Thursday, December 13, Susan Rice, the woman picked by President Obama to be the next secretary of state, fell on her own sword and withdrew herself from the appointment list. Sadly, she learned a valuable lesson: don’t mess with John McCain.
Political payback is what happened. Susan Rice opposed John McCain’s views on Iraq in 2008 when he was running against Barack Obama for president. To say that Ms. Rice lied to us about Benghazi is ridiculous. She reported on the information she had at the time. The real truth lies in Iraq.
In 2002, here’s what Condi Rice said. “We know he [Saddam Hussein] has the infrastructure, nuclear scientists to make a nuclear weapon. The problem here is that there will always be some uncertainty about how quickly he can acquire nuclear weapons. But we don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud.” From that moment on, Senator McCain supported Condoleezza Rice and President Bush concerning Iraq.
Fast forward to the election cycle of 2008. Iraq was still the big issue for the nation and for John McCain. To a nation sick of the war, Candidate Obama promised withdrawal of troops by 2010. Susan Rice agreed with Obama. McCain differed and based part of his election campaign on the fact that he didn’t want a date announced for the draw-down of our troops. He lost that argument as well as the election – but not his anger at Obama and Susan Rice.
These past weeks he’s proven that he has a long memory. He saw an opportunity to get even with Susan Rice and at the same time, give Barack Obama a good kick in the face. But framing his opposition to Susan Rice around her Benghazi report makes Senator McCain’s position appeared paltry, partisan, and irrelevant. In actuality, the whole affair has been nothing but a witch-hunt.
I don’t know whether or not Susan Rice was the best person for the job of Secretary of State to replace Hillary Clinton. I hate that she holds stock in the Keystone XL Pipeline and wish that she and her husband would divest themselves of all of their interests in Alberta, Canada’s oil sands rich fields. (Excuse me if I mention here that the Keystone XL Pipeline “would send some of the dirtiest oil on the planet through the breadbasket of America to be shipped overseas from the Gulf of Mexico. It’s not in our national interest: it’s a profit scheme for big oil.”)
And I do think John Kerry, if nominated and confirmed, will do a creditable job. But even Senator McCain would agree that presidents have the right to select whoever they want for Secretary of State. As a matter of fact he said, “[A president] has a right to put into place the team that he believes will serve him best. President Obama wanted Susan Rice.
I don’t think John McCain opposes Susan Rice because she’s a woman or black, but I do believe that the opposition of McCain and Lindsay Graham will be seen as the GOP war on women.
President Obama showed presidential wisdom by accepting Ms. Rice’s withdrawal. In opposition to the mean-spirited McCain and Graham, Mr. Obama’s decision allows her to remain a valuable member of his national security team and retain her position as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations.
Given these trouble times and the violence erupting around the world, December 13,2012 may have been one of the luckiest days of Susan Rice‘s life.