On November 18, 2012, Maureen Dowd delved into the monthlong Susan Rice brouhaha by asking why the ambitious potential Secretary of State hadn’t been more skeptical of Benghazi talking points.
Condi Rice sold her soul. Susan Rice merely rented hers on the talk shows one Sunday in September… Some have wondered if Rice, who has a bull-in-a-china-shop reputation, is diplomatic enough for the top diplomatic job. But she would have been wise to be more bull-in-a-china-shop and vet her talking points, given that members of the intelligence and diplomatic communities and sources in news accounts considered it a terrorist attack days before Rice went on the shows.
On November 21, 2012, Dowd asked why Rice was failing to win over Republicans in the Senate.
If Rice can’t soothe the egos of some cranky G.O.P. pols, how would she negotiate with China?
But that was two months ago, and the chattering class has moved on to something else – how come the president who saw his black female nominee sandbagged by Republicans and columnists doesn’t promote more women?
One of Susan Rice’s most memorable moments was when she flipped the finger at Richard Holbrooke during a State Department meeting. Maybe these women in the first wave to the top had to be more-macho-than-thou to succeed.
Two months ago, the “memorable moment” was part of the case against Rice. No one’s saying Dowd should have gone easy on Rice if she thought it was important to get a woman promoted.* But she has to know that by joining the pile-on (breezing past the NYT’s own Benghazi reporting, giving Sen. Susan Collins some column inches to trash Rice), she added to the impression that Rice was “under fire” from more people than the beatable Senate Republicans. While Rice’s opponents were writing open letters and giving damaging anecdotes to columnists, the people who just sort of generically wanted more women in power were doing… what, exactly?
*I had no opinion on whether or not she deserved the job; I just thought the effort to make the Sunday shows determinative was an eye-roller.