U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, President Obama’s designated fall gal for the Benghazi debacle, trooped over to the Senate to meet with three of her top critics today. It did not go well.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC): ???Bottom line, I???m more disturbed now than I was before, The 16 September explanation about how four Americans died in Benghazi, Libya, by Ambassador Rice, I think, does not do justice to the reality at the time and in hindsight clearly was completely wrong.???
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ): ???We are significantly troubled by many of the answers that we got and some that we didn???t get concerning evidence that was overwhelming leading up to the attack on our consulate.”
Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH): “It’s certainly clear from the beginning that we knew that those with ties to al Qaeda were involved in the attack on the embassy, and clearly the impression that was given, the information given to the American people, was wrong.”
Well, okay, but what do those two old white guys and Honorary Old White Guy Kelly Ayotte know? They’re just a pack of racists and sexists. There is no legitimate criticism of Susan Rice. She’s a helpless naif who spouted ridiculous propaganda fed to her by still-mysterious forces within the intelligence community, after they nefariously edited the talking points prepared by then-CIA Director and biographer magnet David Petraeus, to remove all mention of the blindingly obvious true nature of the Benghazi attack. This left poor Ambassador Rice sputtering about a completely phantasmal “spontaneous video protest” that absolutely no one who knew anything about the consulate attack believed for a moment. Her gullibility makes her an excellent choice for Secretary of State. If you disagree, you’re no different than Merle the Evil Redneck from “The Walking Dead.”
Rice issued a statement after the meeting in which she formally conceded that she was pushing a pile of nonsense during the crucial news cycles following the Benghazi attack: “We explained that the talking points provided by the intelligence community, and the initial assessment upon which they were based, were incorrect in a key respect: There was no protest or demonstration in Benghazi. While we certainly wish that we had had perfect information just days after the terrorist attack, as is often the case, the intelligence assessment has evolved. We stressed that neither I nor anyone else in the administration intended to mislead the American people at any stage in this process, and the administration updated Congress and the American people as our assessments evolved.”
Thus is willful disinformation recast as the regrettable absence of perfect information. Somehow the Democrats weren’t much impressed when an earlier black female public official named Rice and her boss wished they, and the rest of the Western world, had “perfect information” about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, but for some reason Democrats are lapping that stuff up like kittens with a bowl of cream these days. No harm, no foul, let’s give the lady a promotion. After all, the truth just lost a big election, didn’t it?
Senators McCain, Graham, and Ayotte haven’t clearly stated if they would firmly oppose Rice’s nomination to Secretary of State, and would have little to gain by doing so before President Obama puts his cards on the table. Graham sounded dubious after today’s meeting… or maybe he was making the opening bid in negotiations over Rice’s future: “Before anybody can make an intelligent decision about promoting someone involved in Benghazi, we need to do a lot more. To this date, we don’t have the FBI interviews of the survivors conducted one or two days after the attack. We don’t have the basic information about what was said the night of the attack … as of this date.”
Perhaps this is Graham’s way of letting the White House know what he wants, in exchange for taking the Rice nomination seriously. On the other hand, he can’t possibly think the Administration will hand that sort of information over. They’re not going to embarrass Barack Obama to get Lindsey Graham on board with a nomination they can simply ram through the Senate. All indications suggest the Democrats are rather looking forward to an opportunity to push their racism and “War on Women” themes in a showdown over Rice, calculating that the American public doesn’t care enough about the dead of Benghazi to make them pay any real price for her nomination. And if by some chance she’s nominated and blocked, it won’t be hard to find someone else for the job.
President Obama feels that he called America’s bluff on Benghazi in the 2012 election, and won. He won’t have any trouble calling the bluff of Senate Republicans after such a victory… especially not when the confirmation of Susan Rice as Secretary of State would effectively put the Benghazi story away forever.