We talked earlier about potential changes in President Obama's cabinet, and the multiple reports that he wants to nominate U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice to replace Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State. Republicans, for strikingly inane reasons, aren't impressed.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) has taken the lead in criticizing Rice, making vague accusations about her comments the week of the Benghazi attack. Today, Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) joined him, characterizing Rice's actions as "beyond belief."
Actually, what's beyond belief is this ridiculous smear campaign. Kevin Drum had a terrific piece on this.
The Republican freakout over Benghazi has been shameful, and their insane scapegoating of Rice's appearances on the Sunday chat shows a week after the attacks has been doubly so. Republicans -- aided and abetted at times by reports in the mainstream media -- decided to pretend that Rice had blamed the Benghazi attack entirely on a YouTube video, which they took as dark evidence of a coverup designed to protect Obama. But the truth is that Rice flatly did nothing wrong, a point that bears repeating. She did nothing wrong. [...]
Graham and the rest of the Republican caucus appear to still be in election season attack dog mode, and it's time for this to stop. They have every right to investigate Benghazi, which might very well have been handled poorly in some respects and which might have been a case of poor anticipation of an attack that should have been expected. But Rice's conduct was fine. She very carefully, and very professionally, passed along what was, at the time, the considered judgment of the intelligence community.
Before the election, this organized faux outrage at least served a purpose -- the right wanted voters to see Benghazi as a political scandal involving the White House. But with Election Day having come and gone, this feels like Republicans smearing Susan Rice just for the sake of smearing her.
It's cheap, it's unnecessary, and the White House would be wise to nominate whomever the president supports for the job, regardless of petty partisanship.