When Congressional Republicans came out and passionately opposed the nomination of Susan Rice for Secretary of State, I was confused. They blamed their opposition on their belief that she intentionally misled the public in her statements on Benghazi. I couldn’t fathom why they would be making such ridiculous claims considering the fact that it is common knowledge that she was working off talking points provided to her. They quickly followed up with an endorsement that gave me the explanation I needed. They were simply playing politics with this woman’s career in order to gain an extra seat in the Senate.
For the sake of argument, I’m going to assume that all of my readers are intelligent enough, no matter which side of the spectrum they are on, that they will all understand that a spokesperson using talking points is not directly responsible for the content of those points. She didn’t write them and had no reason to suspect that there was anything wrong with them. However, Republicans saw an opportunity, no matter how morally wrong, to potentially gain back one of the seats they lost in the Senate this November.
The only way for Republicans to mitigate some of their loss in the election was to find a way to remove one of the Democratic Senators from office. The Secretary of State nomination was a chance to have a Senator resign and get a special election to replace the Senator. By creating a controversy about Susan Rice, they were able to cause concern about her appointment. Eventually, Mrs. Rice decided to withdraw her name from consideration.
During the controversy, many Republicans began pushing for Senator Kerry (D-Mass.) to be nominated. Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) said, “I think John Kerry would be an excellent appointment and would be easily confirmed by his colleagues.” Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) said, “If the president wants an easy confirmation hearing and an easy confirmation process, what he would do is nominate John Kerry.”
The reason that Republicans have pushed for Kerry is that they feel that they have a very strong candidate in Massachusetts to replace him. Outgoing Senator Scott Brown is a heavy favorite for the position. Democrats spent almost $40 million to overcome Brown in this year’s election. It is unlikely that they could find a strong enough candidate with enough name recognition to defeat Brown. A handful of potential candidates have been discussed by the media, including some representatives from the House. Assuming any of these congressional representatives do run and win the special election, another special election would have to be held for their seat in the House. That provides Republicans a chance to gain back a seat in the House.
One article I read mentioned the possibility of actor Ben Affleck running for the office. A constant political activist, Affleck wouldn’t speculate about the possibility of a dive into political service. While he may have a disadvantage in his lack of experience, he would definitely win the name recognition battle with Brown. Perhaps that’s exactly what Democrats need.
I don’t mind the game of politics. In fact, moral issues aside, I believe that this was a very smart play by Republicans. The problem I have is that they destroyed Susan Rice’s chance at the top office in her chosen field. They did so simply to gain a seat that still won’t give them a majority. This is one instance of politics being immoral. It takes a very dishonorable person to destroy the dreams of someone by accusing her of an obviously untrue ethical violation while doing so only to gain a little more power.
While I do believe that Senator Kerry will be a good Secretary of State, and that he deserves the position he wants, I would have liked to see President Obama find a replacement for Hillary Clinton that didn’t allow Republicans to win the power game that cost Susan Rice her rightful position. Now my only hope is that the people of Massachusetts are intelligent enough to find a replacement that doesn’t give Republicans the power they are so desperate to claim. You never know…maybe this time next year we’ll all be talking about the impact of Senator Affleck.