The Cycle, 11/26/12, 7:00 PM ET

Toure dishes out some humble pie

Toure talks about John McCain’s attacks against the Obama administration for Benghazi, his statements against Susan Rice, and why it’s time for him to start...

McCain sinks to irrelevance over Rice attacks

Updated
By Touré

John McCain is a drowning man, grabbing desperately on to anything he thinks can help save him. He’s still bitter he lost in 2008 and now his time as a powerful Senator is waning. He sees Benghazi as a life raft he can cling to as a way to try to hurt Obama and remain relevant.

See, in January he’ll be forced by term limits to leave the Senate Armed Forces Committee, the appointment that has made him one of the most powerful and visible Senators.

In the Benghazi attacks he hoped to find the scandal that would embarras Obama and allow the creation of a new investigative committee with him as its leader, lengthening his time as a top senator. But instead of pursuing reasonable questions about consulate security, he fixated on a conspiracy about a pre-election cover up and attacked Susan Rice as incompetent and unqualified.

Madeleine Albright, former Secretary of State, said of Rice that she’s “one of the smartest people I know on national security.”  There are now reports backing up Ambassador Rice’s claims that she merely delivered the message that she received from our vaunted intelligence community when she stated on Sunday talk shows that the attack on the U.S. consulate was a protest and not an act of terrorism.

CBS News reports “The points were not edited to minimize the role of extremists, diminish terrorist affiliations, or play down that this was an attack.”

The intelligence community opted to leave specific reference to al Qaeda and terrorism out of Rice’s presentation because they didn’t want al Qaeda to know that we knew what we knew. This is classic investigative philosophy: don’t let the suspects know you suspect them.

It’s clear to me there was no mendacity by Susan Rice, no incompetence. There was no cover up by the White House. To continue to argue there was any of that is now tin foil hat stuff. There is also no will to filibuster Rice’s possible nomination to be Secretary of State. This is perhaps why John McCain has softened his tone.

That’s an end, I hope, to the vicious and baseless character attack that has made Rice the center of a witch hunt by the right even though she has done nothing to disqualify herself.

McCain tried to make her un-nominatable and manipulate Obama to look weak and disappoint the left if he backed down from the appointment. McCain asserted an inappropriate political cover up while pursuing an inappropriate political attack. He also gave us the horrible optics of he and Sen. Lindsey Graham as old, white, establishment folks who wrongly and repeatedly attacked a much younger black woman— following an election in which blacks and women strongly favored Democrats. Looks like the GOP is already laying the foundation for losing in 2016.

I leave it to you to decide how much of the tarring of Rice as incompetent and unqualified is about the myth of black inferiority and female inferiority and how much is about McCain flailing at anyone within arm’s reach, desperate for a dinghy as he feels himself sinking, descending down the ladder of power, dropping toward irrelevance.

McCain sinks to irrelevance over Rice attacks

Updated