U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice has bowed out of the running to replace Hillary Clinton as U.S. Secretary of State. So who sandbagged her nomination?
(1) Susan Rice, who read the foolish talking points about spontaneous demonstrations in Benghazi on four Sunday TV talk shows.
(2) John McCain, who would prefer his old friend John Kerry for the job, especially after the sacking of his favorite general David Petraeus at CIA.
(3) Barack Obama, who didn't back up his "you have a problem with me" tough talk.
(4) Hillary Clinton, Susan's boss and supposed mentor who has been deafeningly silent.
(5) James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence whose office provided the ill-fated talking points.
Here's the thing. September 2012 was Susan Rice's job interview and she muffed it. Hillary Clinton was announced to be retiring, Barack Obama was odds-on for reelection. In the post Iraq War era, the successful candidate for U.S. Secretary of State checks the facts on what the intelligence community gives her. And if what they tells her proves false, she comes up with a better explanation than "I read what they told me to read."
However, it is worth asking whether Susan Rice was set up. "Here, I swear this is true, go read this on TV, I've booked you for four shows. Yes, make the same points on all four." Call me a Susan Rice truther, but I'm not buying that the Susan Rice implosion is a case of spontaneous combustion. Still, she flunked the job interview.
What would a successful job applicant have done? "Yes, hey, these talking points look great, you know I'd love to come on these shows, but I've got a prior family commitment that I just can't get out of. Hillary is really not available? How about we send John Kerry?"