Wednesday, November 28, 2012


I don't really buy this theory about the Republicans' war on Susan Rice:
... last night. Rachel Maddow came up with a more interesting theory about the relentless attacks on Rice.... They want Scott Brown back. Maybe not 100% Scott Brown himself, but a Republican senator from Massachusetts. It's less about hating Elizabeth Warren (jeez, these intrusive women!) than it is about rearming their filibuster in the Senate by making sure John Kerry is the choice for Secretary of State.
That's more or less what Maddow says here:

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I accept that Republicans will seek out any win they can get -- but how much will they gain if the Senate goes from 55-45 Democrat to 54-46?

And would Brown inevitably win? He'd be a strong candidate, I suppose -- but I wonder if President Obama dined at the White House with Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick on the Friday after Election Day not because he wants to put Patrick in his Cabinet, but because he wanted to work out the possible angles if he picks Kerry for State (or Defense). Patrick could appoint himself the interim senator, or could pick someone else and then run himself (he says he's not interested, but who knows if that's true). His favorable/unfavorable rating in an October Public Policy Polling Survey was 48%/38%, vs. Brown's 49%/42%, so they seem evenly matched. Or maybe Patrick has a better idea for a candidate.

The point is that the return of Brown is in no way guaranteed if Kerry gets a Cabinet appointment, and it wouldn't help Republicans in the Senate all that much even if it happened.

I think the anti-Rice vendetta is mostly just Republicans falling into their usual mode of saying that Democrats damage the country with everything they do in the foreign policy realm -- that's been the Republicans' line since McGovern, and forty-year habits are hard to break. What's more, they really think they own the patent on foreign policy toughness, and it kills them that Obama got bin Laden when their cowboy president failed to do so, and John McCain himself never got the chance to try. They have a desperate need to believe that the White House was concocting a narrative that didn't contradict the "Al Qaeda's on the run" narrative -- never mind the fact that Republicans yelled and screamed about Benghazi for weeks, and the White House did quickly begin to describe Benghazi as a terror attack, and yet Obama won reelection comfortably. I just think Republicans can't believe that the treason card isn't working -- it's worked so well for them for so many years. Painting Democrats as patchouli-soaked traitors has been a reliable go-to strategy. It isn't anymore, but they can't quit this stuff.


Victor said...

Duvall can always put Barney Frank in place, and let him run in the interum election. Or, he can put Barney in as a placeholder until he runs in that election.

Can you imagine the fun of Barney debating Centerfold Scottie?
Or Duvall?

And yeah, this is just a reflex reaction by Senator McGnome and Senator Scarlette O'Graham.

The question is, what does the Jr. Senator from NH think she's going to accomplish by getting on board with these two losers?
Angry foreign policy street-cred from Conservatives?

aimai said...

I don't think he can appoint himself. As I recall they pushed through a new law that made it imperative for there to be an actual election after the Senator steps down or dies midterm in order to prevent Mitt from appointing himself when Kennedy died. Or did I dream that?

I also think that the Republicans have not really grasped the fact that the filibuster is about to go the way of the dodo and that Scott Brown or no Scott Brown all the "independents" and pivotal votes that they used to offer are about to cease to matter.


Kathy said...

I don't know what to think. After a morning of listening to one Republican Senator after another trash Ambassador Rice and then turn on a dime to talk about how much they respect Sen. Kerry and what a great job he'd do as SecState...well, something weird is going on. But what else is true for Republicans these days?

Jeff said...

No aimai, you didn't dream that. In 2004 the legislature passed a law requiring an election with 145 to 160 days of a vacancy. After Ted Kennedy died in 2009, the leg passed another law (Ted had requested a change) allowing appointment of an interim senator until the election is held. That's how we ended up with Senator Paul Kirk for four months.

Steve M. said...

Kathy, I think Republicans are going after Rice because they decided instantly to go on the attack re Benghazi, and she's more vulnerable than anyone else they could attack on Benghazi. Obama and Hillary Clinton and David Petraeus have quite a bit of support in the general public. Rice doesn't -- most people barely know her. So they pounced.

nanute said...

Couldn't this just be a case of McCain attempting to get even for remarks made by Rice during the 04' race? We know McCain doesn't take criticism well, and especially from women. What did he call his wife that time?...

aimai said...

Thank you whoever remembered the details! I'd completely forgotten about our short lived Senator Kirk.

But on the subject of Benghazi and Rice I honestly think that its a question of the dog finally catching the car. I don't think this started with any clear notion of what the Republicans would do if/when Obama nominated Rice for Sec. State because the entire Benghazi thing started as part of the general concerted attack on Obama's presidency and was originally intended to bring the presidency down. Rice was just one of the threads they tried to pull out of the skein of confused events. The real goal, however, was simply to create a scandal that could enable Romney to win back some macho cred on foreign policy.

McCain and Huckleberry Unable seem not to have noticed that the ship of state sailed on November 6th and now all they can do is keep barking after a car that has long since left them behind. They are a crisis in search of a scapegoat--even if they "catch" Rice and then get stuck with Kerry this has nothing to do with anything. Obama is still president. One of this various Sec State picks will do a fine job. And as for any delusions that Scott Brown will waltz back in--I think the numbers in the end showed that when Democrats vote nobody--no republican and no fake independent--can beat them in MA. I doubt if Scottie's glamor will work a second time.


aimai said...

Sorry for the mixed dog/car metaphors.

Steve M. said...

No problem, as long as you keep the dog off the roof.

Victor said...

Or under the car.

Unknown said...

Don't forget that they just got pasted in the election and are desperate for something - ANYTHING - to tell the Villagers to talk about.

Unknown said...

P.S.: And the fact that they're willing to destroy the economy in order to cut taxes for millionaires (again) is not a suitable alternate topic.