President Barack Obama threw down the gauntlet last week when he accused Republican lawmakers for unfairly attacking his United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice over her explanation to five Sunday news shows regarding the attacks in Benghazi that left four Americans dead, including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens.
“If Sen. McCain and Sen. Graham and others want to go after somebody, they should go after me,” Mr. Obama said referring to remarks that Ms. Rice was unqualified for Secretary of State made by Senators Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Republican, and John McCain, Arizona Republican.
“For them to go after the U.N. ambassador, who had nothing to do with Benghazi and was simply making a presentation based on intelligence that she had received, and to besmirch her reputation is outrageous.”
Amb. Rice appeared on five Sunday shows days after the attack in Benghazi and proceeded to blame an online movie trailer, based out of Southern California, that was critical of Islam for the attacks. Both the President and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton continued to wrongly blame the film trailer. As more details of the attack emerged, the administration began to call the attack an act of terror. GOP members on Capitol Hill still have questions as to who told Amb. Rice to appear on television and blame the film trailer.
Democratic members of Congress attacked Republicans for their criticism of Ambassador Rice. Saying that their claims are “racist” and “sexist”
“All of the things they have disliked about things that have gone on in the administration, they have never called a male unqualified, not bright, not trustworthy,” said Rep. Marcia Fudge, Ohio Democrat. “There is a clear sexism and racism that goes with these comments being made by unfortunately Sen. McCain and others.”
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, California Democrat and chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said that critics of Amb. Rice were trying to “assassinate her character” while Rep. Gwen Moore, Wisconsin Democrat, commented of McCain and Graham that “To batter [Rice] because they don’t feel they have the ability to batter President Obama is something we the women are not going to stand by and watch.”
One must question, though, where all the self-righteousnes from Democrats were when President Reagan’s UN Ambassador Jeane J. Kirkpatrick was treated horribly their own left-wing.
In 2004, during a speech the then former UN Ambassador gave to a group of young conservatives in New York during the GOP convention, I learned she no longer addressed college campuses. The reason? Kirkpatrick was heckled and booed off of UC Berkely’s stage during an address she attempted to deliver in February of 1983.
Dartmouth English professor and Nixon presidential speech writer Jeffrey Hart wrote of the Berkeley incident at the time in an April 16 Gadsden Times piece. He points out that while there was plenty of warning there would be a disruption at Kirkpatrick’s speech, the university administration did nothing in advance to prepare for such an interruption.
“To take a neutral model, a loud drunk in a movie theater would be summarily ejected by the management or, if necessary, by the police. At Berkley, campus policemen in the auditorium could have gone down the aisles ejecting the shouters and taking their student identification cards for later action,” Hart wrote.
As a result of her experience at Berkley, Kirkpatrick canceled her commencement speech at the women’s school Smith College. According to the NY Times, the Reagan official who coined the phrase that foreign policy wise, the left is the “blame America first” crowd, found out that Smith “could not assure her security during possible demonstrations against her visit.”
Later on in the year in March, Kirkpatrick addressed 4,000 people at the University of Minnesota and was heckled into silence there too.
Even when it came to awards, Kirkpatrick could not catch a break. In May of 1983, students at Barnard College collected over 1,000 signatures to petition that she be denied the Barnard Medal of Distinction award. The NY Times reported:
Members of the faculty voted, 48 to 18, last week to pass a resolution against the award, and more than 200 students and faculty members met with the college’s president Friday afternoon to give their views.The controversy arose from the feeling by some faculty members and students that giving Mrs. Kirkpatrick an award at the May 17 ceremonies would be the equivalent of endorsing her political views and those of the Reagan Administration, something they do not think the school should be doing.
In terms of sexism and racism, have liberals forgotten how often former President George W. Bush’s Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice has been attacked? To this day she is the target of slurs from those who cannot stand she was part of a Republican administration. In 2004, a radio host called her “Aunt Jemima” and then went on to say she was not qualified to be Secretary of State. According to the AP:
John Sylvester, the program director and morning personality on WTDY-AM in Madison, said in a phone interview Thursday that he used the term on Wednesday’s show to describe Rice and other blacks as having only a subservient role in the Bush administration.
The Washington Post’s Colbert King, no fan of the George W. Bush foreign policy, criticized Senator Barbara Boxer, California Democrat, in 2005 over her line of questioning during Rice’s confirmation hearing:(bolding is mine)
But Boxer, rather than sticking to Rice’s performance as national security adviser and her qualifications to direct U.S. foreign policy, chose instead to gratuitously characterize her as a Bush loyalist who was blindly parroting pro-Iraqi war lines without regard for whether they were true.
Boxer said to Rice: “I personally believe — this is my personal view — that your loyalty to the mission you were given, to sell the war, overwhelmed your respect for the truth.” Loyalty to the mission you were given, to sell the war. Ponder the weight of that statement. It comes close, at least in spirit, to the picture of Rice sketched by political cartoonist Pat Oliphant a few weeks ago. In case you missed it, Oliphant drew a big-lipped, bucktooth Rice perched like a parrot on President Bush’s arm. Bush was speaking to Rice in baby talk, with Rice replying: “Awwrk!! OK Chief. Anything you say, Chief. You Bet, Chief. You’re my HERO, Chief.”
It’s hard to imagine a more demeaning and offensive caricature of a prospective secretary of state, let alone the most senior official on the national security staff. It’s equally difficult to understand what prompted Boxer to imply that Rice is little more than a diligent echo of Bush’s thoughts. There’s nothing in Rice’s background or in her performance to suggest that she is a mindless follower of presidential orders. In fact, Rice comes across as just the opposite.
So the president and other Democrats want critics of his “blame America first” UN ambassador to lay off her, because she is black and a woman? Does the president and his allies realize how incredibly patronizing that comes off? Apparently, President Obama has no concern over how he is willing to make Ambassador Rice look weak and we only need to look at the strength of her current predecessors and potential predecessors, if she becomes Secretary of State, to make the case.