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Diplomat War: Maureen Dowd’s Poison Pen Out for Susan Rice

WITH THE three amigos Senators McCain, Graham and Ayotte hanging in the Capitol square with their pre-planned partisan talking points hanging out, one question has risen to the top. Will Senator McCain place a hold on Susan Rice’s nomination?

As Andrea Mitchell reminded everyone on “Morning Joe” today, many a name and exemplary individual has been halted from rising upward due to the power of one person.

Somebody on Senator McCain’s side knows the damage that’s been done by his obviously personal campaign against Rice, which can be explained in an extraordinary John McCain puff piece on Politico, complete with an adoring McCain looking gaga at Hillary Clinton. The subject and timing of it comes out of nowhere. This suggests that either some PR flak has been very busy or the usual discomfort at seeing John McCain flailing is being felt deep inside the Beltway establishment.

Into this steps Senator Susan Collins being interviewed by Maureen Dowd, in the second poison pen piece she’s done on Ambassador Susan Rice since the Benghazi furor erupted. This is remarkable, because of the place Collins holds in the Republican Party and in the eyes of people like Dowd. Seen as a moderate by the national media, Senator Collins is also seen as a thermometer of potential trouble brewing or expanding. That she’s a woman helps. If only Republicans had a woman of color to tap, too.

Senator Susan Collins of Maine, the soft-spoken ranking member on the homeland security committee, hasn’t been part of this shrill debate. Though they had met only once or twice, Collins agreed to introduce Rice to the Foreign Relations Committee in 2009 when Rice was nominated as the U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Rice’s grandparents immigrated from Jamaica to Portland, Maine.

“I don’t bear any animus to her at all,” the senator said. “In fact, to the contrary.”

But she said she is “troubled” by Rice’s role. “If I wanted to be secretary of state,” Collins observed, “I would not go on television and perform what was essentially a political role.”

The emphasis added above is important. Dowd wanting to make sure to get that on the record, because if Collins also finds Amb. Rice’s remarks with her in private wanting, the message being sent from someone like Collins is then supposed to be taken seriously.

Even on “Morning Joe” today the issue of Rice’s “temperament” rose to the top. To Ms. Brzezinski’s credit, though she thought the diplomatic touch of Rice was worth exploring, she slammed the double standard that a woman is expected to apologize even when she’s done nothing wrong. Scarborough was furious at the three amigos for making such a spectacle, incredulous that their spectacle was good for Republicans.

We’re now waiting for Senators Collins and Corker to weigh in after their meetings.

Meanwhile, Ambassador Susan Rice did “Good Morning America” today. It’s time to unleash the seasoned diplomat on the fluff circuit. If McCain’s flaks can do it for him, the White House should do it for Rice.

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17 Responses to Diplomat War: Maureen Dowd’s Poison Pen Out for Susan Rice

  1. jinbaltimore November 28, 2012 at 1:41 pm #

    This doesn’t bode well for Rice’s appointment as Obama rarely displeases Villagers.

  2. Ramsgate November 28, 2012 at 3:26 pm #

    Correct. It all hinges on Obama. He shouldn’t back off, but the way things are going my guess is that he will. At least precedent suggests that he will.

    • Cujo359 November 28, 2012 at 3:32 pm #

      Precedent certainly suggests that. I won’t be at all sorry to see it happen, either, since I think Obama’s lame duck years can’t start soon enough.

  3. Cujo359 November 28, 2012 at 3:30 pm #

    ‘“If I wanted to be secretary of state,” Collins observed, “I would not go on television and perform what was essentially a political role.”’

    There is so much in that sentence. First, on the surface, Collins is correct. That shouldn’t be the role of a cabinet secretary. In fact, though, it is, and has been for a long, long time. The first time I remember noticing this was during the Reagan Administration, but I suspect the tradition goes back farther than that.

    The problem, to me, is that all the pronouncements are for show. Real discussions of events like this contain disagreements, and sometimes opinions that don’t seem to be much supported by the facts. What we seem to expect as voters, if one believes the DC press at least, is unanimity of opinion among people in the executive branch. Any disagreement is somehow confusing. This opinion was also reflected in memos I used to receive when I worked for one part of the executive branch, BTW. Underlings are explicitly instructed to refer all press questions to the press office, or whatever it’s called in a particular agency. When I hear unanimous agreement from the executive branch, I just assume everyone’s got their stories straight before they go on air.

    Oh, and sometimes those opinions that seem least supported by the facts are later proved correct. That’s why we have discussions, not choruses, when we want to find out what’s really going on.

  4. fangio November 28, 2012 at 4:06 pm #

    My problem with Rice is her seeming lack of independance and of recent history. After seeing how Powell was later attacked for his mouthing the administrations lies you would think Rice would think twice ( rhyme not intended ) about going out there and putting her career on the line. If she is a person who simply does as she is told then she has no business being Secretary of State. I’ve commented before about her virtual disappearance after being confirmed as U.N. Ambassador. She does not seem to have a very strong voice.

    • T-Steel November 28, 2012 at 4:18 pm #

      And those questions are fair fangio. Completely fair. But they aren’t being asked. Her biggest sin in the Benghazi is basically mouthing the bad intelligence. Fair to ask how much intel she’s privy to. Fair to ask if any of her staff knew anything. Fair to ask why you didn’t “stand up to your boss” on an apparent lie. I have no problem with that. But she is SMALL potatoes to what is obviously our continue foreign policy issues with the Middle East at large focusing on Benghazi. All I hear when it comes to Benghazi is Rice, Rice, Rice. Whatever, whatever, whatever. Where’s the friggin’ head of the CIA? Where’s some State Department folks? Where are other intel agencies? Screw the Republicans single-mindedness on “burning the Rice so Obama’s meal tastes bad early”.

  5. T-Steel November 28, 2012 at 4:12 pm #

    Troubled by Rice’s role, Senator Collins?? Go jump through a lake. Rice is the LEAST troubling of the Benghazi situation. I have a thousand questions about Benghazi but Dr. Rice’s comments ain’t one.

    I didn’t vote for Obama. But I’m a full-fledged Obamabot on Rice’s appointment as Secretary of State. I want him to stand by her and force feed her to those completely idiotic Republicans who continue to single Rice out. I want Petraeus, the State Department, other agencies grilled on Benghazi. I want to know why security requests weren’t fulfilled. I want to know what the CIA was REALLY doing in Benghazi. I want to know much more. The REAL issues. Not this personal, playground crap to stick it to President Obama early in his second term.

    Childish and counterproductive…

    • Taylor Marsh November 28, 2012 at 4:19 pm #

      Wouldn’t it make you a Ricebot? ;-)

      • T-Steel November 28, 2012 at 4:29 pm #

        Oh wow. Yep, a Ricebot. So used to seeing Obamabot around that I just dropped it in there. LOL

        • fangio November 28, 2012 at 6:45 pm #

          Just wanted to say I agree with you. It is the administrations screw up. They just needed a victim to take the heat.

          • T-Steel November 29, 2012 at 8:02 am #

            Thanks fangio. If McCain, Graham, and Ayotte REALLY wanted to make President Obama uncomfortable, they should have said:

            “We understand how Dr. Rice was thrown out there by the Obama Administration to take the heat. This administration sits back while their/our Ambassador flails away with falsehoods. We don’t like what Dr. Rice did but we understand that this is about the intelligence failures and incompetence in the Obama Administration, the CIA, and other agencies. We let Dr. Rice know that we were upset that she kept saying the same falsehoods and we will have tough questions for her around just saying what is handed to her. But this is about President Obama, General Petraeus, and others. Not Dr. Rice.”

            So a little support while stabbing. Now you don’t look bitter fools. Instead you look…uh… smart! :)

    • secularhumanizinevoluter November 29, 2012 at 11:40 am #

      ” I want to know why security requests weren’t fulfilled.”

      Why not ask the repugnantklan/teabaggers…THEY are the ones who refused to fund it.

  6. TPAZ November 28, 2012 at 8:51 pm #

    Okay, let me take another stab at this. Pres. Obama is the Robert Redford character Johnny Hooker in the George Roy Hill 1973 Oscar-winning movie The Sting. Henry Gondorff, played by Paul Newman, is actually the 1%ers and banksters like Lloyd blankbfein and Warren Buffett. This is a masterful old-school con.

    Character actor Robert Shaw’s character Doyle Lonigan represents the Democratic Party voters; they are the true marks in this grifter’s con. The GOP are role players in this con in order to sell the big con to the chumps with the cash (Pensions).

    FBI special agent Polk is the Susan Rice affair. Polk’s job was to distract the local flatfoot, lieut. William Snyder, played by Charles Durning. This subplot ran congruent with the big con in order to keep anyone who was not part of the con off-balance and to box them out of the con man if they became too nosy.

    The score: modifying Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. The objective is not ending those programs next week, or next month, or even in Pres. Obama’s second term. The objective is to begin the dismantling so 10 years from now the programs will become virtually useless to the next generation of Americans. And that’s the true beauty of a big con, you never know that you were conned even after you walk away.

    They knew that this Fiscal Cliff con would work after they successfully ran the ACA health care reform con on America.

    Today, Arizona announced that they would not set up a state-based insurance exchange program. The federal government will have to come into Arizona and do it. And who do you think will end up staffing and running this exchange program in the state? Why it will be friends of Gov. Brewer, the same governor who is opposed to this insurance exchange.

    At this point, businesses are reducing the number of hours their employees work so they can take advantage of an exception for part-time workers. Other employers say that it’s cheaper for them to pay the annual penalty than to purchase insurance for their full-time employees.

    Republican governors are opting out of setting up insurance exchanges on behalf of their citizens. However, starting in 2014 every American citizen will be required to buy health insurance in the private marketplace. If you fail to buy health insurance you will be assessed a penalty from the Internal Revenue Service that will follow you your entire life.

    In summation, the Susan Rice Affair is basically the Hooker, Polk, Snyder distraction in The Sting. It’s not the big con the first team is working.

    • Beth in suburban Chicago November 29, 2012 at 12:18 am #

      Interesting analogy! (And I do love that movie.)

      Are you surprised at any of this insurance stuff? Arizona will be far from the last state that simply says, “I won’t do it. I won’t undertake this role without money, etc. You feds can do it.” Are you surprised businesses are cutting back employee hours so as to not have to pay? McDonald’s used to have a whole program for its employees, to make sure they had access to a couple “cafeteria plans” that would probably suit their needs. ObamaCare pretty much ruined that. There will be huge waves of more companies reducing hours to get out of it too. You can argue whether you SHOULD till you’re blue in the teeth, but companies are in the business of making money. You make them pay more for one thing and they’ll figure out a way to cut costs (or go out of business) to still make money.

      • TPAZ November 29, 2012 at 5:37 am #

        I am not surprised. It’s unfortunate that people will be tortured by Republican administrations at the state level who don’t give a damn about this program working. It is a variation of the lethargic response by the government to hurricane Katrina. The public option/single-payer program would’ve been bulletproof. So once again we learn the hard way that there is one way to do the right thing and countless ways of doing the wrong thing.Or, as Red Adair, the oil well firefighter used to say: If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur.

    • Uh-oh November 29, 2012 at 11:10 am #

      You are so right! And Obama was the perfect one for his role: he allowed Americans to feel all “enlightened” and cool by voting for a black man for President and after the con is done he allows the Republicans to blame the Democrats for it as well as to blame a black man. The perfect con. And Obama was in on it all along.

      • secularhumanizinevoluter November 29, 2012 at 11:42 am #

        Thanks for demonstrating just how shit house rat crazy conspiracy theorist some folks can be!! You have done a valuable service!

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