It's rare that something like a cabinet appointment gets much attention this early into the lame duck session. However, as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is not staying on for President Obama's second term, all eyes are on the candidate who will replace the politician who has undoubtedly become the most invaluable member of the president's cabinet.
Even after falling on the sword for Benghazi, Secretary Clinton has been something of a Teflon secretary. Unlike Eric Holder, Janet Napolitano or Tim Geithner, bad news does not seem to stick to her. Now she's due to leave next year, and the most likely candidate to replace her is...
The U.N. ambassador might normally be a shoe-in for the post. She has years of experience, is extremely well educated, and is incredibly competent, at least according to the president and his supporters. Then came September 16th. When Ambassador Rice made the rounds on the Sunday morning news talk circuit, she discussed over and over again how the U.S. consulate in Libya was the result of blowback due to a YouTube video entitled "The Innocence of Muslims." The amateurish film painted the Muslim Prophet Mohammad in a rather unfavorable light (to say the least) which lead to protests at numerous U.S. embassies and consulates around the world. The consulate in Benghazi bore the worst of it. Four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens, were murdered during an attack on the anniversary of 9/11.
After the hearings involving former CIA Director David Petraeus, it became clear that Susan Rice was not sticking to the CIA's initial talking points. Petraeus now claims that the CIA knew it was an Al-Qaeda terrorist attack within hours, and prepared a series of talking points centered on that knowledge. However, when Susan Rice went on television the following Sunday, those talking points had been expunged.
The question then becomes, as CBS News reports,why did the CIA and the FBI sign off on it when the office of the Director of National Intelligence ordered the talking points removed? Was Ambassador Rice even aware that they had previously existed?
Love her or hate her, Hillary Clinton is no dummy, and she is no fool. Do Americans really want their next secretary of state to be someone who is easily duped?
Anyone can make a mistake, but Ambassador Rice has a history that is peppered with hints of cronyism. In the 2002 book written by Samantha Powers, Ms. Rice attempted to defend the Clinton administration's inaction regarding the 1994 Rwandan genocide. In Power's book, Rice is quoted as saying, “If we use the word 'genocide' and are seen as doing nothing, what will be the effect on the November congressional election?" Rice was later said to have been involved in a scheme along with Madeline Albright, Anthony Lake and several others to remove the words "genocide" and "ethnic cleansing" from all memos on the subject. Too harsh, apparently, unless you were a Tutsi.
In 1997, when President Clinton attempted to move Ms. Rice into the position of Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, several members of the Congressional Black Caucus objected. They claimes not only that Ms. Rice was part of the "Washington elite class,"but also posed questions about her having worked for several African dictators with less than stellar records in the past. As ambassador to the United Nations, Rice has missed several key votes that should have had the American voice on record.
The idea of Ambassador Rice now being tapped for Secretary of State is now being questioned by many people in Congress. Nearly 100 members of the House are calling for another choice, while in the Senate, Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham have had less than glowing things to say about Ms. Rice. Of course, in an attempt to shut Republicans up, the left is simply calling them racists. How wonderfully typical.
It wasn't sexist to point out that George W. Bush's attempt to appoint Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court may not have the best possible choice. It's not sexist or racist to call into question someone's history, especially if that person will be running the State Department.
Susan Rice comes with too many questions and too many questionable acts. Whether she is just a dupe, or she is knee-deep in the suspected Benghazi cover-up, she is far from the best choice to head the State Department.