I wrote a Politico column today on the Rice controversy. My advice to Republicans is twofold: 1) Don’t let a focus on Rice distract from more important questions about the president; 2) on the other hand, don’t get scared off by the ritualistic cries of racism:
The other is that attacks on her are racist and sexist because she’s an African-American woman. Richard Wolffe, who incredibly enough used to be a White House correspondent for a purportedly objective weekly newsmagazine, explained all on MSNBC’s “Hardball” the other night. According to Wolffe, Susan Rice is hard-nosed foreign-policy hawk just like John McCain on Iran and Libya, so he concludes — through an ineluctable process of deduction — that there can be only one reason the Arizona senator is gunning for her.
You can probably guess what it is. This is MSNBC, after all. “You’re saying that McCain is being driven by racial prejudice here?” Host Chris Matthews asked. Wolffe replied, “There is no other way to look at this.”
Yes, because we all know that the Republican Party could never abide a black woman as secretary of state. Across the past 20 years of our national life, only one party has had lily-white secretaries of state. If she were nominated and confirmed, Susan Rice would make history — as the Democrats’ very first black secretary of state.