JournOlist Cage Match: Ben Smith, Politico Fight for Post-Rice Spin
Did the JournOlist hotline go down, or something?
Here's Ben Smith fuming at Obama for not backing Susan Rice:
Susan Rice is essentially a repeat of Gitmo in 2009," a former Obama administration official emailed moments after Susan Rice withdrew her name for secretary of state Thursday afternoon. "You have to give up on her because the politics are so bad that the White House thinks it can't win. But the politics are so bad because they spent too long not fighting for it and instead just watching things get worse. Self-fulfilling."
And torpedoing Rice is not, of course, the only — or even the top — item on the agenda of Republican hawks led by Senator John McCain. Obama faces pressure to intervene militarily in Iran; to get more heavily involved in Syria; to confront Egypt's new leadership; and to, in general, continue to keep a distance from the more liberal foreign policy he articulated for much of his career.
But-but-but-but according to Politico, it was Rice who made this decision because….
President Barack Obama was prepared to battle for Susan Rice, but her withdrawal from consideration to be the next secretary of state means he won’t get a fight — over this.
Rice’s decision pre-empts what was expected to be an intense confirmation battle that could have swallowed key first months of the president’s second term – and perhaps big-ticket agenda items along with it.
So which is it? Did Obama cave? Or was the chivalrous Super Obama ready to go to war until Rice volunteered to fall on her sword with Obama begging her not to the whole way?
Either way, what we're seeing is a media in disarray and completely caught off guard. Smith is angry because the Left didn't win this one (New Media did) and Politico's desperate to help Obama hold on to his chivalrous credentials even as Rice meets the underside of a bus.
So in many ways the message coming out is a win-win: Politico ensures Obama doesn’t lose his standing with the ladies and Smith keeps him in line by calling him a wimp. Which means…
I take it back. The JournOlist hotline is working!
Remember, it's the spin that matters, not The Truth -- never The Truth.
Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC