Obama “genuinely conflicted” over Hillary successor

posted at 10:31 am on December 5, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

So says National Journal’s Michael Hirsh, reporting from leaks inside the White House.  Barack Obama’s first choice to succeed Hillary Clinton at State has run into a trap Obama and his team set for her after the Benghazi attack, while an easy confirmation ride remains at hand.  Decisions, decisions:

President Obama is said to be “genuinely conflicted” about whether to nominate his favored candidate, U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, or Sen. John Kerry as his next secretary of State, two aides said. Rice faces stiff resistance from some Republican senators — as well as grumbling among some foreign-policy elites who question her suitability — yet the GOP objections may backfire, making the president even more likely to nominate her so as not to be seen as backing down. …

Despite harsh criticism of Rice from Republicans, Obama is leaning hard toward her because she’s been one of his closest advisers since 2007, and “she and the president are on exactly the same page on all foreign-policy issues,” said an Obama team official who is privy to the transition discussions. “She represents Obama’s foreign policy in a way that Kerry doesn’t, in other words a new way of being a Democrat on foreign policy.” It was a reference to Obama’s carefully cultivated self-image as a tough commander in chief willing to apply diplomatic leverage to get what he wants and use power aggressively, especially covertly.

In addition, Obama is developing an ambitious foreign-policy agenda for the second term, including nuclear nonproliferation, and “it would be clear to foreign leaders that when Susan Rice is speaking she’s speaking for the president,” the official said. At the same time “he really respects John Kerry, who did an amazing job on debate prep. He respects Sen. Kerry as a leading figure in our party,” said this official, who like others spoke only on condition of anonymity about transition deliberations. Both this official and a senior administration official used the same words in describing the president as “genuinely conflicted” over the choice, which could come as early as next week.

Perhaps another development might make Obama’s decision-making a little more clear.  Kerry’s name leaked a while ago for another Cabinet position, replacing Leon Panetta at Defense.  That aroused considerably more controversy than the possibility of Kerry going to State, given Kerry’s history of equating Vietnam War veterans to the forces of Genghis Khan in testimony to Congress in the early 1970s.  However, another name has emerged as a short-list contender for Defense:

President Barack Obama is expected to announce his nominees for secretaries of state and defense in the next two weeks, with former Republican Senator Chuck Hagel on the short list of potential choices to head the Pentagon, senior administration officials said on Tuesday.

Hagel, whose appointment would give Obama’s reshuffled second-term Cabinet a bipartisan cast, met the Democratic president at the White House this week to discuss a post on his national security team. But there was no sign that Obama had decided on any of the key nominations he will put forth. …

Other top contenders to replace Defense Secretary Leon Panetta are believed to include former senior Pentagon official Michele Flournoy, Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter and Democratic Senator John Kerry.

Hagel would likely get an easy ride in the Senate, where he served for two terms representing Nebraska.  He often disagreed with fellow Republicans on foreign policy, especially on the war in Iraq, of which he became a strong critic.  Hagel has served on Obama’s Intelligence Advisory Board for three years, shortly after he retired from the Senate, so he has been active in the national-security and defense efforts.  Republicans might chafe a bit at Hagel, but won’t give him much trouble — and it will allow Obama an opportunity to look bipartisan.

If Hagel goes to Defense — or if it goes to anyone else besides Kerry — then Obama probably has to send Kerry to State.  Kerry gave Obama considerable time and support during the presidential campaign, and that usually requires some public show of gratitude other than, “Heckuva job, Johnny.”  It’s also the better political play, especially with the concerns over Rice’s record that have arisen on the Left as well as the Right.  With the debt-limit and fiscal-cliff fights already in full swing, a wise President would choose not to waste political capital on Rice and keep her where she is now.  We’ll see whether any wisdom has sunk into the West Wing in the next couple of weeks.

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Flexibility.

Electrongod on December 5, 2012 at 10:32 AM

We all have our priorities. Me, I’m “genuinely conflicted” over spending trillions we don’t have.

Paul-Cincy on December 5, 2012 at 10:32 AM

Hagel is an idiot but he’s probably as good as anything else Obama has to chose from.

rplat on December 5, 2012 at 10:36 AM

Let’s see…ummmm, the rich Black woman, or the rich white woman?

We already know the answer.

And it ain’t gonna be the rich white guy, that’s for sure.

Political correctness has consequences.

coldwarrior on December 5, 2012 at 10:36 AM

The concept of “genuine” is so alien to Hussein Ogabe, he probably couldn’t spell the word without a teleprompter.

Archivarix on December 5, 2012 at 10:37 AM

I’m genuinely conflicted as well. This administration has made nothing but bad choices.

HotAirian on December 5, 2012 at 10:38 AM

“she and the president are on exactly the same page on all foreign-policy issues,”

Why yes they are– The lying and cover-up page.

Slainte on December 5, 2012 at 10:41 AM

“genuinely conflicted”

Obama has no idea what “genuinely conflicted” is.

This stuff is not “genuinely conflicted.”

“Genuinely conflicted” is watching your crazy recently ex-spouse drive off the mountain cliff road in Maui in your brand new Escalade.

coldwarrior on December 5, 2012 at 10:41 AM

a wise President would choose not to waste political capital on Rice and keep her where she is now.

Which is why I expect to see him nominate Rice :P

Ukiah on December 5, 2012 at 10:41 AM

Obama “genuinely conflicted” over Hillary successor

…”that word” and JugEars?…together… in a sentence?

KOOLAID2 on December 5, 2012 at 10:42 AM

This administration has made nothing but bad choices.

HotAirian on December 5, 2012 at 10:38 AM

Soon, we will get the answer to the question: Who would be the worst choice for America?

Fallon on December 5, 2012 at 10:43 AM

It’s as sure as white on rice…

right2bright on December 5, 2012 at 10:43 AM

Bull!

It’s all shiny objects while the car goes over the fiscal cliff…

locomotivebreath1901 on December 5, 2012 at 10:44 AM

I would be pleased to think he is conflicted. And then I consider the source of the story. And then I consider the subject of the story. Hence I assume it’s all BS.

DanMan on December 5, 2012 at 10:44 AM

“genuinely conflicted”

Means he has to make a decision…any decision he is “conflicted”…

right2bright on December 5, 2012 at 10:44 AM

Obysmal is all about audacity. For that in-your-face attitude, he will choose Rice for SoS and Kerry for Defense.

onlineanalyst on December 5, 2012 at 10:44 AM

I’d be surprised if there was enough room for both Barky’s ego and Jawn F’in Kerry’s (who served in Viet Nam) ego to fit in the same administration together. In fact, I find it a little hard to believe that Barky even likes Kerry, let alone would reward him this way.

bofh on December 5, 2012 at 10:44 AM

What is the conflict? Lefties are interchangeable in that they all think alike. Hagel on the other hand might be mentally ill.

kenny on December 5, 2012 at 10:45 AM

Reposted from Headlines thread:

Between the two? If there is really not a “none of the above” option, I think Kerry would be the better choice. At least he has not recently gone on national television and directly lied to the American people about a failure of this administration so bad it lead to the deaths of our people.

Plus, at least if you appoint Kerry, it opens up his seat, and we have a chance to put a Republican in there. Even if it’s a longshot and even if we end up with a moderate like Scott Brown, that’s still a shot at being one step closer to a Republican majority.

However, my instinct is that Obama will pick Rice. She went out and lied for him, he’s itching to stick it to the Republicans who have opposed her, and he wouldn’t want to risk losing Kerry’s Senate seat.

Shump on December 5, 2012 at 10:19 AM

This is a pretty good analysis, and why in general Republicans should prefer Kerry to Rice. Scott Brown would probably run again in the election replace Kerry, and I think he would likely win. He had a majority approval rating when he was voted out, and now that the White House and senate are both “safely” back in the Democrats’ hands, MA voters won’t have to fear a unified Republican government.

Also, while Kerry is of course pretty far left, he also has a huge ego. If he’s head of State, you can be sure that the person whose interests he will be most concerned with advancing is John Kerry. Rice, on the other hand, looks like much more of an Obama loyalist and will probably see her primary role as advancing his agenda.

The flip side of this is that, for the same reasons, Obama probably vastly prefers Rice to Kerry. The problem, of course, is that Kerry will have a much easier time being confirmed.

sadarj on December 5, 2012 at 10:42 AM

sadarj on December 5, 2012 at 10:46 AM

“Genuinely conflicted” is watching your crazy recently ex-spouse drive off the mountain cliff road in Maui in your brand new Escalade.

coldwarrior on December 5, 2012 at 10:41 AM

+1 for veiled Hana Highway reference! Excellent.

bofh on December 5, 2012 at 10:48 AM

Here is where the Republican’s have failed…they should have immediately stated neither one is worthy, what they have given us is to horrible choices, and the Republican’s will be “happy” to concede and allow Kerry to be Secretary.

They should have laughed, and stated…”Nice try, but try to find someone who is actually capable of handling that position”.

right2bright on December 5, 2012 at 10:48 AM

It doesn’t matter who he chooses, he isn’t conflicted. They all have the same goal. Bring down America.

BetseyRoss on December 5, 2012 at 10:49 AM

Go ahead and nominate Rice. And confirm her. Hilarity ensues.

Obama’s foreign policy is already pretty much of a wreck. Susan Rice will certainly provide many opportunities for history to remember the Obama Presidency – none of them good. If this is how he wants to be remembered by history, by all means let it happen!

ss396 on December 5, 2012 at 10:51 AM

Hagel endorsed Bob Kerrey over the GOP candidate Deb Fischer in the Senate race in Nebraska. Even though Kerrey lost, this is probably Hagel’s compensation. If he doesn’t get the spot, just being mentioned raises his value.

Another example of Republicans pleasing those in the NYC cocktail party crowd and getting rewarded.

weaselyone on December 5, 2012 at 10:51 AM

What exactly is a “carefully cultivated self-image?”

Kraken on December 5, 2012 at 10:52 AM

Well if THIS is true the FBI already knows who his choice is.

http://rt.com/usa/news/surveillance-spying-e-mail-citizens-178/

Doesn’t matter what new face you put behind the podium.

The goal in DC is always the same GROW FEDERAL POWER and influence.

Which means what for individual liberty?

PappyD61 on December 5, 2012 at 10:54 AM

“She represents…..a new way of being a Democrat on foreign policy.”

What the hell does that entail, Deny, Deflect, and Pass The Buck?

pilamaye on December 5, 2012 at 10:55 AM

Barry always rewards his friends.

GarandFan on December 5, 2012 at 10:55 AM

I still can’t shake the nausea from knowing this SCOAMF won a 2nd term…

Common Sense Floridian on December 5, 2012 at 11:00 AM

That OJT hasn’t paid off yet for his excellency! Maybe the next 4-years will get him up to snuff! Bet he lowers his handicap!

tomshup on December 5, 2012 at 11:00 AM

“he really respects John Kerry, who did an amazing job on debate prep

Kerry printed out the Rose Garden transcripts for Candy to use at the debate. Invaluable asset to the US.

Deano1952 on December 5, 2012 at 11:02 AM

…yet the GOP objections may backfire, making the president even more likely to nominate her so as not to be seen as backing down.

Knowing our childish, petulant, revenge-obsessed Whiner-in-chief, this seems like the most likely outcome.

KS Rex on December 5, 2012 at 11:02 AM

Obummer will install Rice via a recess appointment anyway, so why all the hand-wringing?

KS Rex on December 5, 2012 at 11:03 AM

With the debt-limit and fiscal-cliff fights already in full swing, a wise President would choose not to waste political capital on Rice and keep her where she is now.

He doesn’t care about political capital. Soetero is king. He gets whatever the hell he wants. And what he wants is a cabinet at the state level stocked with minions who share his contempt for our military and his sympathy for Islamic interests.

Right Mover on December 5, 2012 at 11:05 AM

Sad state of affairs, really nothing further needs saying.

D-fusit on December 5, 2012 at 11:09 AM

Obama is an idiot when it comes to personnel, but he may actually be thinking that John Kerry is just too much of a peacock to put in at State. Susan Rice isn’t a diva like Kerry, she would be more like Hillary in being a nose-to-the-grindstone diplomat. Plus there is a possibility of Scott Brown winning Kerry’s Senate seat in a special election, which would not only cost the Dems in numbers, but would also be a dent in Obama’s political armor that he may not be able to afford.

But there isn’t a dime’s worth of difference between Kerry and Rice on foreign policy.

rockmom on December 5, 2012 at 11:10 AM

President Obama is said to be “genuinely conflicted” about whether to nominate his favored candidate, U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, or Sen. John Kerry as his next secretary of State

Susan Rice is a bitter black woman. She will not go quietly after having committed professional Seppuku for the administration by going on no fewer than five Sunday talk shows and knowingly lying her ass off. It was all done with the understanding that she’d get Hillary’s job. But her nomination for the job has become problematic.

If the rat-eared wonder does not nominate her, then he is going have to find some job for her.

Happy Nomad on December 5, 2012 at 11:11 AM

“Genuinely conflicted?” Or did Obama just need a good excuse to give the job to a white male instead of a black female, so he sent Susan Rice out with a laughably false concocted tale of a spontaneous movie review with mortars?

tom on December 5, 2012 at 11:12 AM

This is not a wise president

He’ll double down on rice

cmsinaz on December 5, 2012 at 11:14 AM

The thug is conflicted? Thanks for the laughs.

p.s. Sandy replaced GWB

Schadenfreude on December 5, 2012 at 11:17 AM

May all the media who are married to the gov’t, literally, have cripples (yes, un-PC term chosen on purpose).

Schadenfreude on December 5, 2012 at 11:18 AM

This is not a wise president

He’ll double down on rice

cmsinaz on December 5, 2012 at 11:14 AM

And the only thing “genuine” about him is his absolute contempt for our nation.

Right Mover on December 5, 2012 at 11:19 AM

rockmom on December 5, 2012 at 11:10 AM

Susan Rice isn’t a diva like Kerry, she would be more like Hillary in being a nose-to-the-grindstone diplomat.

Those are not grindstone stains.

Obama wants a sycophant, one who will do his bidding 100%, and one who will not get out in front of him when dealing with the public, nor the press. Can’t allow another star to outshine The One.

Rice fits the bill nicely. Rice has already proven her loyalty, at least five times on Sunday morning talk shows.

coldwarrior on December 5, 2012 at 11:20 AM

Really, How hard is it to find a willing Democommie that will trash our Military bow to our enemies and apologize for America (and its youtube clips) ?

C’mon Barky,….. stop your over-anal izing everything.

FlaMurph on December 5, 2012 at 11:21 AM

“genuinely conflicted”

Obama has no idea what “genuinely conflicted” is.

This stuff is not “genuinely conflicted.”

“Genuinely conflicted” is watching your crazy recently ex-spouse drive off the mountain cliff road in Maui in your brand new Escalade.

coldwarrior on December 5, 2012 at 10:41 AM

A+++++

Del Dolemonte on December 5, 2012 at 11:23 AM

Yepper right mover

cmsinaz on December 5, 2012 at 11:24 AM

Obamasite isn’t genuinely conflicted. He is in the mode of flexing his perceived new found political muscle now that he won the election. He will nominate Rice because the Republicans oppose her nomination to prove he can ram rod whatever he wants past Republicans.

rsherwd65 on December 5, 2012 at 11:26 AM

The only reason to select Rice is for us to be able to mouth the…Hey Kerry, why the long…

right2bright on December 5, 2012 at 11:29 AM

Who gave the order to stand down?

RobertE on December 5, 2012 at 11:30 AM

Doesn’t really matter whom he nominates to State or Defense. By Obama’s calculus, it only needs to be people like himself who are dedicated to reducing the USA’s global influence and reach. He will not sleep until he brings this country to her knees, economically and in foreign affairs and national security arenas. It’s that simple.

TXUS on December 5, 2012 at 11:37 AM

So what, Obutthead is conflicted over which libturd is the bigger horse’s arse or who will be better at covering his?

stukinIL4now on December 5, 2012 at 11:39 AM

Obama “genuinely conflicted”

That stupid look on his face does not necessarily mean that he’s conflicted. He’s clueless and has never been able to make a sound decision in his life.

He’s in way over his empty head.

UltimateBob on December 5, 2012 at 11:49 AM

Barry is conflicted over whether to wear his wife’s bra or jock strap.

trl on December 5, 2012 at 12:02 PM

I understand Obama’s inner turmoil. Both Kerry and Rice are such incredibly worthy candidates.

DaveDief on December 5, 2012 at 12:05 PM

They should have laughed, and stated…”Nice try, but try to find someone who is actually capable of handling that position”.

right2bright on December 5, 2012 at 10:48 AM

Maxine Waters or Hank Johnson

Schadenfreude on December 5, 2012 at 12:08 PM

Rice is an anti-Semite, so she will be Obama’s choice. He’ll want a person with a strong anti-Israel attitude when war breaks out in the Middle East.

zoyclem on December 5, 2012 at 12:08 PM

Maxine Waters or Hank Johnson

Schadenfreude on December 5, 2012 at 12:08 PM

How about Wintour or Glover..

right2bright on December 5, 2012 at 12:13 PM

Conflicted? “Let me see now, call Valerie to find out which appointment would do the most harm to America, and get me the New York Times on the hotline to write up their honorable deeds for the big announcement.”

Don L on December 5, 2012 at 12:37 PM

Maxine Waters or Hank Johnson

Schadenfreude on December 5, 2012 at 12:08 PM

Marxine is “off the market.” I hear she was just handed a cushy position on the House Financial Services Committee.

She’s perfect for the job, of course, since she has been voted as one of the 14 most corrupt members of congress.

UltimateBob on December 5, 2012 at 1:42 PM

I still can’t shake the nausea from knowing this SCOAMF won a 2nd term…Common Sense Floridian on December 5, 2012 at 11:00 AM

Tomorrow it will have been one month. I am still sick to my stomach.

SC.Charlie on December 5, 2012 at 3:22 PM

Rice is his and Mooch’s choice for 2016 president so my money is on her as nominee for Sec of State.
Nothing this regime has done has been popular by a majority. They have no shame, no humility.

FireBlogger on December 5, 2012 at 4:57 PM

Obama, I take it, is a conflicted as swipe.

Sherman1864 on December 6, 2012 at 5:15 AM