Cory Gardner, Doug Lamborn Join Susan Rice Bully Squad

Since the election, it’s been widely reported that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton intends to retire in the next few weeks. Speculation about her possible replacement is currently focused on Susan Rice, the United States ambassador to the United Nations. In the immediate aftermath of the attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya on September 11th of this year, Rice initially stated on television that the attacks were due to protest over an anti-Muslim YouTube video, though it has been determined to have been a well-coordinated terrorist attack.

Republicans sought before the election to blow the Benghazi affair up into as large a scandal as possible for perfectly understandable political reasons. Now that the election is over, that motive still exists but with a longer view–and congressional Republicans are still pushing the issue. And to a point, they should. Democrats too are interested in fully accounting for what happened.

Unfortunately, as the Washington Post reported last week, Republicans are taking a reasonable point of inquiry way too far, and making a joke of their oversight responsibility:

97 House Republicans co-signed a letter this week warning President Obama that Rice’s public comments after the attack on the mission in Benghazi “caused irreparable damage to her credibility both at home and around the world.”

The members also told Obama that making Rice “the face of U.S. foreign policy” in the coming years as his next secretary of state “would greatly undermine your desire to improve U.S. relations with the world and continue to build trust with the American people.”

“Ambassador Rice is widely viewed as having either willfully or incompetently misled the American public in the Benghazi matter,” the lawmakers wrote. “Her actions plausibly give U.S. allies (and rivals) abroad reason to question U.S. commitment and credibility when needed.”

Signers of this letter include Colorado Reps. Cory Gardner and Doug Lamborn.

In an editorial today, USA TODAY outlines the stupidity, not to mention the almost comical hypocrisy, of Republicans going after Rice over her early comments about the Benghazi attack:

Working from talking points put together by intelligence officials and later edited by others, Rice peddled the story that the attack sprang from a spontaneous protest, spurred by an anti-Muslim video produced by an American.

That account turned out to be wrong, but it’s hardly a reason to block Rice’s potential nomination. After all, if misleading comments based on flawed intelligence were disqualifying, Colin Powell would have been forced to resign as George W. Bush’s secretary of State and Condoleezza Rice never would have succeeded Powell. Powell’s powerful speech before the United Nations in 2003, proclaiming proof of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction, helped push the United States into a misguided war. Condoleezza Rice also touted the story line about Iraq’s supposed nuclear program, warning on CNN that “we don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud.” No such weapons were found.

Susan Rice’s comments about events in Benghazi are at best a sideshow. Instead of obsessing about what she said on TV after the tragedy, lawmakers ought to be more concerned about finding out what went wrong and preventing a repeat. Why weren’t security warnings heeded and requests for more protection granted? As U.N. ambassador, Rice most likely had zero involvement with those decisions.

To summarize:

1. Even if they’re right, they’re going after the wrong person, and

2. How quickly they forget.

There’s another dimension to this story that we do want to address, though. Following the GOP’s letter and media tour against Susan Rice, who is African-American, some Democrats angrily reacted to singling her out for criticism. Rep. James Clyburn accused Republicans who signed the letter noted above of employing “racial code words,” in part by describing Susan Rice, a Rhodes scholar with a resumé to match anyone’s, as “incompetent.”

Without a doubt, the resumés of politicians such as our own Cory Gardner and Doug Lamborn seem quite humble compared to Rice. And after the election we just had, where women and minority voters played a key role in GOP defeats around the nation, making your first big post-election splash by attacking a black woman really seems like a stupid thing to do–doesn’t it?

Bottom line: we’re not going to allege that Gardner and Lamborn had racist or sexist ulterior motives in signing on to this letter. But just as they have the right to throw around specious charges ripe for political backfire, you all have the right to think whatever you want about their motives. And the stereotype reinforced by this episode…is not about Susan Rice.

14 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. dwyer says:

    Doesn’t Lanborn have a military background?  Didn’t some gd grandstanding congressman leading a committee inadvertingly reveal location of CIA posts?

    Doesn’t anybody understand the need to filter intelligence information to the public in a way to PROTECT people on the ground and specific CIA informants as well as intelligence information.

    These damm men are not talking about reporting to Congress, they are talking about Sunday commercial new shows,  not even C-Span, for god’s sakes.  They are risking the lives of Americans overseas in order to gain(?) political advantage. Attempting to destroy the credibility of the UN Ambassador is unconscionable.  Where is the petition I sign to tell them to go to hell?

  2. FREMONTDEM says:

    Coffman and Tipton did not sign.  

  3. VanDammer says:

    They DON’T!

    So now 100 Republican (it’s just Repugs pulling this bullshit) Representatives (yeah, fools that have NO say in the approval) are just feeding their hard right azzmoles to try and seem relevant.

    It doesn’t matter who Obama would put up because the GOP would piss & whine just the same.  They failed to make him a one-term Pres so they will continue obstructing his appts, they’ll fight the ACA roll-out, they’ll take our credit & economy to the brink yet again and blame it all on Obama.  The game continues with a few new players to swing the ball our side but its same ‘ol same ‘ol.

  4. sxp151 says:

    I’d be outraged like dwyer above if I could even figure it out. It’d be one thing if I knew the Republicans were making false accusations, but I don’t even know what the accusation is.

    Honestly it feels like every elected Republican on this letter KNOWS there’s nothing actually there, but they want to keep the name Benghazi in people’s heads to let them build their own conspiracy theory around how Muslimoid Barack Obama deliberately killed four people for the Bilderbergers or something. This is why Republicans keep backing away any time someone actually asks them about it, and why people like McCain never bothered to actually go to any Benghazi briefing.

    It’s like Romney’s welfare ads: just basic dogwhistle stuff where you carefully dance for the factcheckers but basically just try to keep all your supporters in a constant state of furious racial resentment that falls apart if anyone ever actually questions it.

    “Hey Republican, what are you so pissed off about?” “I don’t know! That just makes me angrier!”

  5. VanDammer says:

    Rice would make it 3 female SoS appts for the Dems and she takes away Condi’s big ticket potential.  Come on 2016!   We could run with our own smart, successful minority woman and raise it further by the fact our Rice has more bona fides and trust without the taint of Bush’s wars.

    2016 is gonna be a helluva ride for female candidates.  What’s the grooming grounds for viable POTUS contenders?  Senate & State Govs are most likely sources and we’re richer now than ever before.

    We know already that The shriveled-raisin testicles of GOPers are thinking Rubio or Christie of Jeb.  We’re gonna see another GOP fail as they fall further from relevance.  Their bigotry and misogyny will roil & fester.  The Akins and Mourdocks are still part & parcel to their being.  Ya cannot learn a Repug, it just don’t happen.

  6. BlueCat says:

    McCain and pathetic side kick Graham have been back pedaling. Looks like the more that comes out, the more apparent it is that Rice did absolutely nothing wrong and one of the reasons is that the CIA was still investigating and, as per standard procedure, didn’t particularly want suspects to know they were suspects yet.

    And having McCain call Rice not particularly bright?  The one positive about his choice of the completely unqualified, bubble headed Palin was that compared to her, he didn’t look quite so dim witted, himself.

  7. Diogenesdemar says:

    the more reasons I have to dislike John McCain.  What a fool he’s become.  

  8. RavenDawg says:

    This is one more argument for reforming Senate rules to reduce obstruction of Exec branch appointments by anonymous holds etc.

    Because you can bet the House right wingers are looking for McConnell’s friends in the Senate to help jam a Rice nomination if/when it comes.

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