As regular readers know, I’m something of a collector of asinine punditry. In the past, Tom Friedman, Joe Klein, and Gail Collins have all secured their place in my pantheon. But look out for the Daily Beast’s Michael Tomasky, who has been breaking land speed records for inanity of late. Here’s an excerpt from his latest, defending U.N. Ambassador (and likely Secretary of State nominee) Susan Rice:
… Are [Republicans] really considering filibustering the president’s choice to be the nation’s leading diplomat? That would constitute, among other things, an interesting form of minority outreach from the party that now says it’s so serious about winning over people of color. That party’s only two targets right now are Rice and Attorney General Eric Holder. Gee, what might they have in common, d’you think?
A couple points:
- Ignoring professional incompetence on the basis of race is not a form of ‘minority outreach.’ It’s a form of moral cowardice.
- These rabid right-wing bigots are masters of disguise. Tea Party enthusiasm for the likes of Allen West, Mia Love, and Herman Cain was obviously an elaborate misdirect. And we should probably add Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, and Susana Martinez to that list, since the hatred must extend to brown people as well.
The rest of Tomasky’s analysis has to be read to be believed.
He defends the choice of Rice to be the Administration’s public face on Benghazi (despite the president’s concession that she had nothing to do with the issue) by noting that “Secretary of State Hillary Clinton should have been the one to do those shows, and she was asked first, but she said no.” Oh, well, that explains that. Of course, why wouldn’t the Secretary of State be indisposed to respond to a security disaster involving American diplomats?
Defending Rice’s complete misrepresentation of what happened in Benghazi, Tomasky trots out the Administration’s excuse de jure: “David Petraus has confirmed that while he knew or sensed from the start that it was a terrorist attack, America’s 16 intelligence agencies weren’t ready to say that publicly, mostly for fear of tipping off the bad guys. So Rice said what she was told to say.”
It doesn’t matter if it came from Petraeus or not — this is an incredibly stupid excuse. You worry about tipping off terrorists when you have intel before an attack and think that keeping it quiet could thwart the plot and/or bring the terrorists to justice. You don’t do it after an attack, when said terrorist group is telling you they did it. Acting like you don’t know who’s responsible at that point doesn’t make you calculating; it makes you an idiot. And if the Administration wants to claim that it knew what was going on all along, then it behooves them to explain why they chose an affirmative lie rather than a policy of relative silence.
The upshot for Tomasky: ‘Benghazi … was a terribly sad tragedy, but the kind of thing that, in a dangerous world, happens.” A man who responds to avoidable homicide with fatalistic detachment. That about says it all.