Obama to appoint Susan Rice National Security Adviser, in snub to Benghazi-crazed GOP

In a move seen as thumbing his nose at congressional Republicans, President Obama is to announce today that US United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice will be his next National Security Adviser.

Republicans have placed Rice at the center of their fantastic Benghazi conspiracy theory, and as a result she removed her name from consideration as Secretary of State – the job instead went to former US Senator John Kerry.

The GOP is upset with Rice for, among other things, calling the Benghazi attackers a “mob” shortly after the attack, even though they themselves called it a “mob” in a congressional resolution at around the same.  As Soledad O’Brien, among others, so deftly showed, the attack on Rice is beyond baseless.

Thus, choosing Rice as NSA – a hugely important foreign policy job, that does not require Senate confirmation – is seen as not only a move Obama would likely make in any case, he clearly trusts and respects Rice’s national security advice, but it’s surely to be taken by Republicans as a bit of a slap at them as well.  Which is interesting.

UN ambassador Susan Rice

UN ambassador Susan Rice

I’ve had the sense for several weeks that the administration has been a bit more in the mood to fight back on the various made-for-GOP “scandals,” particularly Benghazi and the IRS, and the rice appointment is further evidence of that.

The National Security Adviser’s role is interesting because that person is in a key position to potentially usurp both the secretaries of State and Defense, depending on the players, and the White House, in question, in part because she’s there in the West Wing, able to get the President’s ear at a moment’s notice.  Henry Kissinger had huge power in the job, while Condi Rice had less (in large part because Cheney had taken over the traditional role as national-everything-adviser).  There’s a good analysis of the varying strengths of the various recent National Security Advisers over at CFR.

Foreign Affairs has a bit more on the role of the NSA (not to be confused with the National Security Agency, NSA):

National security advisers have a tough job. They must serve the president yet balance this primary allegiance with a commitment to managing an effective and efficient policy process. They must be forceful in driving that process forward to decisions yet represent other agencies’ views fully and faithfully. They must be simultaneously strong and collegial, able to enforce discipline across the government while engaging senior officials and their agencies rather than excluding them. They must provide confidential advice to the president yet establish a reputation as an honest broker between the conflicting officials and interests across the government. They must be indispensable to the process and the president yet operate in the shadows as much as possible. They must do the heavy lifting yet allow others to receive the glory. Above all, they must ensure that the president and his senior advisers give thorough and careful consideration to the handful of critical issues that will make or break the administration. And they must handle all issues, large and small, in a manner that establishes and retains the trust of their senior administration colleagues.

It’s a terrific job for Rice, though with slightly less snob appeal than being Secretary of State.  Still, considering everything she’s been through at the hand of the Republicans over these past several months, it’s nice to see the President stick up for her, and see her land on her feet.

And as Eric Boehlert just noted on Twitter, at the very least the Rice appointment is “worth it just to watch Lindsey [Graham] whine.”


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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13 Responses to “Obama to appoint Susan Rice National Security Adviser, in snub to Benghazi-crazed GOP”

  1. Naja pallida says:

    Would be an interesting appointment that I could probably live with, but seems rather unlikely that anyone without a law degree, and who hasn’t already been a jurist, could manage to get themselves through the confirmation hearings these days.

  2. karmanot says:

    She would make great Supreme Court material. If one of those old farts leaves Obama may just have something of a legacy after all.

  3. karmanot says:

    Ah, give it a go cole, the downbots need some love.

  4. karmanot says:

    Some of us aren’t joking.

  5. Moderator4 says:

    Your duplicate comment above was deleted, realista. Please do not post the same comment over again. Thank you.

  6. cole3244 says:

    you obviously can’t tell the difference between apples and oranges, i would be more strident but civility is preferred here.

  7. realista says:

    NO COMPARISON: “Smoking Gun” Rice — With ” Read 5 minute Summary” Rice;

    Among the 234 FALSE or Fraudulent Pre-War Claims Justifying (unprovoked war) … Repeatedly Stated By Bush, Cheney, and “Smoking Gun” Rice:

    • No weapons of mass destruction of any kind were found in Iraq.

    • No mobile biological weapons labs were found in Iraq.

    • Iraq did not seek to acquire yellowcake uranium from Africa.

    • The aluminum tubes were not suitable for nuclear weapons development.

    • Mohamed Atta, the lead 9/11 hijacker, did not meet with Iraqi intelligence in Prague.

    • Iraq did not provide chemical weapons training to al-Qaeda.

    • There was no collaborative relationship between Iraq and al-Qaeda.

    • The implication that Iraq was involved in the attacks of 9/11 was untrue.

    Further, the Bush administration’s assurances of how the war would “Pay For Itself” proved to be completely inaccurate. As detailed in the epilogue of the film, the ramifications of the Iraq War have been tragic:

    The Costs of War: Estimated by US Congress Budget Office: $ 14 Trillion

    • After five years, the American invasion and occupation of Iraq has brought with it more than 100,000 civilian and 4,538 U. S. military deaths, over 30,000 disabled, 300,000 with PTSD.
    With Lifetime Medical Expenses for 1,000,000 Veterans of Iraq.

    • Millions of Iraqis have been displaced from their homes. Nearly 2,000,000 have fled the country.
    • Untold numbers of people have been mentally and physically wounded.
    • Direct War expenditures have exceeded $ 4 Trillion, and expected to exceed $ 14 trillion including Disability pay for 350,000 veterans and future medical care

  8. realista says:

    Compare: “Smoking Gun” Rice — With ” Read 5 minute Summary” Rice;

    Among the 234 FALSE or Fraudulent Pre-War Claims Justifying (unprovoked war) … Repeatedly Stated By Bush, Cheney, and “Smoking Gun” Rice:

    • No weapons of mass destruction of any kind were found in Iraq.

    • No mobile biological weapons labs were found in Iraq.

    • Iraq did not seek to acquire yellowcake uranium from Africa.

    • The aluminum tubes were not suitable for nuclear weapons development.

    • Mohamed Atta, the lead 9/11 hijacker, did not meet with Iraqi intelligence in Prague.

    • Iraq did not provide chemical weapons training to al-Qaeda.

    • There was no collaborative relationship between Iraq and al-Qaeda.

    • The implication that Iraq was involved in the attacks of 9/11 was untrue.

    Further, the Bush administration’s assurances of how the war would “Pay For Itself” proved to be completely inaccurate. As detailed in the epilogue of the film, the ramifications of the Iraq War have been tragic:

    The Costs of War: Estimated by US Congress Budget Office: $ 14 Trillion

    • After five years, the American invasion and occupation of Iraq has brought with it more than 100,000 civilian and 4,538 U. S. military deaths, over 30,000 disabled, 300,000 with PTSD.
    With Lifetime Medical Expenses for 1,000,000 Veterans of Iraq.

    • Millions of Iraqis have been displaced from their homes. Nearly 2,000,000 have fled the country.
    • Untold numbers of people have been mentally and physically wounded.
    • Direct War expenditures have exceeded $ 4 Trillion, and expected to exceed $ 14 trillion including Disability pay for 350,000 veterans and future medical care

  9. gowian says:

    Appointing an African American woman named Rice to the NSA position. Sigh….another continuation of Bush era policies. ;)

  10. Naja pallida says:

    Seems to me that it’s a job she’s overqualified for… but at least she gets more direct input than an ambassadorship. I have no doubt she’ll do a better job at it than the last Rice that held the appointment.

  11. Drew2u says:

    (psst. The people you listed do not believe you are a “real” American) ;p

  12. S1AMER says:

    Susan Rice! Three appellate judges in one day! I like it!

  13. Sally says:

    Watch Lindsay whine? It will be far more entertaining to hear Hannity implode, and Rush throw his microphone at his crew, and read the next Palin word salad at Brietfart. The GOP is used to getting their way regarding people the President likes. Wake up GOP. Obama IS the President, doing his job. How about, just once, you do yours instead of trying to take this country down with your lies? Are we not all Americans?

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