After watching this week's The PBS Newshour, it was really hard to decide which portion of this segment with David Brooks and his supposed "liberal" counterpart, Mark Shields, upset me the most. I think it would have to be the way Brooks almost nonchalantly brushed off the fact that the Bush administration did lie about the WMDs in Iraq and that it was not a failure by the intelligence agencies, but the Bush administration misrepresenting that intelligence.
Dick Cheney was out there making weekly visits to the CIA and pushing them to put out intelligence that fit the administration's justification for attacking Iraq, and any comparison between that and Susan Rice not putting out before the public information that might have compromised our intelligence assets in Libya is just ridiculous, to put it mildly. I'm sure Brooks knows better, but apparently he doesn't have enough respect for his audience to assume they do as well.
Right behind Brooks' revisionist history, we had Mark Shields first excusing Lindsey Graham's attacks on Susan Rice over the Benghazi drummed-up fake controversy, and telling the audience that it couldn't possibly be racism or sexism, because after all, Graham allowed Justices Kagan and Sotomayor to be appointed. Or in other words, it's the Stephen Colbert, I've got one black friend, so I can't be a racist excuse for why their attacks on her could not possibly be racist, or sexist.
And then there's Shields claiming that there are "liberal press people come out citing the shortcomings, personality shortcomings of Susan Rice." I assume the "liberal press people" he's talking about amount to one Dana Milbank, who wrote an op-ed which Kathleen Geier took down quite nicely at The Washington Monthly last week.
This is gratifying; Democratic women have gone to bat for UN Ambassador Susan Rice, defending her against racist, sexist attacks by conservative Republican critics. In case you missed it, as part of the right’s pathetic campaign to gin up a huge scandal over Benghazi, leading Republicans have lately been directing their fire at Rice. Their criticism has been not only nasty but unusually personal. John McCain, for example, called her “not very bright” and “not qualified.” Lindsay Graham portrayed her as a dizzy, delusional untrustworthy broad, alleging that “She is so disconnected from reality that I don’t trust her.” Both have pledged to do “whatever is in our power” to block Rice’s appointment as Secretary of State, should President Obama nominate her.
This isn’t the only heavy-handed, sexist, racist criticism that has been aimed at Rice. It’s not just conservative lawmakers who been going after Rice; the Villagers clearly have the knives out for her as well. Villager-in-good-standing Dana Millbank has impugned Rice’s allegedly “tarnished resume” and apparently finds her behavior most unladylike (though the euphemism he prefers to use is “undiplomatic”). Among Rice’s sins, according to Millbank, is this:
Back when she was an assistant secretary of state during the Clinton administration, she appalled colleagues by flipping her middle finger at Richard Holbrooke during a meeting with senior staff at the State Department, according to witnesses. Colleagues talk of shouting matches and insults.
Oh noes! Bring out the smelling salts! This stuff is especially odd coming from Millbank, known for writing nauseating fanboy drivel about Rahm Emanuel, a man not exactly famous for his dainty language or decorous approach to politics. Read on...
If PBS doesn't want themselves to be branded as Fox-lite, they might want to reconsider their weekly segments with Mark Shields and David Brooks, and include some actual liberal commentators to balance either of them, but I expect that to happen about the time hell freezes over.
Full transcript below the fold.