Swiftboating Susan Rice
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.