McCain: Continuing the GOP War on Women by Opposing Rice
McCain was not always so emphatic about what should disqualify a presidential nominee from gaining Senate confirmation. In 2005, when President Bush nominated John Bolton to be his ambassador to the United Nations, McCain was a high profile defender of the then senior State Department official. Bolton’s opponents said he was unfit for the job because, among other things, he allegedly tried to get a State Department analyst to change an intelligence finding to support his own world view.
“We need an ambassador who has the trust of the president and the secretary of State,” McCain said on Senate floor in defense of Bolton. Then he went on to say “elections have consequences, and one consequence of President Bush’s re-election is that he has the right to appoint officials of his choice.” A president, McCain said, “has a right to put into place the team that he believes will serve him best.”
But now, seven years later — with the Democrat who dealt him a landslide defeat in 2008 still in the White House — McCain ignores those words and threatens to use the Senate’s arcane procedural rules to stop that body from voting on Rice, should Obama nominate her for the top State Department job. In this effort, Graham is his wingman.
But in going after Obama in this way, they run the risk of opening an even wider gap between the Republican Party and women, 55% of whom voted for Obama in his lopsided victory this year over GOP candidate Mitt Romney. A dozen female members of the House of Representatives drove home that point when they held a news conference to accuse McCain and Graham of being sexist and racist in their attack on Rice, who is black.
While the two Republican senators might prevail in keeping Rice from becoming secretary of State — either by forestalling her nomination or blocking a Senate confirmation vote — their opposition to her almost certainly will be seen by many others as proof of a GOP war on women.