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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Swiftboating Susan Rice

Republicans were against John Kerry before they were for him. And therein lies a trap.

We've already noted the seemingly irrational Republican attack on Susan Rice, Barack Obama's presumed nominee to succeed Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State. But now the full Machiavellian nature of the gambit is coming into clearer view.

Our own John Kerry, he who the GOP impugned as a war criminal eight short years ago, has emerged as the Republican's No. 1 choice instead of Rice. Leading the charge is Kerry's friend, John McCain, R-Hey You Kids Get off My Lawn.

The flip-flop has not gone unnoticed:
Gone are the criticisms of Mr. Kerry as a waffler who tried to have it both ways on the Iraq war and the caricature of him as a windsurfing symbol of privileged East Coast liberalism. Instead, Mr. Kerry, a Democrat, is depicted as a deeply knowledgeable statesman who would breeze through confirmation on his way to Foggy Bottom. 
The reason behind the sudden embrace of Long Jawn is pretty easy to figure out too. The Republicans smell a chance to reinstall their favorite "moderate" Scott Brown, R-Barn Coat.

Republican senators, who lost two seats amid the rejection of Mitt Romney, are still putting party over country in their machinations. And they are not even being subtle:
Yes, he should run again!” said Senator-elect Jeff Flake of Arizona, flashing a smile. “I’m not saying that’s why I would support John Kerry’s nomination, but we always want more Republicans around here.” [Alaska Republican Lisa] Murkowski said she, too, would like to see Mr. Brown run again. [Maine Republican Susan Collins campaigned heavily for Mr. Brown in his failed re-election bid, and was crushed by his loss.
There has been an assumption that Brown would be a front-runner to fill any vacancy left by a Kerry appointment to the cabinet, either to State or Defense as has been speculated. That's because of the seeming dearth of candidates who could oppose Brown in a special election like the one which brought him into office in 2011.

That's not quite true as some of the same (unsuccessful) contenders last time around like Mike Capuano say they are holding the fire.

But even more important than any eventual Democratic nominee is the fact the situation in 2013 is likely to be very different. Brown was the recipient of a quiet wave, built by the AstroTurf-managed Tea Party uprising that crested at the right time and caught Martha Coakley and Democratic leadership by surprise.

Tea Party fervor is waning, witness the trouncing of Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock in what should have been winnable Republican seats.

And even if a unexpected surge should begin next year, Brown now has a record as a nice guy who went unnecessarily nasty. The legislative record he would now have to defend is not what he claimed it to be either. His defeat was pretty substantial and there would be required rehabilitation.

And this time around, Democrats will not be left standing there mouth agape. No more People's Pledges.

For this intrusion into Massachusetts politics to succeed however, the first step is to swift boat Susan Rice they same way the GOP turned their weapons on Kerry eight years ago.

It's a shameful piece of power politics at the expense of a president's right to choice his own team. And it shows Republicans have learned nothing from the voters' repudiation of their extremism.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

The irony is rich.

If Republicans hadn't swiftboated Elizabeth Warren in their successful bid to block her from being appointed head of the CFPB Scott brown wouldn't be out of job; and they wouldn't be swifboating Susan Rice now to try and pave the way for Scott Brown.

The press is all over this swifboating, in the same way the voters of Massachusetts were all over Scott Brown's campaign premised on race and character attacks.

We know the names of every Republican engaged in the smears -- McCain, Graham, Ayotte, Collin, and Corker -- and their narrative keeps changing while not building a stronger argument.

Obama seems less in the mood to concede now that he's learned it buys him nothing. If he wants Rice for State, he can have her.

But we may lose Kerry to Defense anyway.

Either way, I'm good to go.

How awesome would it be to beat Scott Brown AKA Trucky McBarncoat twice in a a year?

- Nancy

November 30, 2012 5:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wouldn't a second campaign against Scott Brown just be "What Elizabeth said", since she punctured and deflated his claim to be bipartisan with her detailing of the actual partisan nature of his Senatorial votes, and he already blew his nice guy image with the nasty one he ran against her? Trying to run again so soon after this loss with everything fresh in the voters minds seems pointless. They need another candidate. The claim of being "Number 41" no longer has value. What else does he bring?

November 30, 2012 8:11 AM  
Blogger Chris Rich said...

I suspect all this speculation about a Brown rerun is the best example of shallow pundit think I've yet seen.

We know Warren's campaign personally registered 150,000 new voters and has a superb ground game.

Brown probably knows that too as does his likely backers.

We saw how utterly lazy and unimaginative both Romney and his mini me Brown were this go round, foolishly thinking that throwing money at our declining set of hick tv stations and newspapers was going to do numbers.

Those resources were not applied to making an impeccable campaign ground game and there isn't much evidence they'll have the handle on making one in a state that mainly despises them beyond pockets of the disgruntled.

Neither Obama nor Warren are dismantling one of the most stunning vote enlistment operations seen to date.

Brown knows that too, most likely. He may be callow but he isn't stupid.

The pity is how stupid the widely discredited pundit class right and left have become with these breezy ineptly cooked speculations.

Take that Tomasky!

November 30, 2012 12:11 PM  

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