It seemed almost like a page from the past. After years of reporting that Susan Rice was the perfect candidate for Secretary of State and any criticism of her was either racist, misogynistic or both, the Left wing press outlets have suddenly brought her down with a volley of personal invective.
Republicans on the Hill had basically limited their critique of Rice to her misleading statements following the Benghazi attack. Liberals, on the other hand, made it personal. Dana Milbank suggested Rice had an attitude problem. Maureen Dowd said Rice was too ambitious and unprincipled for her own good–or the country’s. Yesterday at the Daily Beast, Lloyd Grove launched a bizarre attack on Rice that accused her of having a personality disorder. The left has also been driving the less personal attacks as well. Howard French said Rice’s Africa legacy is the further empowerment of dictators. Human Rights Watch’s Tom Malinowski knocked Rice for essentially enabling atrocities in Congo.
It’s almost as if they had set out to destroy Rice in concert; with pieces aimed at each and every one of the political bailiwicks in which she might claim support. There was a remarkable sameness in the points suddenly raised against Rice by “the avalanche of leaks and criticism and personal sniping that came” out of seeming nowhere.
They include, but are not limited to charges that she was an intellectual lightweight; had sugar-coated the genocide in Rwanda to improve the political standing of her then boss, Bill Clinton; was abrasive, rude even literally flipping the bird at senior colleagues and making fun of ex-POW John McCain’s tours of conflict zones as if he were impersonating GI Joe whenever she was not picking fights with other diplomats at the UN. A total demolition of her reputation in the black community, the old guard Democrats, the Blue Dog Democrats and in the Internationalist set.
Why it’s almost as if Rice were a secret Republican. The suddenness of the turnabout was so great that a link to Ryan Lizza’s complaint that Rice “has launched a political campaign to save her reputation…before she’s even nominated” lingers like a ghost beside Lloyd Grove’s hit piece right beside it.
It was reminiscent of how those Old Bolsheviks were found out to be, after years of apparently serving the Party and Stalin faithfully, to have been secret Capitalist Roaders and Wreckers all along. Who knew? Nobody in Pravda, apparently, until they got the talking points.
This naturally gives rise to conspiracy theories. Ann Althouse thinks she’s figured it out and believes that Barack Obama is using Rice to do a Harry Lime. Rice’s job is to fake the death of the Benghazi scandal so that he can go on doing in whatever he’s doing in secrecy. As Althouse puts it Rice:
was sent out onto 5 Sunday talk shows a few days after the attack, to say something about that terrible video, which is itself a contrivance, a distraction. So make it about the video and embody that in a specific person, whom we never noticed before. And let’s yammer about her for weeks and months until we’re tired of talking about her, and then — who knows? — John Kerry is the real choice for Secretary of State. Rice was always expendable. She was the capsule into which the Benghazi scandal was enclosed for burial. Once we’re tired of Rice… we’ll automatically already be tired of talking about the Benghazi scandal, which never even broke!
For Althouse it is wheels within wheels. Nothing is simple in Washington any more.
Jacob Heilbrunn of the Daily Beast now reliably informs us that Rice was nothing more than a hack whose sole qualification was an eagerness to please superiors. Other than that she was a cipher.
Throughout, her most distinguishing trait seems to be an eagerness to please her superiors, which is entirely consistent with how she rode the escalator to success. Want to avoid declaring that genocide is taking place in Rwanda? Go to Rice. Want to fudge the facts in Libya? Rice is there again. Obama had it right when he observed that she “had nothing to do with Benghazi and was simply making a presentation based on intelligence that she had received.” But why, as Maureen Dowd asked, didn’t she question it? The answer is simple: because she rarely, if ever, questions authority. Instead she has made a career out of catering to it.
Heilbrunn and Dowd’s argument that Obama should fire Rice because she was dumb enough to lie for him is hilarious. Dowd wrote “Rice should have been wary of a White House staff with a tendency to gild the lily, with her pal Valerie Jarrett and other staffers zealous about casting the president in a more flattering light, like national security officials filigreeing the story of the raid on Osama to say Bin Laden fought back.”
What should she have done? Told the truth? Oops, does that mean there’s a truth?
The most disturbing aspect of Susan Rice’s fall is the almost Soviet way in which it occurred, a process which now includes a Daily Beast hagiography of the new heroine, Samantha Power. Heilbrunn writes in a manner calculated to smooth her way in Rice’s old job. “Rice has fallen short, she may be succeeded at the U.N. by her former antagonist Samantha Power, who originally reported that Rice had worked to whitewash events in Rwanda. Unlike Rice, Power has traveled extensively in dangerous regions, combining the professions of journalist and activist. She resembles a modern Rebecca West. Whether the acidulous Power can ultimately muster the diplomatic skills to surpass Rice will be one of the tantalizing mysteries of Obama’s second term.”
Hillary’s gone. Rice is gone. Long Live Power. What comes after her now that two of the three weird sisters have gone into the bubbling cauldron?
Round about the cauldron go;
In the poison’d entrails throw.
Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and cauldron bubble.
That’s unimportant. Any number of people can go into the pot for so long as Barack Obama’s political reputation remains unstained. He never tells a lie. The only people who should go, even according to Dowd, are people stupid enough to lie for him.
Why his political hide should be all-important to the Democratic Party is a mystery. There seems an unending succession of senior officials willing to take the blame for whatever it is he is cooking up as if driven by ambition, greed or fear. It is all so eerie.
I have before me the last statement of Nikolai Yezhov, who succeeded Yagoda and who was in turn succeeded by Beria before he was shot. Three in a row. Three blind mice, each as willing as the last.
Shoot me peacefully, without agonies. If my old mother is still alive, I ask for her old age to be provided for and for my daughter to be brought up. Please do not repress my relatives, my nephews, since they are guilty of absolutely nothing … Please tell Stalin that everything that has happened to me is just a coincidence of circumstances and it is quite possible that enemies whom I missed have had a hand in it
Tell Stalin that I shall be dying with his name on my lips.
Those words, written about the best part of a century ago describe a society in which policy, the interests of the nation and even the Constitution have been subordinated to a cult of personality, where nothing matters except the blamelessness of the One. What was it for, one wonders? For now in the rearview mirror of history there was nothing worth protecting in that One. And yet … Well what little people work in the current administration. And in such large numbers too.