I wonder if John McCain feels even the slightest twinge of shame over his McCarthyesque campaign to torpedo Susan Rice. Probably not. The McCain who might once have been capable of such decency hasn’t been seen in Washington in many a moon.
It’s important to make it clear that Rice wasn’t targeted because she’s a woman or because she’s black; those defenders who make such claims do her a disservice. Instead, she was targeted because she could be. McCain and his merry little band haven’t been able to lay a glove on Barack Obama, the man who denied McCain the presidency four years ago, and their increasing irrelevance has made them frustrated. But Rice? Rice was somebody they could handle.
That’s because, as U.S. senators, they had something that Rice wanted. She needed their permission to become the next secretary of state, should Obama decide to nominate her to that post, and that made her vulnerable. Through deception and ginned-up righteousness, McCain and his pals at Fox proceeded to turn Rice into the face of a Benghazi tragedy in which she had played only the most peripheral of roles. Like a husband who is angry at his wife but kicks the dog instead, they smeared her as a proxy for Obama.
Yesterday, with Rice’s withdrawal from consideration, they got the scalp they wanted. They “counted coup” on Obama, even if indirectly, and I guess they proved to themselves that they still mattered. But to a lot of other people, they proved something less flattering about themselves.
– Jay Bookman