Democrats want to make the debate over UN Ambassador Susan Rice's potential appointment as Secretary of State all about race and gender. Perhaps they are right: there hasn't been a white male appointed to the post since Warren Christopher (who?).
The last two Democratic nominees were both women, and the last two Republican nominees were both blacks; all were confirmed by large bipartisan majorities. (Perhaps we are overdue for a gay Asian or something; Lt. Dan Choi is said to have a keen interest in international affairs.)
Anyway, here are the top ten reasons to oppose Susan Rice's appointment as Secretary of State:
10. Rice was once opposed by members of the Congressional Black Caucus. Rice's career as a Washington insider led some in the Congressional Black Caucus to oppose her appointment in 1997 as Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs. Their attack was racial and spurious--she was part of an "assimilationist black elite," they said--but worth remembering as the CBC, the left and the media accuse others of bigotry.
9. Refused to call Rwanda genocide a "genocide," for political reasons. According to Obama advisor Samantha Power, Rice urged the Clinton administration not to call the Rwandan genocide what it was, for fear of the political impact on U.S. congressional elections in 1994. She and others worked to sanitize references to the genocide, scrubbing government memos to remove words such as "genocide" and "ethnic cleansing."
8. Opposed providing life-saving HIV/Aids drugs to Africa. In the late 1990s, when Vice President Al Gore attempted to protect U.S. pharmaceutical companies by blocking the overseas production of cheap generic drugs to fight HIV/Aids, Rice defended his policy. Eventually, after vigorous international protests, the U.S. dropped its objections; under President George W. Bush, it made those drugs available throughout Africa.
7. Prevented the U.S. from taking Osama bin Laden from Sudan. During her service in the Clinton administration, Rice blocked efforts to work with the government of Sudan, which had offered to hand over Osama bin Laden. Rice also blocked efforts to reach out to Sudan in order to cooperate in fighting terrorism. (At the time, the Sudanese government was pursuing a brutal civil war, but the Darfur genocide had not yet begun.)
6. Rebuked Israel at the UN Security Council. In 2011, even as she delivered the U.S. veto of a UN Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlements, Rice rebuked America's closest regional ally: "we reject in the strongest terms the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlement activity." That includes "settlement" in Jewish areas of Jerusalem, and legal construction in towns likely to remain Israeli in any peace agreement.
5. Absenteeism at the UN. Rice has developed a reputation for failing to show up at work, even for critical votes. In 2009, she missed the vote on the anti-Israel Goldstone Report to tape an interview on the Jon Stewart Show. In 2011, she was absent from UN Security Council meetings on Libya, Haiti and Palestinian statehood. This past fall, she (and Obama) skipped an opportunity to meet with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
4. Failure to act against violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). When she has shown up for work, Rice has often done more harm than good. The eastern DRC has seen a renewal and escalation of conflict in recent weeks, with reports of ongoing atrocities. Rice has reportedly prevented these issues from being raised in the UN Security Council, allegedly relying on assurances from regional African leaders.
3. Support for anti-American campaigns at UN. Rice led the U.S. effort to join the corrupt UN Human Rights Council in 2009--a club of tyrants that exists to heap abuse on the U.S. and especially on Israel, while frequently ignoring--or electing--truly abusive regimes. In reporting to the council in 2010, Rice's delegation enthusiastically decried ongoing human rights "problems" in the U.S., including Arizona's immigration law.
2. A pattern of past falsehoods. Rice notoriously lied about the fact that then-Senator Barack Obama had promised to meet with enemy leaders "without preconditions." Rice denied that he had done so, even though he had made the pledge several times in public, including during a presidential debate, and even though his own campaign website noted that Obama supported "direct presidential diplomacy with Iran without preconditions."
1. Misinforming the public about the Benghazi terror attacks. Rice, acting on direct orders from the White House, went on five Sunday morning talk shows to claim not only that the Benghazi attacks had been caused by an anti-Islam video, but that no evidence supported any other explanation. That was not only false, but defied even the available intelligence that Rice had seen, even after the talking points had been modified.