Last week, both Senators John McCain and Lindsay Graham vowed to fight back against Susan Rice, the current Ambassador to the United Nations, if President Obama chose her to replace Hillary Clinton as secretary of State. Their chief criticism of her comes in the wake of the unfolding Benghazi Fiasco that we, for some "unknown" reason, had to wait well over a month, after the election, to begin investigating.
Democrats in Congress wasted no time in accusing Republicans of sexism and racism, which are, of course the only reasons why anybody could dislike a public official. "It is a shame that anytime something goes wrong, they pick on women and minorities," said Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio).
"To batter this woman because they don't feel they have the ability to batter President Obama is something we the women are not going to stand by and watch," said Rep. Gwen Moore (D-Wisc.)
However, the Democrats are actually engaging in a sort of sexism of their own. First of all, why can't a woman be criticized for making a major, and very public, mistake? Men get hammered for it, often by the Democrats themselves, all the time. Are we looking for equality here, or special treatment for women?
Secondly, the Republicans who are criticizing Susan Rice are attacking two possible qualities of her. Either she truly believed in her statements she made to the press regarding Benghazi, in which case they are attacking her competence. Or if she knew she was lying when she went on TV, they are attacking her trustworthiness. Either way, they are basing their criticisms on Rice's actions.
Rice's excuse for these statements is that she was speaking based on the intelligence that they had and it was the best anyone could have done.
The same kind of actions Democrats criticized George W. Bush's secretary of State, Collin Powell, for when he made the case for the Iraq War, based on the "rock solid" intelligence they had. Perhaps Democrats then, were racist as well?
The way the Democrats are telling it, the GOP, if targeting anyone, should be targeting the president for giving Susan Rice her talking points. As we heard from Petraeus on Friday morning at his Benghazi testimony, the CIA knew almost immediately that the attacks were sponsored by al-Qaeda, and Rice's talking points on TV were very different from the one's the CIA had prepared.
So now, the Democrats would have us leave Susan Rice alone because she was just following orders. Well who is being sexist? The GOP, like they would any man, are holding the ambassador responsible for the words that come out of her mouth. In their eyes she is a perfectly capable human being with the capacity to judge her own decision and act responsibly.
The Democrats would have the man in charge of her held responsible for her actions, as if we were in the Victorian era.
Now, should Rice be held accountable? Possibly not. She might have said the words, but she wasn't on the ground in Libya investigating. Whoever put that document in front of her, after editing the CIA's statement down to demphasize terrorism, is the one responsible for hiding the truth.
However, when it comes to confirming her for the single most important cabinet level job in the country, why should she get it? If she isn't accountable for what she said, then it confirms that she is only a mouth through which Hillary Clinton and President Obama speak. It is then clear that as an ambassador, even to the UN, her experience does not give her skills required to run an organization, manage a budget, or formulate an appropriate foreign policy response. Therefore, unless she can bolster her resume with experience beyond being an ambassador (her resume, from a management standpoint, isn't terrible, but she's no Condi Rice), she also can't be considered an experienced and accomplished leader, ready to head-up the State Department.