Rice gets butchered by GOP strategists

After twice ambushing U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice over the bungle in Benghazi, it's now clear that she is being sacrificed as a result of a diabolic plot by the GOP to take back the Massachusetts senate seat by replacing Dem. Senator John Kerry with GOP former incumbent Scott Brown, who lost his seat in a tough battle with Elizabeth Warren.

This was a clever ploy, because unwary Democrats in Washington never saw it coming. They may never learn how to play political hardball and have naively assumed that Ms. Rice's detractors were truly concerned about the tragic deaths of four Americans in Libya.

In truth, they were capitalizing on the tragedy to vent their anger and frustration after the rout at the polls. At the same time they dominated the cable news cycles and made it difficult for President Obama to even start to enlist public support for his agenda to spare the nation from going over the so-called fiscal cliff.

GOP senate speakers have clearly united by pushing prearranged talking points in which they all championed Sen. John Kerry over Ambassador Rice. Why? Because if Kerry becomes secretary of state, he would virtually cede his senate seat to Scott Brown because Brown is best positioned to win a special election. 

Brown's almost-assured victory in a hastily-called Massachusetts election would bring the GOP one seat closer to controlling the Senate as they now rule the house of representatives.

If Democrats don't show the same toughness and determination symbolized by the president's top campaign guy, David Axelrod, they could blow the momentum gained by Mr. Obama's re-election. John Kerry is best where he is for Democrats.

Standing up for the refreshingly abrasive Susan Rice will show that Democrats aren't the weak sisters they've seemed to be when softies like Al Gore and John Kerry were knocked around like silly putty.

While some thought Republicans would become more cooperative following their November defeat they have – successfully thus far – managed to ignore any messages sent to Congress by the electorate. They are trying to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat simply because there is no election until 2014.

**Charles Otey's column appears each Monday in the print edition of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle