Maybe it’s because they are so used to talking to Fox viewers. That’s the only reason I can think of for Senator John Barrasso, Republican of Wyoming, being so transparent about the attacks on U. N. Ambassador Susan Rice. It has nothing to do with Susan Rice’s qualifications for Secretary of State and everything to do with restoring Scott Brown to the Senate.
Being interviewed this morning by Chris Jansing on MSNBC, Barrasso kept stressing that Rice would face a hard fight in the confirmation process, even though the Democrats have the majority in the Senate. He pushed Senator John Kerry as the preferred choice for State, and spoke of how easily Kerry would be confirmed. When a Republican is overly effusive about any Democrat, your antennae should be twitching. Barrasso is not the only Republican how has mentioned Kerry as the preferable choice for Secretary of State. Why? Why this love fest for Kerry?
Easy. If Kerry is appointed Secretary of State, Massachusetts will have to hold a special election for his Senate seat. The Republicans believe that they can get Scott Brown back in the Senate with that special election, since it was a special election to replace the late Sen. Ted Kennedy that got Brown elected the first time. That would raise the Republican number to 46 in the Senate. Right now the Senate is 53 Democrats, 2 Independents caucusing with the Democrats and 45 Republicans.
The Republican Party still doesn’t understand the demographics of this year’s election. If they seriously believe that they can throw a competent, capable, experienced black woman over a cliff for a rich white man and then get the state of Massachusetts to elect another white guy to the Senate, they have their collective heads up their butts. Okay, so Elizabeth Warren only beat Scott Brown by 229,228 votes, 53.7% to 46.3%, but that was head to head, without the added onus of sacrificing Susan Rice to put Brown back on the ballot.
One September 18, five days after the attack on our consulate in Benghazi, Susan Rice stepped up to take the place of her boss, Secretary of State Clinton, to appear on the Sunday news shows and try to explain what had happened on the night of September 11. Rice was given a set of “talking points,” the best information we had at that time. We had not been able to go back to the consulate and retrieve the security camera tapes. We apparently had not completely debriefed those who were there. No matter what Gen. Petraeus “believed” what we did know for certain was the half-dozen or so “live” videos that were posted to social media by those who were at the consulate that night and the interviews that were conducted with eyewitnesses by journalists who are assigned to Benghazi.
One of those interviews, conducted by Reuters and posted by The Guardian, was done between the two attacks (9 to 11 p.m. local and 5 a.m. local) and the man interviewed was very explicit. The attack was the culmination of a protest against the defamation of the Prophet in “that movie.”
The Republicans are trying to destroy Susan Rice’s reputation for their own purposes. This is about as low as the Republicans can get, and they have been scraping bottom for a long time now.
But pushing John Kerry is not necessarily a good idea for them either. There are a great number of Republicans who will gladly give you the “truth” about John Kerry based on his 2004 Presidential race and the Swift Boat attacks on his war record. They will tell you that he shot an unarmed Vietnamese teenager in the back (he didn’t, the “teenager” was an armed Viet Cong), that he faked his final wounds in Nam to get released (he didn’t) and that he lied to Congress about the conditions in Vietnam (he was testifying to the testimony of hundreds of Vietnam veterans from the Winter Warrior Project). They will tell you all about his relationship with “Hanoi Jane” Fonda. One thing the Kerry campaign taught me about Vietnam, there are those who cannot forget, those who will not remember and those incapable of understanding or forgiving. Though John McCain and John Kerry have worked well together in the Senate, I really don’t trust McCain to let a Kerry confirmation process go through without McCain dragging in his years in captivity in contrast to Kerrry’s post-service opposition to the war.
While we’re on the subject of Susan Rice, there’s one thing about her record that I want to address – Rwanda.
Ambassador Rice was Bill Clinton’s advisor on African affairs at the State Department. She advised against America getting involved in the Rwanda genocide in 1994. For those who don’t remember or don’t know, there are two countries next to each other, Rwanda and Burundi. They are inhabited by two tribes, the Hutu and the Tutsi (there is a third tribe, but they don’t figure in this), but when Great Britain created the two countries, they ignored the tribal boundaries and created the countries with opposite tribal majorities and minorities. In Rwanda, it finally blew up into a civil war started by the Tutsi, and a retaliatory genocide by the Hutu. The time frame for this is critical in understanding Rice’s advice. The year before, the United States was drawn into the civil war in Somalia as part of a coalition to create a safe zone for humanitarian aid. It cost us 19 lives, along with 80 Pakistani military lives. Rice recommended that we not get involved in any African civil war unless we were prepared to be treated as the enemy and endure another Black Hawk Down episode. It was the correct advice. If Somalia didn’t teach us that, Afghanistan and Iraq should have. Any outside force being inserted into a civil war makes the combatants join forces against the outsiders.
But, in “The Smearing of Susan Rice” her advice to stay out of Rwanda is being used as an indictment against her. She is being held responsible for those one million lives. If she had advised we get involved, Rice would be held responsible for any lost American lives. That’s how things are with the Republicans these days. All decisions are the wrong ones, all actions are bad if performed by the Democrats; all decisions and actions by Republicans are good. That’s how they reconcile condemning this Rice after making Condaleeza Rice Secretary of State following the discovery that there were no WMD in Iraq.
(Author’s note: Until I posted this and our operating program pulled up related stories, I had no idea that Rachel Maddow had posed the same idea on her show last night. We have been on vacation for the past ten days and I haven’t seen The Rachel Maddow Show in all that time. It’s kind of nice to have my thoughts validated by the lady with the doctorate, but I didn’t get them from her. I was watching Chris Jansing this morning when it hit me.)