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UN ambassadorship as stepping stone

By Laurie Bennett

November 30, 2012 at 1:10pm

Complaints that Susan Rice is too political for the job of secretary of State are laughable.

Beyond the obvious precedent set by the current secretary and many predecessors who held and ran for elected office, there is the political motivation of Rice’s critics.

It has been suggested that Republican Sens. John McCain, Susan Collins et al want Democratic Sen. John Kerry to take the post, in order to open a Massachusetts Senate seat for Scott Brown, who lost his re-election bid to Elizabeth Warren.

Susan Rice
Susan Rice

This doesn’t make sense to us, as Kerry is also being considered for Defense secretary.

But we think it likely that the GOP has a longer-term goal of stopping an ascendant Democrat in her tracks.

The U.N. ambassadorship has long been a stepping stone for national figures.

For some, including former Sens. John Danforth and Henry Cabot Lodge, Illinois Gov. Adlai Stevenson II, Pennsylvania Gov. William Scranton and Rep. Andrew Young, the post capped long political careers.

But for others, it has led to bigger things.

The Republicans of course know this, as George H.W. Bush held the job before becoming RNC chairman, director of the Central Intelligence Agency, vice president and finally president.

While Bush is the only former U.N. ambassador to achieve the presidency, others have found their way to major offices. The Muckety map above shows some of those who went on to higher positions.

Daniel Patrick Moynihan was elected to the Senate. Bill Richardson became governor of New Mexico. Madeleine Albright became secretary of State.

However much Republican leaders deny it, Rice has the credentials, the smarts and the connections to move to State.

As a black woman serving under the first black president, she would also attract demographics that would threaten almost any Republican candidate if she decide to run for office. Ironically, opposition from the right has raised both her profile and the level of support from the left.

You’d think the GOP might have learned its lesson when it antagonized Elizabeth Warren.

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