Wrong on Rice? GOP Blocks Secretary of State Nomination

Wrong on Rice? GOP Blocks Secretary of State Nomination


Dr. Susan Rice – Ambassador to the United Nations – will no longer be considered for nomination to become the next Secretary of State thanks to the unjustified –borderline controversial – personal attacks made by Republicans over the Benghazi terrorist attack.

In a letter written to the President, Rice stated “I am now convinced that the confirmation process would be lengthy disruptive and costly- to you and to our most pressing national and international priorities. That trade-off is simply not worth it to our country. It is far more important that we devote precious legislative hours and energy to enacting your core goals, including comprehensive immigration reform, balanced deficit reduction, job creation, and maintaining a robust national defense and effective U.S. global leadership. Therefore, I respectfully request that you no longer consider my candidacy at this time.”

Before becoming the President’s Ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice was then Senator Obama’s biggest foreign policy advocate, and Senator John McClain’s biggest nightmare. Rice has harsh words for McCain on the 2008 campaign trail; calling the GOP nominees policies “reckless” mocking the Senator’s trip to Iraq as a “stroll around the market in flak jacket.” John McCain didn’t like that very much and it now seems like he never forgot about it, as the Arizona Senator has succeeded in pressuring Ambassador Rice to withdraw her consideration as President Obama’s nominee for Secretary of State.

Susan Rice is many things; unqualified is not one of them. Rice is a graduate of Stanford University, a Truman Scholar, a Rhodes Scholar, and a Doctor of Philosophy from Oxford. She is a Clinton Administration veteran, serving in various roles including Senior Director on African Affairs. Rice later went on to become a Senior Foreign Policy Fellow at the Brookings Institute, and was a foreign policy advisor to John Kerry during the 2004 presidential election before ultimately joining the Obama campaign in 2008.

In the wake of the Benghazi attack –which took the lives of US Ambassador Chris Stevens and 3 other diplomats – the President, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, or CIA Director David Petraeus were to blame in the eyes of the Republican members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Ambassador Rice was the exception; despite not having any responsibility over the Embassy or CIA anti-terrorist operations. Therefore the case against Ambassador Rice was made on the basis over comments she made during the Sunday talk show circuit that seemed to contrary to what the CIA was reporting as details of the Benghazi attack were developing in real time. Those series of Sunday talk show moments –made by Rice on behalf of the State Department and the White House—was seen as a “cover-up” tactic by McCain and others and prompted the Senator to make the case that Rice was either hiding something or “not very bright.”

Despite the President’s fierce defense of Ambassador Rice, he never moved quickly to officially nominate her, which would have had the additional resources to defend her nomination and thus her chances of confirmation. Why the President withhold his nomination remains to be analyzed, as with the full story of what really happened in Benghazi which will proceed with an upcoming testimony by outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

As the attacks from the right continued, it became disturbing clear that Senate Republicans were forcing the President to nominate Senator John Kerry for Secretary of State, a move that would open a Senate seat in Massachusetts for the now defeated outgoing Senator Scott Brown. This bold move will arguably hurt Republicans for aggressively bullying a highly qualified African American female from the nominating process for pure political gain. Many elected officials, including Rep. Karen Bass of California expressed concern over way the whole situation was handled. “It is unfortunate Ambassador Rice had to make this decision in the face of such unfounded and unfair character attacks. If judged fairly based solely on her qualifications for the job, she would’ve made an extraordinary secretary of State,” said Representative Bass, who sits on the House Foreign Relations Committee.