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Rice Out


Well, the Republicans got their trophy. There are two points that should be made  about this episode.   First, the attacks on Rice were a classic baseless Republican smear job, based on a false narrative. And second, as Erik has already said, there should be at least a presumption against picking Kerry to be Secretary of State.   Granted, Brown is more damaged goods than he was in 2010.  But it’s about probabilities — there’s certainly a risk of losing the Senate seat if Kerry resigns, so Kerry had better be significantly better than any other candidate if he’s going to be chosen.   I suppose that’s possible, but it seems unlikely.

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  • c u n d gulag

    Is it safe to come out of hiding?

    Is the finally “deBoer War” over?

    • c u n d gulag


      Or, rather, “Is the “deBoer War” finally over?

      Y kent oui haz “EDIT” lyke da udder big-boiz citec dew?

      • Barry Freed

        Surely you meant “Is deBoer war finally over?”

  • rm

    This kind of thing is so friggin depressing. I don’t even know if Rice was the person I’d think was the best, but to allow con men to make up a false scandal based on lies and never call them on it, and then give them what they want, it’s horrible. Hostage taking works, they get the ransom and then they shoot the hostage.

    When this kind of thing happens it makes me want to ignore the entire toxic cesspool of political news, because what good does it do to be informed? But that reaction is also what the Republicans want. It’s a nice side effect for them, that people get too disgusted to pay attention.

  • cpinva

    yeah, i’ve yet to figure out why “kerry as SoS, if rice is out” somehow became commone wisdom.

    so Kerry had better be significantly better than any other candidate if he’s going to be chosen. I suppose that’s possible, but it seems unlikely.

    out of 300+ million people in the U.S., susan rice & john kerry are somehow the only two possible, qualified candidates? hard to believe.

    • cpinva

      rats! obviously, that should have been “common” wisdom.

      my kingdom for an edit function here! don’t get too excited, my kingdom is a very tiny one.

      • djangermats

        Tiny and commone

    • Richard

      There are lots of other candidates. But Kerrey wants the position, believes he is owed it and has done enough valuable work for the Obama administration that his appointment makes a lot of sense. Plus there’s no reason to believe he would be anything but a good choice.

      • sharculese

        Well at least with Bob Kerrey we don’t risk a Senate seat.


        • Scott Lemieux

          Yikes, sharculese, don’t even joke about that!

    • Dana

      Historiann had a post arguing this was Kerry’s Senate friends sabotaging their buddy’s competition for the job, presumably at his request. I was initially skeptical, but at this point it seems quite plausible to me.

  • Barry Freed

    The Benghazi stuff is bullshit but the conflict of interest in her potentially being involved in the decision about the Keystone XL pipeline when she is very heavily invested in oil companies standing to gain a lot in that decision was very disturbing.

    • c u n d gulag

      Remember, whatever one might invest in, one can alway divest from.

  • c u n d gulag

    If Kerry does become SoS, I hope that Gov. Patrick puts Barney Frank in as Senator – if for no other reason, than to just to watch the propellers on the Republican’s beanies spin so hard, they’ll lift them into the air corridor over DC.

    And then in ’14, either Barney can run for reelection, or Patrick can.
    Maybe find another Kennedy Grandkid somewhere – again, jess to piss-off the Republicans.

    And I’m not worried about Li’l Scottie Brown any more.
    Now that he’s free, let him try to call all of the Kings and Queens he wants (like any of them answered any alleged calls he might have made in the first place!).
    He ruined himself in his campaign against Elizabeth Warren.
    Any good will he might ever have had, he lost hunting for BS to smear her with.

    • Whomever Patrick appoints, if he or she wishes to retain the seat, will have to run in a special election within the first couple of months. I’m pretty sure it’s either within 90 or within 120 days of the vacancy. And of course the seat will be due for its regular election in 2014 as well.

      I don’t think Barney Frank could beat Scott Brown in a statewide election this March.

      • c u n d gulag

        Oh, shoot. You’re right about that special election! I had a brain spasm. Sorry about that.

        I’d be interested to see a poll from MA on who is more popular right now, Frank or Brown?
        I could probably google it, but I have to go and run an errand.

        • Pestilence

          or, just be blatant about it and change the MA law back to its old form where the governor appoints someone to fill the rest of the term, screw the special election. If the republicans are going to be blatant, why not follow suit?

          • John

            Not the rest of the term, but until the next regularly scheduled election. In this case that would be the same thing, but not always.

      • jon

        Barney Frank did just fine running in his suburban district. He could wipe the floor with Brown. Warren wasn’t the greatest of candidates, but won handily. Coakely was a terrible candidate. I think there’s a lesson there.

      • John

        I don’t see why Barney Frank couldn’t beat Scott Brown. Everyone opposed to the Kerry nomination seems to think that Scott Brown is some kind of unbeatable political god. Elizabeth Warren, who was not actually a particularly good candidate (I think she’ll be a good Senator, but she was a mediocre candidate at best) just beat him handily.

        The only reason Coakley lost to him is because the election took place at just about the worst time possible for the Democrats, she didn’t take him at all seriously until it was too late, and she made a bunch of mistakes.

  • Tnap01

    What’s the chance that this is all part of a 11 dimensiony strategy to ultimately have Biden and Clinton switch positions?

    • Richard

      Tell you what. I’ll give you 100-1 odds that this doesnt happen. Makes no sense whatsoever.

    • If there is an 11-dimensional chess game being played here, it’s this: Obama wanted Kerry all along, and has now allowed the Republicans to talk him into appointing Kerry.

  • Bizono

    Why do I get the feeling that Rice withdrew her name from consideration because Senate Democrats didn’t want to stick their precious necks out too far during the nomination fight?

    I’d love to be wrong about this assumption, but…

    • Davis X. Machina

      Are you sure it was the Republicans? Or just Senate Democrats?

      Progressives didn’t like her either, whether it was Iraq, or her and her husband’s investments in oil and tar sands.

    • I really, truly think that Rice withdrew because she realized that if she survived the confirmation fight, she’d spend the next four years battling the whisper campaigns about her being “too brash” and “too blunt” and “too b-word we’re dancing around but is totally what we mean”. She decided it wasn’t worth it.

    • I’m not sure that Democrats, even Senate Democrats, are frightened of foreign policy fights vs. the Republicans anymore.

      When was the last time the Democrats lost a foreign policy fight? “Please proceed, Governor.”

  • Its exactly what Obama did in ’09: appointed a lot of Dem senators, reps and Governors to various positions, really screwing with our Majority win. Arizona may never recover from losing their governor.

    • jon

      Yep. Obama shouldn’t run from confirmation battles. He should appoint excellent people, and use the process to build the number of qualified Democrats and to create stronger areas of political power or the party.

    • John

      The senators he appointed were Clinton and Salazar – both were replaced by Democrats who won their special election.

      The governors he appointed were Sebelius and Napolitano. They were both term-limited as governors, and it is just wildly, wildly unlikely to think either of them would have won senate elections in 2010. Are you really suggesting that Napolitano would have beaten McCain in 2010?

      The only member of the House he appointed was Hilda Solis, who came from a super-Democratic district.

  • Murc

    Rice Out

    … wait, this isn’t a thread about customizing imported asian motorcycles?

    I really thought LGM was branching out for a second.

    • S_noe

      Or a rap battle, ending with Susan R throwing down her mic. She totally should’ve done that at the press conference.

  • Richard

    There is no reason to believe Rice would have made a better Secretary of State than Kerrey (or, as far as I know, vice versa). Rice is still UN Ambassador and, almost assuredly, will get another high ranking position with the administration in the coming year.

    Yeah, the Republicans torpedoed her nomination and it was absurdly unfair since she had nothing to do with Bengazi but her not getting Secretary of State position is really a very minor thing.

    And as far as losing a Senate seat, its likely that Kerrey would have gotten Defense if Rice had gotten State so a Senate seat would have been lost in any case. Kerrey has made it clear he wants a cabinet position and that he is owed one.

    • Scott Lemieux

      Kerrey has made it clear he wants a cabinet position and that he is owed one.

      That’s nice. Obama also owes the country as few Republican senators as possible, and I know which one I consider more important.

      • Richard

        So you make a decision. Odds of Dems retaining the seat are, I would guess, a little better than 50-50. You piss Kerrey off by not giving him any cabinet position (and send an unwelcome message about rewarding friends and loyal supporters). Which is more important? I don’t think thats an easy call.

      • Obama also owes the country as few Republican senators as possible, and I know which one I consider more important.

        Writing it up this way implies that the Republicans winning the Senate seat is just as certain as Kerry getting the Secretary of State job.

  • Jameson Quinn

    But if they keep taking MA’s senators, then they’ll get petchy* when Warren runs for president.

    *Cross between “petulant” and “bitchy”, without the misogyny.

  • Joe

    “If the Kerry seat opened up, that would make 10. Scott Brown would likely run, and win.”

    He could win. And, I guess this sentiment is okay since it helps to encourage Obama to pick someone else. But, must we exaggerate here?

    Kerry, to me, is the Republican choice now. Pick someone else.

    • Kerry, to me, is the Republican choice now.

      That’s not a particularly good way to go about important business.

      If the Republicans like Kerry, Obama should drop him, even if Obama wants him?

      There has to be more to governing than dissing the opposition.

  • Rice has been very bad for Africa. Her unconditional support of Kagame and Museveni in their plunder and rape of Congo quite literally in this case makes her unfit to be Secretary of State. Her cover up in the UN for Rwandan and Ugandan aggression against Congo is not a secret. She was instrumental in facilitating the worst type of behavior by these regimes. See the work of Jason Stearns for instance on just how bad Rice has been in supporting crimes against humanity in Congo.

    • Hogan

      Does Rice make policy all on her own?

      • No not all on her own. But, that does not eliminate her moral responsibility for helping to formulate and implement these policies. Even if the policies were formulated by Obama completely on his own without Rice’s influence she would still bear responsibility for executing them. Why “progressives” only deny this with regards to Rice I do not know. They have no problem with the fact that while Kissinger was subordinate to Nixon this did not magically eliminate his moral responsibility for things like backing the 9/11/73 coup in Chile. The fact is that the Obama policies towards much of Africa, but certainly Congo have been absolutely awful. There are a lot of dead mean and women in Congo killed by proxies and soldiers of Rwanda and Uganda, two regimes that have received massive assistance from the US. This assistance has facilitated these crimes.

  • Secretary of State is an extremely important job.

    If the President thinks he has to have John Kerry in that slot, he shouldn’t saddle the country with someone he does not really want, on the off chance that lightning will strike twice in Massachusetts.

  • It does seem like Kerry thinks he is “owed” the job, and that bothers me. Why is he owed it? Is he really the most qualified person for it? Naturally the Senate will think so– John Tower is the only senator I can think of who got denied a cabinet appointment. When the world is in cinders and populated exclusively by cockroaches and Cher the Roach Senators will still extend senatorial courtesy to their own.

    • John

      Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, member of that committee for over 20 years, and former presidential nominee of his party is a pretty solid resume.

      On the whole, I’m in favor of the idea that cabinet officers should be prominent working politicians and not faceless technocrats.

  • Josh G.

    President Obama should find someone even more objectionable to the Republicans than Rice, and nominate them. Giving in to these idiots just empowers them more.

    • Pestilence

      Well Bill Clinton’s at a loose end now the election season is over

      • IM

        what is Al Sharpton doing this days?

  • Dan

    On one hand its absolutely embarrassing that a democratic president can’t get who he wants on his foreign policy team and naming Kerry could easily mean the loss of a (vital; given cloture voting) senate seat.

    On the other hand I saw Eli Lake moping about this in my blog feed the other day.

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