Susan Rice deserved much better.
Since the terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, one person has been the punching bag for the Republican Party: UN Ambassador Susan Rice. To her credit, she was following the guidelines given to her at the time by our intelligence agencies, but for all her diligent efforts, she became the scapegoat for the incident. During the third week of September, she was dispatched to visit the various media outlets to address the ongoing investigation, but two men were unimpressed and seized the opportunity to belittle and besmirch one of our nation’s most respected public officials.
Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham began their unapologetic crusade against President Obama and his UN Ambassador three months ago. Throughout the final two months of the presidential election, these men took to the court of public opinion and proceeded to trump up faux charges on the president and ambassador. They referred to them as being lazy, incompetent and unqualified for the prestigious positions they hold. It became the latest sideshow for the GOP who continues to travel down their road of irrelevancy and abhorrence.
After President Obama secured reelection, Senators McCain, Graham and Ayotte turned their jaundice up a few notches by holding a press conference expressing their disappointment in Ambassador Rice and the former CIA Director David Petraeus in the days following the Benghazi attack. At the end of November, McCain stated he was going to vehemently fight against the nomination of Ambassador Rice to replace Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State. Senator McCain ensured his voice would be heard as he gained a seat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which is in charge of vetting the president’s Secretary of State nominee.
As a result of their actions, Ambassador Rice withdrew her name from contention for the Secretary of State vacancy yesterday. It may prove to be one of the most calculated maneuvers of sexism and racism in political history. Over the decades, Senator McCain has been celebrated as a war hero, but lately, he has acted as a rancorous curmudgeon who has become a sad shell of the man that was once known as a maverick. The truth is he has been given a free pass for entirely too long. It is true he stood up for President Obama’s character as a man in the face of bigotry in the 2008 Presidential campaign, but since that courageous moment, he has been the cowardly lion.
Senator McCain has been aligned with the tea party faction of the Republican Party since his decisive shellacking by President Obama four years ago. Each chance he had to take a shot at President Obama during his terms in office he has taken with deadly aim. He used the unspeakable tragedy in Benghazi as an opportunity to discredit a woman who has been the consummate professional and an exceptional representative in the U.S. government. His behavior remains reprehensible and deplorable. The fact that Ambassador Rice was affected by a party full of partisan malcontents speaks volumes on the state of democracy within our own borders.
What has been lost in all the Republican Party theatrics is Ambassador Christopher Stevens and the three citizens who died on that tragic day. By politicizing this tragedy to satisfy their own prejudices, the Republicans have made themselves the bellwether for pugnacity. The underlying truth bubbling beneath the surface is the Republicans knew exactly what they were doing in reproaching Ambassador Rice. They wanted the President to promote Senator John Kerry to Secretary of State, thus opening a Senate seat for the former Republican Senator Scott Brown.
Senator Kerry, ironically, may become a beneficiary of circumstance. The Republicans swift boated away his chances of becoming president in 2004, but it is likely he could be the heir apparent to become the 68th Secretary of State filling a void being left by current Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the end of this year. The most disappointing part of this perplexing result is the Republicans got their way once again because of bullying. The President alongside some Democratic Party colleagues was steadfast in their support of Ambassador Rice, but unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to make her stay.
Condoleezza Rice was promoted to Secretary of State during President George W. Bush’s second term in office and she wasn’t nearly as vilified and abased as Ambassador Susan Rice. The Democrats had an opportunity to block her confirmation, but decided against it despite her contributing actions of leading the country into an unjust war in Iraq. The ulterior motives of the Republican Party reek of acrimony for a Black president who has beaten them like a drum over the past two election cycles. Their war on women and minorities continues a problematic trend that isn’t going to end anytime soon.
Ambassador Rice will maintain her distinguished career in public service. And, truth be told, she deserved more respect as not only a decorated official, but as a woman.