Ever so slowly, Maddow turns!


World’s most brilliant TV liberal speaks with Rich about Rice: Ever so slowly, Rachel Maddow is trying to find the sweet spot.

She's trying to find the way to discuss Susan Rice without get her own self in trouble. Rice has been slandered again and again—and powerful interests support this mob action.

Result? Last night, Rachel tried it again, offering this formulation as she spoke with Frank Rich:
MADDOW (11/13/12): On the issue of Benghazi, the president is trying to put together his second-term cabinet. There's been a lot of talk where John Kerry is going to go, whether he would be secretary of state, whether he might be secretary of defense. There’s this question about whether Susan Rice, the U.N. ambassador, might be elevated to secretary of state.

And the Republicans, of course, tried to turn it into a national scandal that she commented after the Benghazi attack and said that, at that point, best intelligence indicated it might have something to do with that protest about the film. The intelligence community essentially later changed its mind saying, no, they don’t think it’s related. And the Republicans have tried to hang her out to dry on that subject.

Do you think that’s over, or do you think if she gets the secretary of state nomination, that’s a real hurdle for her?
According to this adorable child, it was “the Republicans” who did this to Rice. For career reasons, she can’t say that many big foot mainstream players have advanced the same line too.

That sort of thing just isn’t done!

Whatever! Last night, in this amended account, how close did this darling child come to getting it right? For our money, Our Own Adorable Former Rhodes Scholar still gets a C-minus, at best.

On those famous September 16 Sunday shows, did Susan Rice really say that “best intelligence indicated it might have something to do with that protest about the film?”

In our reading, Rice didn’t actually state a view about why those “extremists” armed with those “heavy weapons” came to the consulate that night and “hijacked” ongoing events.

Meanwhile, has “the intelligence community” now “essentially said” that the attack on the consulate wasn’t related to the film? We haven’t seen that either. Nor has there been a final, official report.

Slowly they turn! Darling children have to be careful when they challenge preferred story lines. Gigantic careers can hang in the balance if they look at the actual transcripts and report the actual facts.

If they dare to mention the fact that it wasn't just "the Republicans." People, it just isn't done!

Yesterday, Kevin Drum was able to perform this service. What keeps our most adorable child—Our Own Rhodes Scholar!—off in the weeds this way?

Frankly, what Rich said: Frankly, Rich wasn’t much better. This was his response:
RICH (continuing directly): I don’t think it’s a real hurdle if she gets it. And frankly, I don’t think Republicans want to go up against a very distinguished African-American woman in public life with no grounds whatsoever.
That was it! Rich pleased us liberals by playing a race card, while saying as little as possible.

This is the way these life-forms move. In all matters involving Standard Press Scripts, they turn extremely slowly.


  1. So Kevin Drum agrees with Bob's analysis, which reveals only that he too is just another sycophantic acolyte of Somerby, arrayed against the majestic Maddow, who though irrelevant, is never wrong!

  2. "In our reading, Rice didn’t actually state a view about why those “extremists” armed with those “heavy weapons” came to the consulate that night and “hijacked” ongoing events."

    This doesn't seem like a gigantic positive--a reason to appoint someone Sec'y of State. It seems to me that Rice was trying to paint the Benghazi attack as unplanned and chaotic when she says (from Drum link)

    "...it looks like extremist elements, individuals, joined in that effort with heavy weapons of the sort that are, unfortunately, readily now available in Libya post-revolution."

    Personally, I don't think I would call a purposeful attack on a foreign power's intelligence base a "terrorist" act. Additionally, there may be other legitimate reasons that Rice wanted to avoid labeling the attack one way or another.

    But if Rice was wary of calling Rwanda a "genocide" because of the political and especially electoral implications as Samantha Power says she was, then why would assume that there is no spin to her words today? Did Rice get where she is today by getting the unvarnished truth out to the public or by serving the political interests of the Clintons?

    --"At the time of the 1994 Rwandan Genocide, Rice reportedly said, "If we use the word 'genocide' and are seen as doing nothing, what will be the effect on the November [congressional] election?"


    1. Here's the non-cherry picked version from the transcript.

      Face the Nation, 9/16/12

      RICE: But based on the best information we have to date, what our assessment is as of the present is in fact what began spontaneously in Benghazi as a reaction to what had transpired some hours earlier in Cairo where, of course, as you know, there was a violent protest outside of our embassy -
      SHIEFFER: Uh-huh.
      RICE: -sparked by this hateful video. But soon after that spontaneous protest began outside our consulate in Benghazi, we believe that it looks like extremist elements, individuals, joined in that - in that effort with heavy weapons of the sort that are, unfortunately,readily now available in Libya post-revolution. And that it spun from there into something much more violent.

      Next we'll be hearing that Rice's 9/16 statements are really pro-gun control screeds.

  3. Did they publicly hold Bush accountable for all the diplomatic deaths on his watch. 38 as I recall. Oddly I don't remember a single word back then. Hypocrites!

    1. Back then, running deficits to fund wars was a good thing for the economy.

  4. There is a bit more that Ms Rice said in that interview, and there she certainly seemed to imply that the Benghazi events (such as she knew them to be at the time) was sparked by the video. It's on page 2 in the ABC transcript:

    "RICE: It's actually the opposite. First of all, let's be clear about what transpired here. What happened this week in Cairo, in Benghazi, in many other parts of the region...

    TAPPER: Tunisia, Khartoum...

    RICE: ... was a result -- a direct result of a heinous and offensive video that was widely disseminated, that the U.S. government had nothing to do with, which we have made clear is reprehensible and disgusting. We have also been very clear in saying that there is no excuse for violence, there is -- that we have condemned it in the strongest possible terms. "

    This statement does seem to imply that in her view, the events in Benghazi (attack included) came as a result of the movie.

    1. She said, "What happened this week in Cairo, in Benghazi, in many other parts of the region was a result [of the video]." Since protests occurred in all of those places, but a violent attack on an American diplomatic mission only occurred in one of those places, it seems the only logical deduction is that she was saying video triggered the protests, not that the video triggered the attack that killed Stevens.