Fortunes can change fast—just ask Susan Rice. Nine months ago, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations was perfectly situated and considered next in line for secretary of State. Then, after attacks in Benghazi left four dead, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens, Rice found herself persona non grata.
Her crime? Going on the Sunday morning talk show network to run through her understanding of the events as caused by a mob, rather than the work of terrorists. Republicans argued she was complicit in a cover-up to help the president’s re-election. Since then, an abundance of evidence has shown that Rice had almost nothing to do with the debate between the CIA and the State Department over how to characterize the attacks. But when Rice publicly rescinded her name from consideration for secretary of state, the GOP claimed victory.
But Rice’s prospects are suddenly looking up—way, way up. Obama announced today that he would be appointing her as his National Security Agency advisor. The position doesn’t require Senate approval, meaning Rice gets to avoid what would inevitably be a brutal set of hearings. The focus isn’t likely to be Libya, but Syria; Rice will likely back up the president’s reticence for more intervention.
Everyone supposedly loves a comeback story—but conservatives and Republicans who were responsible for Rice’s fall in the first place weren’t so pleased with the announcement. WaPo conservative columnist Jenifer Rubin called the appointment “an in-your-face insult to Congress.” Utah’s Republican Senator Jason Chaffetz tweeted that "Judgement is key to national security matters. That alone should disqualify Susan Rice from her appointment." Meanwhile, among celebrities, Frankie Muniz was up in arms, calling the appointment an #ObamaFail on Twitter. But then again, Muniz is probably waiting for his own comeback story to emerge.
So They Say
“You do believe in the Commandment, ‘Thou Shalt Not Kill,’ don’t you?” Campbell asked.
“Well, certainly,” the SBC official said.
“Well, then, surely you are opposed to this death penalty expansion?” Campbell asked.
“Absolutely not,” the official said with resolve. “We sent a letter to the White House in support.”
“Well then, you are a hypocrite and a jackass,” Campbell said.
—A Conversation between the "maverick minister" Will Campbell and a Southern Baptist Church official. Campbell, a famous civil-rights activist, died on Monday. He was 88.
Daily Meme: Offensive Charm Offensives
- Today, Chuck Grassley is sad. No, not because there is no history on the History Channel. And not because the deer is assumed dead.
- It's because he and Obama's relationship is so darn complicated. Why doesn't the president call him anymore? They used to be so close!
- It can't have anything to do with the Republican senator's vituperative yelps and whines lobbed aimlessly toward the White House. It must be because Obama's charm offensive is kaput!
- Yup, it's definitely over. Sound the alarm!
- But just because Obama doesn't have the chops to wink and dimple his way through his second term doesn't mean other politicians don't have what it takes. After a thorough comb through Google News, we have learned that it is the summer of the charm offensive.
- Greece is on the charm offensive.
- Yahoo is on the charm offensive.
- Telecom companies in Burma are on the charm offensive.
- Telecom companies in Australia are on the charm offensive.
- The head of the Australian football league is on the charm offensive.
- The head of the Madrid football league is on the charm offensive.
- Jay Carney is on the charm offensive.
- Obama Chief of Staff Denis McDonough is on the charm offensive
- Obamacare is on the charm offensive.
- Officers in the People's Liberation Army are on the charm offensive.
- The Department of Justice "has scheduled a second sortie in its charm offensive meant to soften reporters' icy stares."
- The Baltimore Charms, the city's underwear football team, is on the Charm offensive.
- The upshot: Charm offensive no longer means anything. It's time to come up with a new expression to complain about the White House not blasting enough charisma toward the other end of the mall. We're open for suggestions.
What We're Writing
- Part two of the “End of the Solid South” series takes a look at whether Texas can go blue. Abby Rapoport writes that Obama’s organizing army is taking its shot.
- “Israel lobby” is a term used in Washington to describe groups who support policies that they think are good for Israel. Gershom Gorenberg writes that American Jewish groups need to give the term a new meaning by starting to lobby the Israeli government to negotiate peace.
What We're Reading
- Why is there no Republican frontrunner yet for 2016? Is this a ridiculous question to ask in 2013?
- Joshua Rothman assembles a Samantha Power reading list.
- Will the environmental movement's next big fight be held over a proposed mine in Alaska?
- Here are nine charts about the student loan crisis guaranteed to stress you out.
- What's it like to be the sushi chef of Kim Jong-Un?
- Here are the three moments from yesterday's hearing on sexual assault in the military you should know about.
- Why you want Joe Biden to speak at your funeral.
- Jacob Lew's signature has gotten noticeably nicer.
Poll of the Day
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is liked even more by Democrats than Republicans, according to a new poll released by the Wall Street Journal and NBC News. His own party gives him a 40 percent approval rating, while 41 percent of independents and 43 percent of Democrats view Christie in a favorable light. In contrast to those consistent numbers, the poll also found that Hillary Clinton has an 85 percent approval rating among Democrats, but just 15 percent approval among Republicans.