If Susan Rice fails to become the next Secretary of State it will be due less to Republican Senators and more to the quiet civil war of staffers that has been raging inside the Obama Administration for the last four years. While Obama’s people have retained most of their hold on domestic policy, foreign policy has been slipping into the hands of Clinton loyalists. And with Hillary Clinton leaving, allowing her position to fall into the hands of the woman who betrayed her would be a reversal of the Clintonization of Obama’s foreign policy.
While the Republicans have attacked Rice for lying about Benghazi, only to be met with cries of racism, the Clintons have taken a more cunning route, targeting Rice for her African record. Much of the blame for that record lies with the Clintons, who neglected Africa, at least as much as it does with Rice, but the Clintons have never been sticklers when it comes to launching completely hypocritical attacks.
The Clintons know that an attack from the right will have no traction, that is why they instead veered to the left, targeting Rice on Keystone. They know that attacking a black Obama loyalist is dangerous territory, so they outsourced the work to African hands who are calling Rice to account for her sympathy for African tyrants.
The endgame is to create another sticking points for the Democrats to make Rice seem not worth defending against the Republicans. It’s an effective pincer movement that may end up spelling the doom of Susan Rice’s career. Once you’ve tried to get through the gate and failed, the resistance to trying a second time will be far higher.
The Clintons don’t win every game, the current administration is a reminder of that, but their power comes from their ability to reward staffers and make a difference for the party. Bill Clinton had to be called back in 2012 reminding everyone that he is still a player, and with his dropped lines about Bain, reminding everyone that he still has the power to rattle the nerves of Obama loyalists.
Orchestrating John Kerry’s closing number as Secretary of State would give the Clintons a moral and political victory, while humiliating the Obama loyalists one more time. The Clintons are hardly conservative, about as much as Kerry is, but in the face of the radical left that is now running things, they tend to look it and have staked out that corner of the office. Foreign policy, particularly Iraq, was where Obama picked his fight with Hillary Clinton. Hijacking Obama’s foreign policy has been Hillary’s revenge.
The editorials are already lining up.
At the San Francisco Chronicle, Ruben Navarrette Jr suggests, “Democrats need to avoid a messy fight over a Cabinet nomination when there are much bigger issues to deal with. This will surely be an uphill climb that wastes a lot of political capital. The controversy surrounding Rice and her comments on TV raise questions about whether she is the most qualified choice to be America’s top diplomat. She has too much baggage. Why wouldn’t Obama go with a more seasoned pick such as Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, who is known to covet the job and has the backing of key Republican senators?”
Salon hits Rice over Rwanda. The Atlantic hits her over Africa. Mother Jones hits her over Keystone. Meanwhile NBC suggests that the National Resource Defense Council attacks are acting as a proxy for… John Kerry.
But it’s the New York Times that is most clearly playing the Clinton’s game, casting doubt on Rice’s nomination and her history, while pushing Kerry into place.
The Rice vs Kerry battle has wider implications. An open Senate seat can mean an opportunity for Scott Brown to get back into the Senate.