Factor in, also, that Graham and McCain aren’t figures who inspire the GOP base (both tend to insult the GOP base).
Republicans are going to have to be agile and savvy if they want to stop Rice’s nomination. They have the votes to filibuster, but they will have the media assaulting them, and they will have Democratic race-baiters like Rep. Jim Clyburn delivering crossfire on Obama’s behalf. Republicans who choose to fight Rice’s nomination will have to account for both, along with Obama’s disingenuous and often nasty treatment of them.
Sens. McCain and Graham are poor choices to lead the opposition to Rice. Sen. Ayotte and perhaps Sen. Marco Rubio or newly elected Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas should lead the charge. Cruz could be especially effective at presenting what would amount to a legal case against Rice’s nomination. The Republicans should consider launching an informative ad campaign highlighting Rice’s serial misinformation statements. The ads should also pull together and highlight Rice’s performance as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. She has not been a reformer in an institution that badly needs reform, and which is unpopular with the American people. Tie the UN and misinformation around her neck and dare Obama to nominate her.
Barack Obama will be nasty in his second term, probably nastier to Republicans than he was in his first. He believes that his narrow re-election grants him a sweeping mandate. On Wednesday the media’s disgraceful performance proved to him that he will get an easy ride with them. Republicans should be prepared to fight hard enough to win substantive battles against the Obama-media complex, or not fight at all.