I have been following the Susan Rice story with interest and ambivalence. From a political standpoint, the president has a tough call. Does he pass on nominating Ms. Rice as his next secretary of state and avoid risking an embarrassing loss early in his second term, or does he decide he can't cave to Republican pressure? I could argue both sides. The Senate makes it fairly easy to block a nominee, and the chief executive almost always suffers more political damage than do the senators who block the nomination. On the other hand, do Republicans really want to have a fight over a qualified African American nominee at a time when their party is at a historical low with this population? (I'm not implying that race has anything to do with the opposition, but it could be easily misinterpreted.)
Putting aside Mr. Obama's dilemma on Ms. Rice, one criticism I have read so far about her is laughable. Some have argued she is too political to be the nation's chief diplomatic representative. To their argument, I respond, James Baker, a political operative at his core, and, by all accounts, a fine secretary of state.