Today Susan Rice withdrew her name from consideration for the position of Secretary of State. She had been cited as one of two major candidates for the position, the other being Senator John Kerry. She stated that she did not want to see a protracted, politicized confirmation process. She will evidently stay on as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations.
In comments made by Dr. Rice during an interview on national television shortly after an attack on the American embassy in Benghazi she made certain statements about the attacks, that while consistent with the facts as presented by our CIA, were later shown to be more complicated. A new and more advance interpretation was advanced. All this unhappily occurred before the presidential election.
Political motives were advanced to explain Dr. Rice’s version presented during the press interview and while much of this was explained after the fact after the CIA presented it’s version of the facts to the appropriate Congressional committee. Nevertheless, the damage had been done, as by then several Republican senators had made highly critical remarks, not once but several times. Senators John McCain, Lindsay Graham and Kelly Ayotte were the main senators who weighed in. Initially, it was Senator McCain who suggested the Rice should not be considered for the position of Secretary of State, but the others weighed in as well.
It’s not my purpose here to lay out a timeline detailing all of the criticisms leveled. What is, however, of real concern is how a major candidate for the position of Secretary of State in a Democratic administration can be effectively drummed out consideration by the questionable criticisms of three Republican senators within a month of the reelection of President Obama and yet a month before his inauguration to the second term of his office.
While I am sympathetic to Dr. Rice’s wish to avoid a long, and potentially nasty confirmation process were she to nominated, I find it especially troubling that the matter has come to this point.