Speaking of battles that you thought were ancient history… remember back when that woman – what was her name again? – was a sure fire lock to be the the next Secretary of State? And the Republicans were all up in arms about some television show she was on? And then she really didn’t want to be Secretary of State anyway and John Kerry was Obama’s first choice all along, so what was all the fighting about anyway? Ah… good times, my friends. Good times.

Glad all that is behind us, eh?

Susan E. Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations who lost out in a bruising bid for the job of secretary of state, may have the last laugh.

Rice has emerged as far and away the front-runner to succeed Thomas E. Donilon as President Obama’s national security adviser later this year, according to an administration official familiar with the president’s thinking. The job would place her at the nexus of foreign-policy decision making and allow her to rival the influence of Secretary of State John F. Kerry in shaping the president’s foreign policy.

The appointment would mark a dramatic twist of fortune for Rice, whose prospects to become the country’s top diplomat fizzled last year after a round of television appearances in which she provided what turned out to be a flawed account of the Sept. 11 terrorist attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya.

Doug Mataconis points out the one big difference between a potential National Security Adviser and the Secretary of State. (emphasis mine)

This isn’t really much of a surprise. After Rice withdrew her name from contention for Secretary of State, there was much speculation that Obama would be likely to pick her as his National Security Adviser, a position that does not require Senate confirmation.

This would put Rice right back in the center of strategic planning on foreign affairs, indeed matching or possibly exceeding the influence of Kerry, since the NSA is the person with the President’s ear on the inner circle. And the nature of the position means that President Obama can simply appoint her and be done with it. The GOP in the Senate will have nothing to say about it.

Of course, if Barack Obama actually is trying to mend fences – or at least arrange dinners – with the GOP leadership in the hopes of getting something done, this would be a fairly significant finger in the eye to Republicans. I’ve no doubt it will be viewed as such if it happens, and the President would simply be giving John Boehner and company cover to say that there was no thawing of relations across the aisle coming any time soon.