WASHINGTON, D.C., December 2, 2012 — United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice, center point of our latest political distraction, will not be nominated to replace Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State. While the current grandstanding serves the political interests of the Obama white house, when the time comes to submit an actual nomination, the name submitted will be John Kerry.
Kerry, a Vietnam veteran who threw away the medals awarded to him upon his return, was an adamant opponent of the Vietnam War. Had the Susan Rice debacle not taken place, Kerry would probably have faced some uncomfortable questions in a confirmation hearing. Under the current circumstances, however, his confirmation hearing would probably be merely a formality.
Republicans seem to have grown fond of Kerry. Senators Susan Collins from Main, John Barrosso of Wyoming, and others have been praising Kerry, touting him as a reasonable alternative to Rice. This might be in part due to the collegiality of the U.S. Senate (even political opponents are more likely to support one of their own), but it might also have something to do with the fact that in the 2014 elections, the Republicans would enjoy contesting Kerry’s seat. In a special election to replace him, there’s a good chance that Senator Scott Brown, who lost his seat in the last election, could win.
Obama might hesitate to nominate Kerry for just that reason. There is a slim chance that he’ll nominate Rice, as he has taken a very combative stance on defending her. However, she won the enmity of Senator John McCain in 2008 with her snide comments about him parading about Afghanistan in a flak jacket, and even as a minority, the GOP could make a Rice confirmation battle bloody and protracted. With a smaller margin of victory in 2012 than he had in 2008, Obama will need to pick his battles more carefully than he has in the past.
The results of a closed-door meeting between Susan Rice, John McCain, Lindsey Graham and Kelly Ayotte, did nothing to quell the concerns the three senators have voiced. They have not shown themselves satisfied with the answers that they did, or did not receive.
A subsequent meeting with Senators Collins and Corker did not go well either, the senators stating that they had very serious concerns as well following their 70 minute meeting with Rice. Corker went so far as to say that Rice is Obama’s “good little soldier.”
The only apparent concession made by Rice was that the information she presented “was not accurate.” That, unfortunately, was already as obvious as that the earth is round.
Under oath in congressional confirmation hearings, Rice would not be able to ignore or stonewall the direct questions that would be directed at her. She does not want to answer those questions. The white house does not want her to answer those questions.
While under oath, deflective answers such as “the intelligence community made me do it” will not work, and they will raise other questions that the Obama Administration would probably prefer to leave unasked on the floor of the Senate. On the other hand, Senate Republicans might relish having Rice nominated, as the opportunity to raise such questions with Rice under oath may be their best chance for finding out what really happened in Benghazi and Washington both during and immediately after the attack.
With the non-issue of Rice’s possible nomination receiving so much attention, the much larger questions are more easily ignored, with very few people seeming to care what actually happened and why. This administration is masterful of making use of the old adage, “Time heals all wounds.”
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