Is Sen. John McCain’s threat to block Amb. Susan Rice’s nomination sexist? Or even racist?
Some GOP Senators, most prominently Senator John McCain (AZ), have threatened to filibuster the potential nomination of U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice to the cabinet position of U.S. Secretary of State. Sen. McCain believes Amb. Rice’s part in the aftermath of the Benghazi consulate attack is enough to warrant her unqualified for the position. We now know that when Rice went on the Sunday morning talk shows and argued that the attack was a product of demonstrations and not a pre-planned terrorist attack she was stating material from an altered assessment. The CIA knew from the beginning that it was a terrorist attack. We however, do not know yet who decided to omit that information from Rice’s talking points. We don’t know who altered the information.
The argument McCain makes is that Rice should have questioned the information she was given. That she potentially could have misled the American people. Many people have even asked why Rice, not Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, was given the task to go on the morning talk shows. In reality, as leader of the State Department, it is really in her jurisdiction and responsibility to be the administration’s representative. I find it hard to believe that Susan Rice was consistently briefed on the deteriorating conditions of the consulate before the attack. I suspect that the reason Rice was given this task was to make her look better. I say that in the sense that I think she was being prepped for the cabinet position. Clinton had made it abundantly clear that no matter the outcome she was done after this term. So I think the hope was that Rice would look more able to handle the media obligations of the cabinet position and to bring her to the forefront of our minds.
Additionally, there have been some members of the Democratic Black Congressional Caucus as well as liberal, political pundits (i.e. Chris Matthews) who believe McCain’s threat was based on some sort of racist or sexist basis. I think those assertions are ridiculous. McCain is one of the most noble and loyal Americans we have serving our nation. I find it hard to believe that a man who adopted a Bangladeshi orphan in 1991 is racist. This man is a war hero. The fact Rice was unanimously approved by the U.S. Senate to represent the U.S. in the United Nations is proof that this recent opposition isn’t a product of Rice’s race or gender. Are we not allowed to judge someone on their record?
These are my problems with the opposition:
- Rice was given a set of “facts” and told to stay on point during these shows. This goes on all the time. She can’t and shouldn’t be at fault for the information being altered. She doesn’t work in the intelligence department. Unless you find fault in her job as ambassador I don’t think you can make a point in objecting her nomination. I have yet to read or hear a single reason where she did a bad job as ambassador.
- I think the opposition is politically motivated. The GOP is trying to blame someone for the disastrous PR spin after the attack. They proved unable to deny the president his reelection, so they are attempting to stalwart Obama in a different way. The other problem I have is that Americans made it clear they want things accomplished by our Congress. They are tired of the same political egos overpowering progress and compromise. Quarreling over this wouldn’t be smart, at least from a political position.
- That being said the GOP’s attempt to block her nomination would only further perpetuate the Democratic claim that Republicans thwart the President in every avenue. They’d say something like: “They (GOP) won’t even allow him to fill a cabinet position without opposition.”
My problem with people deeming this to be an example of racism and sexism is that it undermines the occurrences of actual examples. By continuously calling something racist or sexist you demean people’s attention. Eventually people become fatigued of the same assertions. My point is that not every decision is racist or sexist in nature and when you constantly decry these assertions one is less likely to notice or to believe you.
We have so many more important things to worry about. Is Rice’s potential nomination that important? I don’t think so. The GOP leaders should be more focused on the “fiscal cliff” that is a real, imminent threat to stunt any economic growth; a threat that could lead America into another, possibly deeper recession.
I hope the GOP realizes that oppositions like these fuel the media narrative that they are completely unwilling to compromise or work with the president. Leave your political ego and principal for more important issues.
What do you think?
Should the GOP oppose Rice’s nomination? And do you think the opposition is racist or sexist?
Twitter: @adrakontaidis & @talkrealdebate