment

PUBLISHERS WEEKLY BEST-SELLERS

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

 
Anna Kendrick has book of essays coming out in 2016

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

Phil Klay, Leslie Jamison among PEN award nominees

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

 
.

Sports

Crawford, Heston lead Giants to win

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Curry scores 34, Warriors beat Pelicans 106-99 in Game 1

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Reddick’s 3-run homer sends A’s to 5-0 victory over Royals

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Cal defense shines for a change at scripted spring game

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Jones throws 2 TDs, wins challenge at Ohio State spring game

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Serena Williams gets a rare test from Giorgi but holds on

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Tom Watson: Next Masters might be his last

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Free agent center Wisniewski signs 1-year deal with Jaguars

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Pete Rose hired by Fox as special guest studio analyst

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Marcotte, Ryan win US cycling Criterium championships

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Independent league experiments with 3-ball walks

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Merritt maintains edge through 3 rounds at RBC Heritage

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
As Spurs know, international players can impact NBA playoffs

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

Rose scores 23, Bulls beat Bucks 103-91

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Harden has 24 points, Rockets beat Mavs 118-108 in Game 1

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Pierce leads Wizards past Raptors in OT in Game 1

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

 
Hometown report: Little League baseball

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B4

Hometown report: Youth track

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B4

 
Kenseth content in car and not contemplating retirement

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4 | Gallery

Logano leads flag-to-flag to win Xfinity race at Bristol

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4 | Gallery

 
This date in sports history for April 19

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
.

Business

Using a prepaid card? Avoid getting socked with fees

By The Washington Post | From Page: B7

 
This year’s fight for the tech industry: Patent trolls

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Recalls this week: blowers, bike hooks, mattresses, toys

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
IMS: US prescription drug spending jumped 13 percent in 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

Fast-growing Asian aviation confronts safety challenges

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9 | Gallery

 
 
.

Obituaries

Carole Anspach

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Frances Bayona Lozano

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Robert Larkin

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Barbara Medders

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Carrol “Carl” Gordon Parker

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
John Thompson

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Allen Ellsworth Dolby Sr.

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Sterling Jenkins

By Nancy Green | From Page: A5

Dennis Burkhart von Ting

By Nancy Green | From Page: A5

 
.

Comics