IT’S NOT surprising that Kirsten Powers’ op-ed on Benghazi is posted on the Fox News site, because the network has led on hyperbolic charges against the Administration, while simultaneously mixing hard news on the terrorist attack with partisan analysis and segments that aren’t about finding the truth. Powers is not in that category, but she goes out of her way to find sexism where none exists, which makes more trouble at a time when people are forgetting the few facts we have, because John McCain keeps misstating them.
Don’t pick on the little lady.
Wednesday, President Obama bizarrely cast the U.N. Ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, as some delicate flower the boys should stop picking on for her dissembling claims on five Sunday talk shows following the killing of 4 Americans in Benghazi. But, there is no damsel in distress and Obama’s paternalistic bravado in defense of a top administration official is going to come back to haunt him.
This is hyper-feminism over a boss doing the right thing.
The White House sent U.N. Ambassador Rice out on the Sunday shows to do damage control on Benghazi with talking points provided by the CIA. She’s not in the C.I.A., nor is she a member of the State Department, but is a diplomatic emissary for the Administration that badly needed one after President Obama and his entire team got behind on explaining the Benghazi terrorist attack.
Fast forward to hear Republican senators, including the tag team performance of Senators McCain and Graham, using Rice for target practice, because she utilized information that the Administration handed her as her guide.
The problem with Rice’s performance is that not only did she have an explanation that sounded behind the curve, but it compounded the problem through it’s complexity, while providing everyone with a face to go with the disastrous Administration response to the attack.
But John McCain’s accusations that Rice talked about a “flash mob” are rubbish, as Glen Kessler already proved. Not only that, but Kessler additionally emphasizes in his timeline of the events surrounding the Benghazi attacks that it wasn’t until four days after Rice’s appearance on the Sunday shows that it was confirmed there was no anti-American protest.
So, McCain’s not only got his facts wrong, but the timeline, too, as well as the target of his ire, which was Obama’s point in his presser.
McCain’s got another problem, because David Ignatius backed up what Rice said on October 19th, reporting the following:
“The currently available information suggests that the demonstrations in Benghazi were spontaneously inspired by the protests at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo and evolved into a direct assault against the U.S. Consulate and subsequently its annex. There are indications that extremists participated in the violent demonstrations. This assessment may change as additional information is collected and analyzed and as currently available information continues to be evaluated.”
Additionally, and too bad for McCain, the Wall Street Journal reported after Ignatius that President Obama “was told in his daily intelligence briefing for more than a week after the consulate siege in Benghazi that the assault grew out of a spontaneous protest” and, as Kessler adds in one of his articles on the subject, “that the CIA did not adjust its assessment until Sept. 22.”
So, what is President Obama supposed to do as Rice is made the target of everyone’s frustrations after a horrific event that remains totally confusing, especially to Rice’s number one critic John McCain, who hasn’t gotten much about the sequence of events, let alone what Rice actually said, correct?
To top that off, when given a chance to attend a classified briefing on the Benghazi terrorist attack, Senator McCain didn’t show up.
It’s absolutely true Obama’s statement was gallant in the way it was delivered. But it’s also what any employee would expect her boss to do when she’s being misquoted, her reputation sullied, and called incompetent for something over which she had absolutely no authority, control or power.
Included in Obama’s statement was the adamant praise of Rice’s competence. It’s not about “don’t pick on the little lady,” quite the opposite, in fact. It’s about the President saying I’m the guy who sent her out there and she does her job every day and did it on the day in question too. Add with emphasis that Rice also used information the Administration believed to be true at the time, which came in the aftermath of a massively confusing event.
It’s preposterous to posit that it’s sexist for a President to back up one of his people in the line of fire. It’s what any good boss would do, should do.
This event may cost Rice her nomination to the State Department, but it shouldn’t. Nor should McCain, Fox News, or anyone else aiding and abetting the swiftboating of Rice on Benghazi.
The charge of sexism and Obama being accused of “paternalistic bravado” reveals a double standard that because Rice is a woman she should stand in the public square and get her reputation and livelihood stripped from her after a lifetime’s worth of work to get where she is, because to stand up for her is judged to be treating her like a “delicate flower.”
President Obama respects Susan Rice and has seen her deliver for him and this country, so he’s simply not going to allow Senator McCain, who is not only wrong on the facts, but is using overexercised accusations to ruin the woman’s career, to ruin her reputation by trashing her.
It’s no less than a professional deserves from the man who let the aftermath of the Benghazi terrorist attack unravel without getting ahead of it from the start.