Friday, December 14, 2012

Undercooked Rice

Susan Rice tried to take one for the team, but she put it behind the eight-ball instead.

Rice, the US Ambassador to the United Nations, today yanked herself out of the running (that she presumably was in) to be the replacement for the retiring Hillary Clinton as President Obama's next Secretary of State.

In a letter to the president, Rice wrote, in part, "the confirmation process would be lengthy, disruptive, and costly -- to you and to our most pressing national and international priorities. That trade-off is simply not worth it to our country."

The road to Hell, they say, is paved with good intentions. And Rice just paved another one with her premature bailing on the president.

If you believe the conspiracy theories---and this one seems to have some merit---the GOP assault on Rice's competence to be SOS, which was odd in of itself for its "jumping the gun" nature, is part of a scheme to bring Massachusetts Senator John Kerry to the fore as Clinton's successor. Why? So Kerry's ultimately vacated seat could be filled by, say, recently defeated Republican Scott Brown.

Far fetched? Hardly.

Phase One of that plan is complete, with Rice's too-soon withdrawal from contention.

I must say, I'm disappointed in Rice, a woman in whom I thought was more fight.

She thinks she's doing right by her president and her country, when she is, in fact, putting Obama in a box and feeding into a negative stereotype.

The stereotype is that women are weaker than men, emotionally, and when the heat gets turned up, they do things like Rice did.

It also shows that bullying works, another bad message to send to our young men and, especially, women.

Rice should have hung in there. She should have stood with the president, if it came to his nominating her. Obama is already taking some heat for not supporting her strongly enough, which supposedly led Rice to the decision that she made.

But what was Obama to do? Once Rice tendered the letter, it pretty much forced his hand.





Rice should have floated the notion of withdrawing past the president, first, to test the waters. I'm confident that Obama would have encouraged her to not withdraw, even if he ended up choosing Kerry (the only other likely candidate) instead.

Rice bailed far too early. Frankly, she had an obligation to stick it out. She let down her president, her country and her gender. I imagine there are "binders full" of strong, independent women out there (NOT necessarily feminists, either) who aren't too pleased with this decision.

Perception is reality. And from where I sit, I see a bunch of angry white men who bullied a black woman out of contention for SOS. And she let them get away with it, without much of a fight. 

If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen, is how the saying goes. Only, Susan Rice didn't get anywhere near the kitchen, yet she still failed her gender. How ironic, huh?

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