Two clips for you on this slowest of news days from Newsbusters and Mediaite. Today’s meme du jour is distinct from Friday’s alleging that Republicans like McCain and Graham are racist and sexist for picking on Obama’s designated stooge in the Benghazi mess. That meme’s still alive and kicking — James Clyburn pushed it this morning — but this one’s different. It’s not so much that Colmes and Scarborough et al. think that criticism of Rice is racist, it’s that they seem to think it can be spun as racist and therefore the “optics” should be enough to back Republicans off after the nightmare of November 6. Of the two memes, I actually find this one more obnoxious. Demagogic though he is, Clyburn is at least raising a question of unfairness. Scarborough and the “Game Change” gang aren’t. They seem open to the idea that Rice should skate on her role in misleading the public on a huge counterterrorism failure simply because it’s politically unhelpful to the opposition to challenge her. I wonder, then, is there any timeframe for when the optics of “a bunch of old white guys” questioning a minority appointee will have rebounded enough to permit basic matters of government oversight? Is it okay if the GOP challenges her so long as non-white non-old guys like Tim Scott or Darrell Issa or Ted Cruz or Rubio do most of the questioning? Because there is in fact plenty in her record with which to challenge her. Let’s hash this out, because the DOJ might want to send a few thousand more guns to Mexican drug cartels and the “bad optics” excuse will come in handy when attempting to question Holder.
If you want to concern-troll the GOP on Rice’s behalf, there’s a better way to do it. Press them on the fact that they’re letting the broader Benghazi inquiry get bogged down on Rice’s nonsense, which deserves criticism but remains the least part of the administration’s failings. We still don’t have a solid answer about why military reinforcements couldn’t make it to the CIA annex in time to save Doherty and Woods even though the attack on the consulate had begun nearly eight hours earlier. And I don’t know why Rice’s name is now a dirty word while Hillary Clinton, who was ultimately responsible at State for Stevens’s disgracefully poor security, remains basically untouched in all of this. I can only assume it’s a combination of her popularity, the fact that she’s on her way out anyway, and her friendships with Senate Republicans. McCain’s not going to go after his old drinking buddy, is he?