Friday, November 16, 2012

Susan Rice: Qualifications, Concerns, and Republican's Bitter, Partisan Calumnies

Rice's style is highlighted by a wavering between a dismissive contempt--seen in its most remarkable and revealing form in the unmasked contempt displayed in an interview by Michael Abramowitz at the U.S. Holocaust Museum (, and a defensive anxiety when under direct, pressing questioning.

This seems both puzzling, given her sterling academic credentials, and temperamentally unsuited to the role of Secretary of State, to which Hillary Clinton has brought an increasingly polished, aware, adjusted-to-the-situation gravitas.

Even John Kerry, whose knowledge and experience can be undercut by an interminable ponderousness, would bring a steadiness that is crucial to the role, and that Clinton has mastered with an effectiveness rare in recent memory.

I understand that there are multiple qualifications and reasons for such a choice; but in a role where the translation of national position is often communicated through nuances of intended--or unintended--affect--Rice is particularly unsuited on that critical variable. It is not something that is easily changed.

I admire Rice and her accomplishments greatly. But this issue is, and has been demonstrated to be, incontrovertibly true.

This creates a difficult situation. Republicans, in the sour, bitter antagonisms of loss, seek to take Rice down for reasons that have nothing to do with the above. Their accusations towards Rice are driven, distorted, inaccurate, wrong. The tragi-comedy of John McCain avoiding a briefing on Benghazi in order to voice his own partisan infuriations at a "lack of information" is only one manifestation of this Post-Electoral-Stress-Disorder by Republicans.

And the premature conclusions spilled by Peter King, while consistent with his usual style, also begin with partisanship, rather than with Rice's actions.

Kings ejaculations have been directly contradicted by Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger of Maryland, who said after the hearing that Petraeus stated there were two lines of intelligence information were received: that spontaneous protests were occurring that were in response to the anti-Islamic video, and that *after* this, a more organized attack on the Embassy was started.

Rice should be judged on the merits--not, ironically, on partisan "revenge". There are concerns here, however, which, given the very sensitive inter-cultural matters ahead, demand a honed, practiced, in-control temperament that can be directed with intention.  Rice does not demonstrate this, and we will see its consequences if she is selected.