In the matter of Susan Rice: Let the president govern. Please!

As war rockets explode in Israel and Gaza, there is a great need for American leadership and diplomacy to be there working for peace. The world needs American firmness, clear vision and leadership. To create this, the president — any president — has to be able to govern without unwarranted obstruction, impediments, roadblocks, and the just plain craziness of “gotcha” power politics that threaten our economy and our security, as well as world peace.

All of these issues are in play in the controversy surrounding Susan Rice, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, creating speculation that she will be nominated to replace Hilary Clinton as Secretary of State. But it has nothing to do with Rice. It has all to do with ongoing efforts to cripple the president.

Ambassador Rice was given a task after the September 11, 2012 tragic events in Benghazi, Libya: to go on the Sunday talk shows to spell out what were the reasons and the circumstances surrounding the attack in Benghazi that led to the death of the American ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, and three other Americans.

She was given talking points that said, among other things, that the disturbances were the outgrowth of Muslim anger over a low-budget film made in the USA that Islamists interpreted as disrespectful of their prophet, Mohammed.


Confirmed by the U.S. Senate as U.S. Ambassador to the

United Nations by unanimous consent on January 22, 2009,

why is [Ambassador Rice] now “unqualified”?


Later it was determined that instead it was a well-coordinated attack carried out by any number of Al Qaeda-aligned anti-American factions operating in North Africa.

Now we find a well-coordinated attack against Ambassador Rice, not surprising given the obsession Republicans have had since 2009 to challenge and defeat the president by undermining his ability to govern. The American way is to find the pragmatic compromises (checks and balances) needed to enable meeting our ideals (equal access and equal opportunity) in ways that are peaceful and prosperous.

Ambassador Rice is supremely qualified. Confirmed by the U.S. Senate as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations by unanimous consent on January 22, 2009, why is she now “unqualified”? Rice attended Stanford (as did Condoleeza Rice — no relation), was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship, earned a master’s and a doctorate degree at Oxford (writing her dissertation on international peacekeeping). Under President Clinton, Rice served on the National Security Council, served as director for International Organizations and Peacekeeping, and served as assistant secretary of state for African affairs.

Given her accomplishments, I can only conclude racism and sexism is involved when Senator McCain vows to fight the nomination using such code words as “not qualified” and guilty of “not being very bright.” Despite the fact that it is the Senate’s role to “advise and consent,” it is two Southern Republican members of the House who lead the petition of nearly 100 Republican representatives to urge the president not to nominate Rice for secretary of state, using the well-known “code” word “incompetent.”

We now know that the testimony Ambassador Rice was sent out to give at the U.N. and on talk shows was concocted by a White House national security team. Remember how the same was done to Colin Powell when he was secretary of state: given inconsistent information and intelligence “facts” and sent to testify before the United Nations, helping launch a war that lasted 10 years and a second one still going on?

People are dying in the Middle East. Tensions and potential conflict exist all across this planet. It is clear from polls that “we the people” demand the United States show leadership. To do so, we must unite at the ocean’s edge and provide the world with a scene showing all of our respect and honesty for the person chosen by the American people to lead: President Barack Obama.

Again, let the man govern. Allow him to work both sides of the aisle to foster respect and civility in developing pragmatic policy for all, not the craziness of “gotcha” politics. As the president recently said, in reflecting on Abraham Lincoln, “He calls on us through the ages to commit ourselves to the unfinished work he so nobly advanced — the work of perfecting our union.”

Republicans need to pay heed to what former U.S. Republican Senator and U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Henry Cabot Lodge said: “In becoming a Republican, I thought I was joining something affirmative, revolutionary, and idealistic, which demanded sacrifice and generosity — not a party which said no to all proposals for change.” Thus, change “or go down in ruin.”

Stay tuned.


Ron Edwards hosts “Black Focus” on Channel 17, MTN-TV, Sundays, 5-6 pm, and hosts Blog Talk Radio’s “Black Focus V” on Sundays, 3-3:30 pm and Thursdays, 7-8:30 pm, providing coverage about Black Minnesota. Order his books at Hear his readings and read his columns, blog, and solution papers for community planning and development, at Columns are archived at www.theminneap