Concerning Rice, the best the Dems can do!


One scapegoat gets swapped for another: On yesterday’s Meet the Press, Claire McCaskill was asked if she would support Susan Rice for secretary of state.

We thought her answer was sad. In this answer, you see a newly re-elected Dem advancing the basic GOP line, even as she defends Susan Rice:
MCCASKILL (12/2/12): I think it’s terribly unfair what has happened to Susan Rice. I do not understand for the life of me—the talking points came from the intelligence community, yet you don’t hear one criticism of David Petraeus.

It was his shop that produced the talking points that Susan Rice talked about, and she mentioned al Qaeda in the interviews that Sunday morning. And you go back to Condi Rice. I mean, really? Is there a double standard here? It appears to most of us that there is, a very unfair one.

This is a strong, smart, capable, accomplished woman. And I think that there is too many people over there that are looking for a scalp.

GREGORY: So you should say—you’re saying that the president should take on this fight?

MCCASKILL: I don’t know whether he should take on the fight or not. I know this, that what has happened to Susan Rice is terribly unfair. If you really understand what went on, it is terribly unfair that she should be the scapegoat for this when really the failures ought to be at the lap of the head of the intelligence community that produced those talking points, but none of the guys will say a word about David Petraeus.
First, let's look on the bright side. McCaskill noted a highly relevant fact: Rice "mentioned al Qaeda" on September 16. We have noted this fact again and again. This is the first time we have seen a liberal or Democrat cite it.

It takes a while, but your Daily Howler just keeps getting results!

On the down side, McCaskill's basic defense of Rice was soft and sad. Why blame Rice, she seemed to say. We should really be blaming Petraeus!

As she swapped one scapegoat for another, McCaskill assumed a fact not in evidence. She assumed that fault should be found with the assessments which produced those early “talking points.” She assumed that someone should be blamed for producing that early assessment.

That is the basic Republican line—the basic line which is being used to drive this “scandal” along. We know of no reason to believe it, but McCaskill pushed it along.

"Too many people are looking for a scalp," McCaskill said. She then offered the scalp of Petraeus!

Should someone be blamed for an early assessment which turned out to be wrong in one minor way? At this point, we don't know why—and yes, the error about the demonstration was minor, though our team can't seem to see or say this.

On the other hand, that's what Saint John McCain says, so perhaps it just has to be true.

McCaskill adopted one more miserable line, though this one has come from the liberal side of the aisle:

She’s not as bad as Condi was! We cringe every time liberals say or suggest it, which is pretty much all the time.


  1. McCaskill is NOT a liberal or coming from "the liberal side of the aisle. "

    1. Do you imagine you have made some kind of point with that assertion?


      "McCaskill voted for ObamaCare" says the authority on all such matters. That sure doesn't put her on the "conservative side of the aisle."

    2. Anon. 1133

      Yes. My point is that McCaskill is not a liberal.

      Voting for the Affordable Health Care Act does not make a politician a liberal. I never said that McCaskill is a conservative. It is not an either-or situation.

      Do you feel compelled to agree and defend Somerby on anything and everything?

    3. If one defines "blue dog" he'll find that it is a synonym for McCaskill.

      Susan Rice is not a perpetrator or a victim; she is currently caught in a whirlwind of republican mediocrity and mendacity. The appropriate response to the republicans' accusations is laughter.

    4. 11:33, why the need to definitively labor everyone as EITHER "liberal" OR "conservative"? McCaskill is pretty much like America -- "liberal" on some issues, "conservative" on others, for what those labels are worth.

    5. The point is, she's a Democrat. I would think that she could defend Rice more effectively and intelligently.

      AC /MA

    6. So. All "Democrats" are obligated to defend Rice because "Republicans" are condemning her.

      Can't think of a better definition of tribalism than that.

      Yep, how dare McCaskill think for herself!

    7. No anon 3:16, not what I meant. THD as part of his post mentioned that McCaskill was a liberal and that it was discouraging that even a liberal senator was unable to refute the phony manufactured story that has come from McCain, Fox et al and has been regurgitated over and over again mindlessly by the allegedly liberal biased MSM. Some of the other posters opined that McCaskill is not a "liberal." I don't think i am either, but just someone who agrees with THD that it is awful that the discourse has to be so mind-numbingly stupid. Given this valid premise, outlined repeatedly in minute detail by THD, that this whole thing is a fake, stupid, manufactured scandal, the point is that if McCaskill, whether as a "liberal" or a democrat, ought to be able to present the case in a rational, truthful way, instead of taking for granted much of the bogus narrative.


  2. "She’s not as bad as Condi was!"

    Which, of course, was NOT what McCaskill said. McCaskill was instead wondering if a double-standard was at work, because her repeated statements in the wake of both 9/11 and the run-up to the invasion of Iraq certainly didn't seem to be a bar to her nomination and confirmation as Secretary of State, while one day's worth of statements taken from talking points sure seems to have doomed Susan Rice, at least in the eyes of at least a few members of the Senate.

    1. You are being unsophisticated about potential takeaways -- as opposed to the pure logic of what McCaskill said. That actually IS the impressiion created by that line. TDH is right about this. If there's no reason in the world that Susan Rice's statements should be compared to what Condoleeza Rice did, and there certainly isn't except for the irony in the names, then they shouldn't be mentioned in the same breath. Yes, it does do some valuable work in demonstrating the rank hypocrisy of McCain and the Republicans, but it also undermines Susan Rice unless the defense of her starts from the premise that her statements and the talking points used that day had nothing whatsoever wrong with them.

    2. Really? So when McCaskill say that Condi was the worse Rice? Oh, yeah. It's it's the "impression" you got.

      Well, son, sometimes your "impressions" are wrong, and so are Somerby's if he needs to read McCaskill's mind to come up with that.

      What McCaskill clearly said that nobody, but nobody, parsed anything Condi Rice said for ammo against her nomination as secretary of state.

      Plain and simple as that.

      But of course, you can't turn that simple, uncomplicated statement into another hysterical post about how the sky is falling and only Somerby can see it.

      So you get to make stuff up. Priceless.

  3. Her presentation that day was exactly what it should have been. Exactly. There is no credible case to be made either that what she said was not in any respect whatsoever exactly what she should have said as a foreign policy official making a public statement about who was responsible at that point in the investigation, nor that the talking points should have been different.

    Now, let's see the irrelevancies fly.

    1. Uh, no. Susan Rice made a mistake saying there was a demonstration in front of the Benghazi compound.

      And pretending she didn't say it and she did nothing wrong is tribalism at its worst.

      Even Rice admits her mistake, which on the rank of all time mistakes out of the mouths of pols, hardly ranks in the top 1 million.

      Time to move on and get beyond this utterly trivial "scandal". Let the investigation proceed, and action be taken

      But, in the mirror image of Sean Hannity, you just can't let go of Susan Rice and her utterly inconsequential remarks of, now, THREE MONTHS AGO.

      Nope, you see, "our side" is "right" and "their side" is "WRONG!" So I guess we get to argue this until doomsday.

    2. Quaker in a BasementDecember 3, 2012 at 5:23 PM

      You're still missing the point, anon.

      Even after three months, our major news organizations can't get the most basic facts right. The primary purpose of Mr. Somerby's enterprise is to document this observable failure.

      If this is tiresome to you, excuse yourself. Go read about the "fiscal cliff" or something.

    3. Yep. We sure got "our major news organizations" on the run, flogging and flogging Rice's statements from the middle of September over and over and over again to prove how wrong they are and how right we are.


      Sure is a huge issue in The Daily Howler. And sure is a huge issue on Fox News. But not much of one elsewhere in the world in which people actually live.

      But hey, games of "gotcha" are soooo much fun! It also beats thinking about and doing something about the real problems that confront us. We are so hungry for these diversions.

      Meanwhile, the "fiscal cliff" debate will show us if the election of 2012 actually meant anything. Excuse me for finding that far more relevant than what Susan Rice said in September.

    4. Quaker in a BasementDecember 5, 2012 at 12:17 AM

      Sure is a huge issue in The Daily Howler. And sure is a huge issue on Fox News. But not much of one elsewhere in the world in which people actually live.

      In case you hadn't noticed, "Meet the Press" is NOT a show on Fox News. If you think the Susan Rice contretemps is limited to Fox, we know all we need to about your familiarity with the news.

      And if you think the state of our major news orgs isn't a "real" problem, you haven't been paying close enough attention. Maybe you should stick around after all.

      Excuse me for finding that far more relevant than what Susan Rice said in September.

      What your actions say is that what really interests you is scolding the rest of us who don't conform to the way you see the world.

  4. Oh dear, this sounds familiar...

    As the United States' representative to the United Nations, Rice worked hard last year to block the release of a U.N. experts report detailing Rwandan atrocities in the Congo, reportedly drawing pushback over this even within the State Department.

    When blocking the report proved impossible, diplomats and human rights experts who were involved in this struggle say that she sought to have it sanitized. In the end, it was leaked, which amounted to an end-run around Rice and assured its publication.

    "It ultimately comes down to why would the U.S. ambassador to the U.N. not want things that are true [about that part of the world] to be reported," said Laura Seay, an assistant professor of political science at Morehouse College. "It is really not clear why it was worth it."

    Maybe this time is different.

  5. Rice on MTP on Sep 16:

    What we think then transpired in Benghazi is that opportunistic extremist elements came to the consulate as this was unfolding. They came with heavy weapons, which, unfortunately, are readily available in post-revolutionary Libya, and that escalated into a much more violent episode.

    Ooops, she forgot to mention how, unfortunately, those weapons become so readily available. But that's ok, TDH says she didn't lie (or mislead).

    TDH looks absolutely ridiculous at this point. Rice knew that this well-armed, well-organized attack had very negative potential for her reputation and the President's and she tried to put out a smoke screen. Further denial is beyond naive, it is willful ignorance.