97 House Republicans Join Latest Mob Attack on African-American Obama Appointee

Van Jones

Eric Holder

Valerie Jarrett

Shirley Sherrod

And now, Susan Rice.

Republicans are orchestrating yet another mob attack on one of President Obama’s African-American appointees. In this case, 97 House Republicans have signed a letter imploring Obama not to nominate Rice to replace Hillary Clinton. Yet they don’t raise any of the possibly legitimate reasons to oppose Rice’s appointment–her troubling record on Africa, her closeness to Obama.

No.

These 97 Republicans don’t even try to make this look like legitimate opposition. Instead, they rehash a Benghazi attack that hearings last week debunked.

Ambassador Rice is widely viewed as having either willfully or incompetently misled the American people in the Benghazi matter. Her actions plausibly give the U.S. (and rivals) abroad reason to question U.S. commitment and credibility when needed.

They don’t know what the problem with Rice is, this mob of frothing Republicans. But if she’s black, they seem to be saying, she must be either incompetent or deceitful.

This frothing mob includes such leading lights of the racist right as Steve King, Ted Poe, Louie Gohmert, Michelle Bachmann, and Tim Griffin, and such discredited hacks as Scott DesJarlais and Joe Wilson.

While Alan West signed the letter, along with several Latinos, the letter largely pits a bunch of white radicals against a single black woman whom they claim is not credible because she read talking points developed by the CIA.

This is not the act of reasoned legislators. It’s a mob attack. A mob attack, like so many others, targeted blindly at an African-American professional appointed by our nation’s first African-American President.

Marcy has been blogging full time since 2007. She’s known for her live-blogging of the Scooter Libby trial, her discovery of the number of times Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded, and generally for her weedy analysis of document dumps.

Marcy Wheeler is an independent journalist writing about national security and civil liberties. She writes as emptywheel at her eponymous blog, publishes at outlets including the Guardian, Salon, and the Progressive, and appears frequently on television and radio. She is the author of Anatomy of Deceit, a primer on the CIA leak investigation, and liveblogged the Scooter Libby trial.

Marcy has a PhD from the University of Michigan, where she researched the “feuilleton,” a short conversational newspaper form that has proven important in times of heightened censorship. Before and after her time in academics, Marcy provided documentation consulting for corporations in the auto, tech, and energy industries. She lives with her spouse and dog in Grand Rapids, MI.

34 replies
  1. shekissesfrogs says:

    Looks like Ted Poe never learned how to write his own name.

    Perhaps the head of the CIA needs to be censured, knock him down a star for feeding Susan Rice lies.. just to encourage them against witch hunts.

  2. P J Evans says:

    I’d like to suggest that if they aren’t going to do the jobs they were elected to do, and for which they are very well paid, that they resign their seats and go someplace where the political climate is more their style. (They might, however, have to change their official religion.)

  3. orionATL says:

    one would profit, i suspect, from witholding judgement and wait to see who is behind this.

    this long list of signees was not created overnight.

    so – who is behind this and what are their credentials ?

  4. Mary McCurnin says:

    These racists are going to beat up on Rice because Obama won. They are apoplectic over the Democratic win and don’t have the guts to rail on about Obama. Rice is their surrogate. She is perfect because she has no real way of fighting back.

  5. guest says:

    It’s hard to know how to feel about this, since she probably is a POS like Obama, Holder, and to a slightly less extent the Clintons. About all I can hope for is that maybe this will be a wake up call for the PO(TU)S that maybe he shouldn’t always be trying to appease the implacable. But when appeasement means sacrificing the poor and the middle class, he can’t seem to resist. I wonder if he’ll ever make the connection.

  6. marksb says:

    Hey 97 house members is 40% of the Republican house members (240) which is just about exactly what many of us were thinking reflected the percentage of racist American voters who hate Obama primarily because he’s half African.
    The Republican caucus can’t even get a simple majority of their members to agree to this garbage.

  7. BrianDoyle says:

    I don’t get this site sometimes. They are all crooked, both sides. So I don’t care about either of them. But this Prez has the worst civil liberties record in recent history. More whistle-blowers prosecuted under some archaic 1917 law, THAN ALL OTHER PRESIDENTS COMBINED. Bush? Scumbag. Obabma? Scumbag x 2. Rice is a mouthpiece shill. Now, they all are, but she was busted red-handed just flat out lying to peoples faces. Now I’m sure she was made/directed to, and that is her job…but you rolls the dice… Quit whining about race, it looks desperate. Oh, and I’m sure those Congress Critters would own slaves if they could…they all suck…quit defending half of them.

    Brian

  8. Charles D says:

    Progressives should applaud attempts to derail a Susan Rice nomination. She is a warmonger and another mouthpiece for the American imperialist project. How about that great former member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Russ Feingold? Wouldn’t it be better to have someone who will give the President good advice instead of someone who will always agree?

  9. What Constitution says:

    @Charles D: Gotta agree with that. “Lesser of two evils” might excuse voting for Obama over Romney, but with that came the right (and one might hope the invitation) to say “stop being so fucking evil” and a right to evaluate presidential nominees on their actual merits and not merely reflexively to support Obama’s nominee because 40% of the Rethugs in the House oppose one of them for being black. Yes — “it would be better to have someone who will give the President good advice instead of someone who will always agree.” Russ Feingold is an interesting suggestion. Any and every occasion to exhort Obama to rethink the box he has been building is effort well spent. Dawn Johnsen for OLC!

  10. emptywheel says:

    @BrianDoyle: Um, where am I defending Obama. I point out there are legitimate reasons to criticize Rice. This is not one of them–and, no, she did not lie. Read the record before you sound like these blithering idiots.

    That said, this is clearly about race and not about Obama’s appointees. That’s not okay, not even if Obama is the worst President ever. This is as low as McCarthyism was, and as baseless.

    Want to attack Rice, go ahead. BUt do it for something legitimate. Don’t join the lynch mob.

  11. emptywheel says:

    @Charles D: Note that I point to two really good reasons to oppose Rice.

    But I, for one, am not willing to join a mob screaming bullshit to accomplish that.

  12. FrankProbst says:

    At the risk of stating the obvious, Hillary Clinton hasn’t resigned yet. And Obama has a LONG history of giving his opponents all the rope they need to hang themselves with. That appears to me to be exactly what’s happening here. Fox News just had Bob Woodward on to say that this was just like Watergate, and instead he essentially said, “Whatever.” Former CIA Director Petraeus, who–to put it mildly–is having troubles of his own, is refusing to join in the pile-on. Is there anyone with any real stature who’s criticizing Rice? And please don’t say McCain–he’s embarrassed himself on Benghazi already.

  13. FrankProbst says:

    The latest Petraeus/Broadwell/Kelley/Khawam story:

    http://news.yahoo.com/broadwell-hires-washington-pr-firm-deal-petraeus-scandal-005926606.html

    The Gloria Allred press conference should be a hoot. As always, I’m curious about bmaz’s take. My impression of Allred is that she’s the person you hire and schedule a press conference with when you’re trying to shake someone down for hush money.

    I think Petraeus and Broadwell are both wasting their money. The horse is already out of the barn (and well over that state line) for both of them. Kelley still has some room to maneuver (although she’s limited by what’s in the e-mails). I don’t think Khawam is really a big part of this story at all, but I think that she’s so batshit crazy that she’s going to throw herself in front of the cameras and end up making things a lot worse for her sister. Hell, that might be her whole play here–she may be shaking down her own twin for cash.

  14. Brindle says:

    Rice is your basic Kissinger acolyte.
    As mediocre as she is—there is no parsing, splitting hairs or rationalizing the racist motivations of many in the GOP.

  15. Frank33 says:

    @FrankProbst:
    Ninety seven Congress kritters conspiring to commit treason. The narrative of Benghazi was given to Rice, and the neo-cons sprang their clumsy trap. Crazy McCain wants Rice to apologize on tee vee. It is very very wrong for a government official to lie on the Sunday Talk shows.

    To remain nominally OT, recall Paula was part of the Benghazi-Gate, propaganda. She also attended White House secret meetings about the wars. She played both sides very skillfully. And Paula is sad for the all the pain and hurt she caused other warmongers.

    And she is sad for the children. But she is not sad about the children of Tarok Kalache.

    I don’t think Khawam is really a big part of this story at all, but I think that she’s so batshit crazy that she’s going to throw herself in front of the cameras and end up making things a lot worse for her sister.

    I disagree, about the importance of Natalie. She was visiting Irak with husband Grayson Wolfman. She and Jill met the midlevel White House official, who deals with Pakistan and Afghanistan.

  16. sOLbus says:

    It’s clear Rice had good reasons to temper the talking points. And even then, what what edited/altered was really pretty insignificant. In fact, the statements regarding the video as catalyst is probably mostly co-true, while it’s rather foolishly simplistic to think any one particular thing drove the attacks. It’s never that black and white. And speaking of the race issue, it again isn’t probably limited to race, but gender, as well. And as there is reverse-racism, so exists much reverse- misogyny. Deeper than distinctions of class, it’s also, as much as plain vanilla racism, what feeds the lack of movement regarding poverty. But poverty topic aside, it makes sense that with factors of gender and race, Rice would be a far more compelling target than, say, Hillary, that’s for sure. Thanks EW, for writing about it, all of the above is so hugely ignored.

  17. Frank33 says:

    @klynn:
    Ollie North is in the Secret Government! And we are winning the War!

    North said the administration tried to deceive the public as to what happened at the compound…

    North, who just returned from Afghanistan, where he was embedded with troops, offered the following glimpse into the situation there.

    “I’ll give you the assessment of officials who are friendly to America in Afghanistan,” he said. “I’m talking about district and provincial governors, the senior members of their military. We do have friends in Afghanistan. I was sent out there to find out the truth behind these so-called green-on-blue attacks. One, they’ve been overstated by most of our media.

  18. guest says:

    @Frank33: @Frank33: So a notorious criminal and hyperpartisan like Ollie has clearance to be involved in our military and “intelligence” activities? And DiFi and the rest of the Dems haven’t said shit about this? I’ll have to read closer when I get home from work. But I had no idea it had gotten *that* bad.

  19. klynn says:

    @Frank33:

    Just found it funny that he started the “Jimmy Carter Moment” idea months before the fundraiser spilled it. So did it start with him and his friends who attended?

    Now, he’s got the spin of, “…because of O being weak on Benghazi, Israel HAD to go to war.” Listen as the other GOP drum this idea.

  20. marksb says:

    @guest: No, and No.
    Ollie-the-war-criminal was *embedded* as a Fox news reporter. Read.
    In fact, do read the whole sorry thing. Col. Teflon gets in all the key words: Benghazi, Ronald Reagan, Holy Land, Israel, September 11…and he even gets in his commercial web site. He has secret friends in Afghanistan too, that tell him secret things, things that show how Obama isn’t Saint Reagan.
    And he lies outright “no decision was made to help save the lives of Americans.”
    Even gets in a dig about how the administration is doing nothing about the “Fiscal Cliff”, ignoring the fact this was a Republican move in the first place.
    Consider the source.

  21. Peterr says:

    This is not the act of reasoned legislators. It’s a mob attack. A mob attack, like so many others, targeted blindly at an African-American professional appointed by our nation’s first African-American President.

    In other news, the sun rose in the east this morning.

  22. Rirer Capital says:

    As a progressive I abhor the choice of Susan Rice because she is a warmonger, has enabled or supported genocide(Rwanda, Congo, Eritrea, Libya) and has steadfastly blocked any UN Security Council move to stop Israel’s aggression on Gaza. Of course the Republicans are playing the “partisan game” for all its worth over the blowback at Benghazi. But, when looked at dispassionately, their idiocy may stop a terrible person from being Secretary of State.

  23. earlofhuntingdon says:

    I can’t remember a single nominee Mr. Obama has fought for besides his two Supremes. I guess they were part of his agenda, not a distraction from it, as rare a find as a disinterested vote in the House or Senate.

  24. Frank33 says:

    We have another Natalie sighting, with video and Gloria Allred.

    But even BIGGER, Clifford Krowne and Negative Index of Refraction research. There is not really much you can do with negative indexes of refraction, other than, Cloaking Devices.

    Krowne is a high level military scientist who is laisoning with Natalie.

    Can this story get weirder? Yes! You see, science is dangerous and accidents can happen to nosy people, especially the news people, if you know what I mean…

    Krowne then warned: “News people pursuing stories that is of no relevance to anyone should be very careful.”

  25. FrankProbst says:

    @Frank33 Wow. Looks like the Allred presser was a snore. Please tell me Natalie’s husband got full custody of the kid(s). My take on this (without having bothered to watch the video) is that Natalie is using her newfound fame to try to get a do-over on her custody case. I doubt she’ll get far, but now some poor journalist/blogger is going to have to read up on the case and then do a close reading of the Petraeus and Allen letters. Because something’s obviously off here. If you’ve just met someone socially a couple of times at a handful of large parties, they usually don’t end up writing letters in your favor during child custody disputes.

    And how the hell are they paying for all these lawyers and PR firms?

  26. FrankProbst says:

    The Petraeus and Allen letters are here:

    http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2012/images/11/14/petraeus.allen.custody.letters.pdf

    My take: You don’t have someone over to your house for Christmas dinner unless you’re reasonably close to them, as Petraeus says in his letter. Allen’s letter reads a little less committal. It wouldn’t surprise me if he wrote it because Petraeus asked him to.

    Also, I didn’t realize the custody battle was so recent–the letters of from September of 2012.

  27. Frank33 says:

    @FrankProbst:
    I think Grayson got the 4 year old boy. Natalie renamed him John Khawam. Supposedly, Johm called Scott Kelley, Dad for a while. The P4 and Allen intervention in the custody case seems very strange.

    Natalie’s debts are even more strange. She owes divorce lawyers, custody lawyers, her sister, Jerry Harrington military contractor $300,000, someone named Michael Boone, $600,000, and $300,000 to Lisa Krowne, daughter of mad scientist Clifford Krowne.

    Allred had better get paid in advance.

  28. Frank33 says:

    @FrankProbst:

    From P4 to the Judge,

    We have on many ocassions observed Natalie, and her son John

    From General Allen to the Judge,

    On multiple occasions, we had the privilege of observing her with John at command social functions.

    These two letters are nearly identical, three paragraphs with similar wording. This adds to the degree of strangeness.

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