This week, Susan Rice has been meeting with a number of Republican senators to try to explain why she gave deceptive answers on a series of talking head shows after the Benghazi murders. This is widely assumed to anticipate Rice’s nomination to replace Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State. Well, these private get-togethers are probably not going as well as Rice might have hoped. After each of them, the GOP senator has a press conference where he or she explains why they are disturbed or disgusted with Rice. The interesting thing to me is that none of them seem to fault the individuals who are actually more directly to blame for the Benghazi fiasco, David Petraeus, who was head of the CIA or Hillary Clinton, Secretary of State.
We can easily figure out why Petraeus was left off the hook. For years, he has been an idol for the neocons. Whenever one of them said, ‘Let the generals run the war’, they actually meant Petraeus. If he chooses to run for the presidency in 2016 or 2020, he will probably be among the frontrunners. Democrats have no reason to go after him, either. He was appointed by Obama to be head of the CIA; anyone who attacks him is indirectly attacking the President. But Hillary is a different case. Why is she above reproach?
One reason might be that Hillary was once a Senator herself. The Senate is a special kind of club where each of the 100 members believes that they should be President themselves. There ends up being a special bond between these pretenders to the throne. The only recent case where I can remember a senator having difficulty with a confirmation was John Tower’s attempt to become Secretary of Defense. Allegations were made that he was a practicing alcoholic which he could not refute. His nomination was eventually rescinded.
Another reason is because of Clinton’s peculiar friendship with John McCain, who has taken the GOP lead on investigating Benghazi. What makes their relationship peculiar is that they intended to run against each other for the presidency in 2008. This would have been the strangest presidential race in our lifetimes. They would presumably agree that we should stay in Iraq and Afghanistan until the 12th of never, gone on talking head shows to say how much they love each other, and then walked hand in hand out of each debate. Unfortunately, ‘that one’ happened to disrupt their harmonious plans.
Yet another reason could be the inherent fear Republicans have of Clinton’s husband. This fear, if anything, was exacerbated by the recent election. The contest was close until Bill Clinton spoke at the Democratic Convention. After that, Romney was swimming uphill against the memory of Bush’s tenure. Any Republican who dared go after Hillary and threatened her 2016 presidential campaign may well earn the enmity of her husband.
So, Hillary may run against Petraeus in 2016. We all wondered prior to this last campaign what a completely negative presidential race would look like. If this race should occur, we’ll just have to wonder which of them would advocate military intervention in the most nations.