Friday, February 27, 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

 
Searchers find infant’s body

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1, 3 Comments

 
Children tackle history during Wax Museum project

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A1, 1 Comment | Gallery

Suisun Walmart to open March 25

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A1, 14 Comments | Gallery

 
 
Pedestrians hit by cars in 2 separate incidents

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A3, 9 Comments | Gallery

 
 
Legislative committee votes for earthquake relief bill

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A4

 
Vacaville police clear homeless from area

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A4, 5 Comments

NorthBay Healthcare Group expands lease

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A5

 
State to close part of I-80 to continue project

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A5

 
Fairfield police log: Feb. 24, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

 
Suisun City police log: Feb. 24, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

.

US / World

Family celebrating one-month birthdays of identical triplets

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

 
Massive I-95 pileup leaves 17 injured in snowy Maine

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

CEO has plan for crime prediction system

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Dog owner lawsuit alleges food made his pups sick

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

What happens, and not, in Homeland Security shutdown

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Pet shop owner found guilty of arson

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Harris only Dem left after Villaraigosa exits campaign

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Regulators eyeing tighter cybersecurity requirements

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Technology might have prevented deaths in train crash

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Speaker has plan to help fund affordable housing

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Hungarian village available for rent

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Journalists arrested in Paris for drone flights

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Afghanistan avalanche destroys homes, kills 124

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Polanski appears in court to face extradition

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
.

Opinion

Editorial Cartoon: Feb. 26, 2015

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

 
Chinese economy may be stalling – and that’s OK

By William Pesek | From Page: A7

 
Time to put down the joystick

By Kelvin Wade | From Page: A7

 
.

Living

Today in History: Feb. 26, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: Feb. 26, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Horoscopes: Feb. 26, 2015

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

 
.

Entertainment

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Gucci designer makes debut during Milan Fashion Week

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

People: Lindsay Lohan

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
.

Sports

Kings grind out 102-90 win over Grizzlies in Sacramento

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
 
Bay Area’s Semien in the mix for A’s shortstop job

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Clark says players against radical speed-up changes

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
McIlroy looking to keep momentum to the Masters

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
IOC head quizzed about water shortages in Rio, golf course

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

.

Business

.

Obituaries

Felipe Mata Mislang

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Thomas Browning

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

.

Comics

Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Sally Forth

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

 
B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9