The Right Opinion
Opposing Susan Rice Sexist? What About Opposing John Kerry?
Editor's Note: This column was coauthored by Bob Morrison.
Liberal Washington Post editorial page commentator Ruth Marcus sees sexism in the Republican opposition to naming the current U.S. Ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice, as Hillary Clinton's replacement as Secretary of State. Marcus trots out a well-worn story from the 1970s. She relates the formidable Alice Rivlin's recollections as first Director of the Congressional Budget Office. "Over my dead body will we have a woman in that job" was the reaction of the House Budget Committee Chairman. (Chairman, Ooh! Bad!) That was Dr. Rivlin's testimony. Dr. Rivlin sailed through confirmation to chair the CBO and is widely respected on both sides of the aisle.
We're not sure if that powerful male congressional malefactor is still on this side of the sod, but just look at what writer Marcus overlooks: That committee chairman in 1974 could only have been a Democrat. For forty years, no one but a Democrat chaired any House committee.
Conveniently overlooked by Ruth Marcus as well in this latest attempt to gin up a phony war on women is the fact -- one of those stubborn facts -- that the first woman to be confirmed as Secretary of State was Madeleine Albright. Sec. Albright sailed through in 1996 on a vote of 99-0 in a Senate controlled by Republicans.
Ambassador Rice was herself confirmed by a unanimous Senate vote for her current position at the UN. That vote included, dare we mention it, Republicans. Some of them, we hear, were white males.
The reason for the increasing opposition to Amb. Rice as Sec. of State is her failure to present the truth about the Benghazi debacle. This is but part of a pattern with Amb. Rice. She headed up the Africa section of the U.S. State Department in 1998 when that "fudge factory" denied urgent requests from our U.S. diplomats in Tanzania and Kenya.
Amb. Rice told Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) that she would have to "refresh her memory" about the horrific al Qaeda bombings of our embassies in Tanzania and Kenya. Greta Van Susteren has reported on the closed-door meeting between Amb. Rice and Sen. Collins that left the Maine lawmaker with more doubts about the ambassador's record. Those bombings left scores dead and hundreds wounded.
Many of the victims in those embassy bombings were black females. The "Soft Power" so enthusiastically endorsed by the Obama administration provides a sympathy blanket for international conferences. But these confabs are always held in safe places, well guarded. For Americans and our friends on the ground, Soft Power can mean sudden death.
If Ambassador Rice fails to get the coveted slot at State, speculation turns to Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) Conservatives should also lead the opposition to the Massachusetts lawmaker. John Kerry gained fame testifying against his fellow Vietnam veterans before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee he now heads. Under oath, he claimed the U.S. forces in South Vietnam were violating the Geneva Convention in their treatment of the enemy.
That was in 1971. Young John Kerry also went to Paris to meet with North Vietnamese Communists for "talks." What exactly was the nature of those talks? For a private citizen to negotiate with foreign powers has been a violation of federal law -- the Logan Act -- since 1798. Did Kerry negotiate? Did he demand that the North Vietnamese abide by the Geneva Convention? If not, why not? We know that our POWs were being subjected to daily torture in Hanoi. Kerry could turn to Sen. John McCain if he is in any doubt about that. Did Kerry keep written notes on his Paris meetings with our country's enemies? If he did, let us see those notes. If he didn't keep a record, is this the kind of Soft Power diplomacy he would bring to the State Department?
Lest you think we are stretching too far back in going after the mop-haired John Kerry's youthful indiscretions, let's talk about U.S. Senator John Kerry's over-the-top advocacy of the Nuclear Freeze. He made that misguided effort on guided missiles his ticket to the Senate.
We now know that the Nuclear Freeze movement received major backing from the Soviet KGB. We know that it was the USSR's best hope to split up NATO.
We know that the Nuclear Freeze was based on the absurd idea of how the United States should respond to aggressive Soviet moves in Eastern Europe, their placement of Intermediate Range Ballistic Missiles (IRBMs) within striking distance of every NATO capital. Kerry and his fellow Freezeniks thought we should do nothing. We should rally world opinion to force the Soviets to withdraw their IRBMs.
Harvard's Adam Ulam, a Polish émigré, famously put down that silly notion. In his heavily-accented English, he asked: "And wot will you do iff they dun't?" Kerry never had an answer.
We don't question John Kerry's fitness for the job because he's a white male. We don't even think he's "French-looking" as the Wall Street Journal's estimable James Taranto continually says. In fact, French President Francois Mitterrand supported President Ronald Reagan's placement of Cruise and Pershing Missiles in Western Europe. We approve that French leader's brave stand against the Nuclear Freeze.
Our questions of Amb. Susan Rice and Sen. John Kerry concern their proven records of failure in foreign policy. Their Soft Power brings hard times and even death for Americans and our allies around the world. That should be our only concern.