Dr. Susan Rice the Right Public Servant to Lead the US State Department

By Seyoum Tesfaye

The Republican Party lost the 2012 presidential election for three cardinal reasons: it was not in tune with the ever expanding and crystallizing American diversity, it catered to its narrow base and fielded a weak candidate. The American people made up their mind, in the middle of the most challenging time since the Great Depression, to retain the President, the balance of forces in the Senate and Congress. Never second guess the people’s decision.

The Republican right wingers, pundits and narcissistic talking heads have damaged the old party beyond repair. The right post-election process would have been to minimize the recrimination and venture into soul searching to realign the party with the reality of emerging USA. It is obvious that loosing the presidency has become a very bitter pill to swallow for those who were so sure that the election of Romney was a slam-dunk.  The depth of the anger is manifesting itself in the way the party leadership is approaching the so-called Fiscal Cliff and the possible appointment of Dr. Susan Rice to replace Secretary Clinton  in the US State department.

The cliff is party neutral. If we fail over the cliff we fail as a nation. This will be adding salt on the wound. Both leaderships have to assume the joint responsibility of cost cutting and raising revenue to address the deficit issue. Ideological aversion to raising tax or cutting cost cannot be a valid excuse to push the nation over a cliff at this crucial time. Both leaderships have the urgent duty to resolve this crisis by avoiding intransigence and by being willing to minimize the negative spinning.

What is difficult to understand, leave alone explain, is the reason and tone of negative pre-positioning by some segment of the Republican leadership to the possible nomination of Dr. Susan Rice to the State Department post. The objection raised by Senator John McCain, Lindsey Graham and Kelly Ayotten seems wrongly placed. The Benghazi tragedy should be investigated, facts presented and the lessons summarized correctly. If there was negligence the relevant institutions must be held accountable. This is in the interest of the country.  But to dump all the perceived error on one person who was not responsible to evaluating the crisis and making the minute by minute decision is simply putting politics over the real interest of the nation.

As the third presidential debate demonstrated candidate Romney had almost one hundred percent congruence with president Obama’s foreign policy stand. The people voted knowing this. Historically the Republican Party had a monopoly of foreign policy and defense issue in presidential elections. President Obama with his high-powered leadership team has not only diluted the Republican monopoly but set to rectify the badly damaged US image around the world. President Bush left President Obama a tarnished American image and a destroyed Economy. On both fronts the President has rectified US’ imaged and stabilized the economy.

The very strong attack on Dr. Rice is, in a way, an attack on the President. The President’s evaluation of his UN representative is not only accurate but delivered with the right commitment. On his November 14, 2012 Press Conference he summarized Dr. Rice’s integrated leadership qualities: “Skill, professional and toughness and grace.” The question is: was facing the Sunday morning media gauntlet, as the Benghazi crisis was still unfolding, with the talking points given to her a cardinal sin or a devastating crime worth this much condemnation?  No. There for there must be something the ordinary political radar is not picking up.

Obama’s election might have brought the Republican Party forty year’s drift to the extreme right to an end. He might get a chance to recommend two moderate judges to the Supreme Court as well as strategically recast the role of the US in the new multi-polar world. With the burden of running for another term lifted from his shoulder, he will deliver on his promise to transform USA and set the stage for governing America from the center in a bipartisan manner. The victory has strategically repositioned the balance of force for the coming decade. Under this circumstance the bloated opposition towards Dr. Rice is a subtext to the big realignment.

Dr. Rice as a UN representative has magnificently served the people of the United Sates. President Obama was wise to had chosen her to be his administrations’ principled vibrant voice at the UN.  He was right, when in the same news conference; he defended her with passionate conviction:

“As I’ve said before, she made an appearance at the request of the White House in which she gave her best understanding of the intelligence that had been provided to her. If Senator McCain and Senator Graham and others want to go after somebody, they should go after me. And I’m happy to have that discussion with them. But for them to go after the U.N. ambassador, who had nothing to do with Benghazi and was simply making a presentation based on intelligence that she had received and to besmirch her reputation is outrageous.”

It is up to President Obama to stand by Dr. Rice and nominate her, with the same conviction he defended her in his press conference, to be our Secretary of Department of States for his second term.  For the President to appease the unreasonable objection of the Republican Senators will tantamount to redefining his landslide reelection in their terms. The President must set the national agenda and have a free hand to choose his team without unreasonable intrusion from the Senate in their constitutionally mandated venting process. Election is replayed in the ballot box not in senate or congressional floor.

It is my sincere hope to see Dr. Rice nominated and confirmed as the next Secretary of State thus confirming that everything is possible in America. She has the education, the rich experience and the professional skill to lead the US State Department.

Who- globally- will be scared and frighten by her possible assumption of the post? Brutal dictators, petty tyrants and perennial abusers of human right, terrorists and their facilitators, male chauvinists who think politics is a domain best left for men only, those who do not want young girls to attend school etc. Her straight talk and frankness only intimidates characters who are not used to be challenged by self-assured women and at that an African American women. She projects America’s best value and diversity at the highest level. She is the transforming America under President Obama. Our President must have the courage of his convection to insist that she is his choice for the post. We the citizen must also express our support openly so that we do not leave the platform for the right wing talking heads regardless of where they hail from.

Disclaimer: This article resents my point of view and only my point of view.

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