Posts Tagged ‘Secretary of State’
November 28th, 2012 at 4:56 pm
Susan Rice Seems Cooked

Another day of congressional testimony for Susan Rice comes with more indications the Ambassador to the United Nations will not become the next Secretary of State.

But do pity Ms. Rice, at least a smidge.  With the finger-pointing circus around the Benghazi, Libya fiasco, it’s hard to keep the story straight on what exactly happened and who was responsible for hiding that information from the American people.

To clarify things, The Blaze website (quoting Buzzfeed) lists at least five official versions of the truth from the Obama Administration:

  1. References were removed to not tip off al-Qaeda and were substituted with “extremists,” according to David Petraeus.
  2. The links to al-Qaeda were too “tenuous” to make public by the Directorate of National Intelligence because the source wasn’t trusted.
  3. “The talking points were debated and edited by a collective of experts from around the intelligence community,” not just DNI, according to a DNI spokesman.
  4. The CIA told Senators McCain, Graham, and Ayotte the FBI removed references to al-Qaeda from the talking points “to prevent compromising an ongoing criminal investigation.”
  5. The CIA later called Senators McCain, Graham, and Ayotte back, saying they had misspoken to them and that they – not the FBI – had edited the talking points.

On the bright side for Ambassador Rice, so far none of the misrepresentations have implicated her or her office as the source of the misinformation.  At most (so far), we’ve got diplomatic (Rice and Hillary Clinton) personnel parroting information from the intelligence community whose job it is to resource diplomats.

As I understand it, it’s the DNI, CIA, etc.’s job to gather, interpret, and communicate information so that the diplomatic arm of the federal government can use it.  Sure, more and better questions seemingly should have been asked by Clinton and Rice, but ultimate responsibility for knowing and articulating what happened in Benghazi rests somewhere in the alphabet soup of the intelligence community.  Those lines of responsibility won’t change if Rice replaces Clinton at State.

Cold comfort, though, since it looks like scuttling Rice’s nomination will be the only chance the Administration’s critics get to actualize their displeasure.  Welcome to Washington.

November 14th, 2012 at 5:04 pm
Obama’s False Machismo
Posted by Print

Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham preempted President Obama’s East Room press conference this morning by announcing that they would attempt to block — through use of the filibuster, if necessary — the potential nomination of U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice to replace Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State.

Their rationale: Rice was directly responsible for propogating the Administration’s now completely-disproved contention that the Benghazi terrorist attacks were the product of an angry mob that spontaneously turned to violence. Whether Rice is guilty of incompetence or deception (there’s really no other plausible alternative), McCain and Graham argued, no one who was party to the Benghazi debacle should be expecting a promotion.

That stance led to the president attempting to go all alpha male in his remarks at the White House:

“When they go after the U.N. ambassador, apparently because they think she’s an easy target, then they’ve got a problem with me,” Obama said. “And should I choose, if I think that she would be the best person to serve America in the capacity at the State Department, then I will nominate her.”

“Then they’ve got a problem with me?” Obama might as well have gone with “Nobody puts baby in a corner.”

No one is actually afraid of this president. Which is why Graham’s response was so perfect:

Mr. President, don’t think for one minute I don’t hold you ultimately responsible for Benghazi.  I think you failed as Commander in Chief before, during, and after the attack.

Just so. The White House is going to need more than bluster to dodge accountability for what happened in Libya.

September 14th, 2012 at 3:01 pm
On How Foreign Policy Matters….

Ashton, citing Troy earlier, writes that foreign policy definitely matters in an election. I agree with both of them. That is one reason I thought Jon Kyl should be on the short list for Veep, and why I insisted, against all common wisdom, that Rick Santorum should also be considered. Romney definitely could use somebody with acknowledged “chops” on foreign and defense matters right now. (I hasten to add that I remain THRILLED that Ryan is the running mate; I think he is absolutely terrific, but just for other reasons.)

But here is where I am going to suggest that Romney throw a real long ball. I have been thinking of this all year, no matter who the nominee was; indeed, I have thought of it in past presidential cycles too, but never decided it would be a useful game changer… until now.

I think Romney should choose, and publicly name, who his Secretary of State will be. I don’t think this has ever been done before, pre-election, so it would attract a ton of attention — and, since obviously Romney would choose whomever he chooses with an eye both on competence and on the political advantages the person would offer (in terms not of electoral votes or anything crass like that, but in terms of demonstrating good executive judgment on Romney’s part for making such a wise choice), the attention would almost all be of the positive sort.

Romney could then, in effect, outsource almost all statements on foreign affairs to the Sec. State-designee, who surely could run rings around the Obamites every time he/she goes on the air as a Romney surrogate.

At least a half dozen names suggest themselves as people who would be immediately accepted across the spectrum as a designee of substance and gravitas. (The only disadvantage of this is that Romney would politically be precluded from naming somebody who is a lightning rod for controversy, such as John Bolton, whereas a Bolton choice in the usual way, after the election, would still be possible.)

The one name, by the way, I would put at the top of the list is the same one I started this post with; Jon Kyl. Few people in Washington, and almost nobody on the right, are afforded such universal respect as Kyl is. And he could really pound home the issue of missile defense (probably bolstering the Polish-American ethnic vote in the Rust Belt while he was at it), on which he is extremely well versed, and explain why our abandonment of Poland and other Eastern European nations on this issue was such a horrible mistake. And Kyl sort of bridges the divide on the right between what some wrongly call the “Neo-cons” and those who are more isolationist: Kyl is not really identifiable in any one camp, other than being clearly “Reaganite.”

Regardless of who the choice would be, it would look good for Romney: bold, innovative, and presidentially decisive and confident, willing to let the public judge his choice before the election and giving a sense of his leadership style.

It’s worth serious consideration.

August 4th, 2010 at 11:59 am
SB 1070 Drafter Wins Kansas GOP Primary for Secretary of State

As CFIF reported, there is more to Kris Kobach than being the principal drafter of the Arizona’s illegal immigration law SB 1070.  Last night, Kobach secured the Kansas Republican Party’s nomination for Secretary of State.  The accomplishment makes him likely the highest profile SOS candidate in the country, and is sure to put election law-related issues at the forefront of the midterm elections.  First up on Kobach’s agenda?  Requiring all voters to provide a photo ID when casting a ballot.

Stay tuned.