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By Blocking Susan Rice, is the GOP Paving the Way for Scott Brown?

Friday, November 16, 2012


Some observers said the political manuevering in Washington surrounding President Obama's second term cabinet appointments may open the door for the return of Republican Senator Scott Brown in another special election.

UN Ambassador Susan Rice is one of the few names on a short list for Secretary of State alongside Massachusetts senior Senator John Kerry. Arizona Senator John McCain, joined by fellow Senate Republicans, attacked Rice for allegedly covering up the real story behind the September 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi, Libya that left four Americans dead.

Aside from scoring political points from the attack now that the election is over, Republicans may have a vested interested in disqualifying Rice for the post or blocking her appointment.

Clearing the Way for Kerry?

"GOP attacks on Susan Rice are designed to derail her Secretary of State appointment and clear the way for John Kerry," said Darrell West, vice president and director of Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution.

A move from the Senate to the cabinet by Kerry would immediately bump Democratic newcomer Elizabeth Warren into the senior seat in Washington and set up a situation in Massachusetts much like the one the Commonwealth faced when trying to fill the Senate seat left vacant by the late Ted Kennedy.

"An open seat election will have a far lower turnout than a general election and thereby be advantageous to a Republican candidate," West said.

"That is how Scott Brown won the seat originally and that could be a winning strategy for him again."

However, other experts, such as American University's Jennifer Lawless, remained unconvinced of the Massachusetts-centric power play.

"Even if the GOP's attacks are related to clearing the field for Scott Brown -- and its unlikely that they are since one more GOP seat doesn't help with party control -- I cannot imagine that the Administration will be influenced by them."

Srini Sitaraman, an associate professor of Political Science at Clark University, said Rice is a damaged candidate at this point due to her ties to the Benghazi affair, and the contentious hearings that would follow from her nomination would make it an unwise move for Obama at the beginning of his second term.

If Kerry is appointed, said Lawless, it will be because he is the right person for the job, not because of GOP maneuvering. And if the Obama administration is concerned about Brown picking up another formerly-Democratic Senate seat in Massachusetts, they can always approach him about changing his affiliation to Independent and caucusing with the Democratic majority.

Robert Boatright, an associate professor of Political Science at Clark University, said the attacks against Rice are unrelated to Kerry. The Senator's name has also been circulated for the position of Secretary of Defense, so Obama could have Kerry in his cabinet either way. And he would likely earn the Senate's approval whether it means his Senate seat falls into Republican hands or not.

"Senators tend to feel better about their own people," said Boatright, "this has nothing to do with partisanship, more to do with the fact that Senators know Kerry and I suspect he would get support from Senate Republicans regardless of what would happen with his seat."

Mass Effects

Assuming that Kerry moves on to one cabinet position or the other, that will be when the political machinations in the Commonwealth begin to come to light, and a number of variables still remain.

While Brown would be the frontrunner for the Republican nomination, Boatright said the emergent Democratic candidate is less certain, but some intra-party negotiating to avoid a divisive primary would be likely.

"There are many Democrats waiting to run, and the way in which Warren appeared likely frustrated many ambitious Dems."

Boatright said the whole process serves as evidence that special elections are not the right vehicle for selecting Senators. But prior to any special election, Governor Deval Patrick would need to appoint an interim Senator, which introduces another set of uncertainties.

"Last time he avoided picking sides among Democrats, choosing someone who had made it clear he would not run in the election," he said. "Perhaps he would not do that this time."

Sitaraman was less certain about Brown jumping right back on the campaign trail after his loss to Warren earlier this month, especially with the Governor's office up for grabs in 2014 and presidential contests not too far in the offing.

"My guess is that Brown may not compete again for the Senate, at least this soon," said Sitaraman. "Say he does and loses again, that may not bode well for this future political career."

On the Democratic side, Sitaraman did not rule out Patrick, Attorney General Martha Coakley, who lost to Brown the first time around, or Lieutenant Governor Tim Murray, even though he announced his interest in being Governor on Thursday.

"There might be some shuffling, but I think the Dems are thinking even if they lose Kerry's seat, it might be okay because they could afford to do so."


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Stephen Quist

I am a Scott Brown supporter as a matter of fact I was an Obama supporter supporting Senator Brown.......well that race is over and we need to support the winner Sen-Elect Warren and put our state and country first. To play politics which is what now is occuring in stifling Pres Obamas appointments is just plain abhorrent!
people putting partisianship before citizenship is anti-American!

Iron Mike Farquhar

The issues shouldn't be all that complicated...

Susan Rice was a totally UNDER-qualified for the UN job - except that Obama wanted to appoint people of color to key posts. She has been a failure as a diplomat - instead she's proven herself simply a willing political mouthpiece for Obama.

This was demonstrated completely on Sunday Sept 16th when she went on 5 national talk shows and regurgitated the phony story that the Benghazi Massacre was the result of a move about Mohammed.

In short - she publicly repeated a bald-faced lie - five times in a single morning.

Today she is just a sock-puppet for the Obama Cartel. She can bring no serious diplomatic experience, no special wisdom, no personal credibility, and no gravitas to the position of SecSTATE.

In other words, she is a female version of Lurch.

AND, she is an eager partner to the attempts to bring the USA under the UN handgun ban - a total violation of our sovereignty and our 2nd Amendment guarantees.

Like Lurch - she is married to a foreigner - and that presents security issues.

Both are BAD picks. There are many more worthy patriots with complete résumés available. But, alas, Mister Obama has never been concerned with qualifications or résumés, - only with his left-wing anti-colonial socialist agenda.

Edward Saucier

UN Ambassador Susan Rice had nothing to do with the Libyan Embassy bombing. She was only acting as a spokesman using intel she was given. So while John McCain and his silly pal from South Carolina were giving a press conference slamming Obama and Rice he was oblivious to the fact that the Homeland Security Committee, of which he, McCain, is a member was holding a two hour briefing on the Embassy bombing at the same time. And the two boobs knew nothing about it. And when a reporter quizzed McCain on that screw-up he got very angry at the reporter and had no comment. Seems McCain is as useless a you know what on a bull, and Sue Rice is qualified to be Sec.of State while McCain is not mentally qualified to be a US Senator.

According to the republican conservative extremist Tea-Party governor of Louisiana, Bobby Jindal, the republican party has to stop being the stupid party. At least some of the nutjobs are starting to smell the coffee. And don't forget, Obama asked for more money for Embassy security and the republicans denied that request. And there have been scores of foreign attacks, that resulted in deaths, on our embassies in the past.

Seems to me if you're looking for stupid all you have to do is look for the Arizona Senator and not Obama or Sue Rice. And as far as Scotty Brown goes, I think the people of Mass. know what he is and what he's like and don't want any part of him anymore. And that's a very generous opinion of soon to be ex-US Senator Scott Brown. He's the best Mass. candidate the corporatists can payoff.

Iron Mike Farquhar

Gee Ed, you got all those White House talking points down pat – even better than Susan Rice did on live TV!

Did you memorize them, of just do a cut-&-paste?

>> She was only acting as a spokesman using intel she was given.

Really? I'd expect more of a UN Ambassador. So who should go to jail – Susan – or Obama?

Edward Saucier

Gee Mike, I can write it all by my lonesome using intel from reliable sources. Are you jealous? I notice a lot of your long winded stuff looks cut and pasted.

P.S. It really doesn't matter what you think. Your brain is all cluttered with useless junk.

Stephen Quist

mccain is playing politics and looking for headlines and is completely off base.
Rice spoke to the talking points given to her by the CIA.
End of story.
now mccain can go back to his corner and continue sulking and whining......you republiCants lost the elections now get over it!

Iron Mike Farquhar

And you SpendoKrats may have just killed off our Republic – so be careful what you cheer about. Your words may become your epitaph.

Stephen Quist

The Republic survives another 4 more years because the radical extremist republiCant agenda was soundly rejected..........

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