In a recent meeting with his Cabinet members, President Barack Obama hailed U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice as "extraordinary." At the White House surrounded by Cabinet members including Rice, Obama said he could not be prouder of the job she has done on behalf of the United States at the U.N. This makes many think that Obama is leaning toward nominating Rice for Secretary of State. But, should he? Doubts are being raised about whether or not Rice is the appropriate choice to serve as the country's top diplomat. Many are saying a Rice selection could be Obama's "undoing."
"They say" that old, angry, White Republican guys are after Rice, not because she went on five Sunday news shows and told a fairy tale about why four Americans were killed in Benghazi, but simply because she's a Black woman. The media put a negative spin on the 97 Republicans in the House who signed a letter telling President Obama, "Ambassador Rice is widely viewed as having either willfully or incompetently misled the American public in the Benghazi affair"... and want him to select somebody else. Many see racism and sexism in the opposition to Rice. Congresswoman Marcia Fudge, a Democrat from Ohio and the next chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus told reporters that, "It is a shame that anytime something goes wrong, they [Republicans] pick on women and minorities." So there it is: If you criticize Rice for putting out false information – possibly to protect the president who was busy telling voters that thanks to him al-Qaeda had been decimated – you're a racist.
Rice is a woman Black Americans should be cautious about. She is a suppressor of the facts on genocide in the Congo and chief U.S. warmonger in Africa. Obama would be foolish to expend his political capital on nominating Rice to be Secretary of State. Let's call it "Caught in Public Telling Tales for the Master Syndrome." Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice and Susan Rice have all three been caught in public re-telling, reciting and reading lies. Let's not follow Obama off on a "racial and sexual discrimination" tangent to support Rice. Surely Blacks should not let the title "Secretary of State" lure them into accepting the tales she's told.
Before following Obama out on a limb, there's reason for Blacks to feel sketchy about Susan Elizabeth Rice. The 48-year-old is ambitious and accomplished, with a reputation for being direct and – at times – confrontational. She is married to Ian O. Cameron with whom she has two children. Rice and husband have vast holdings and are worth $25 million. She hails from a prominent Black Washington D.C. family with deep ties to the Democratic Party. She was born to Emmett Rice, a deputy director at the Treasury Department who served as a member of Jimmy Carter's Federal Reserve Board, and Lois Dickson Rice, a former program officer at the Ford Foundation. Rice studied at Stanford and attended Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar. Her family has roots in Maine. Her maternal grandmother, an immigrant from Jamaica, was Maine State Mother of the Year in 1950. Rice's father was the second African-American man to be chosen for the Federal Reserve Board.
Rice served as President Clinton's Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs. Examination of her tenure in that position should give Blacks reason for pause before placing all their bets on Rice. Let's not follow Obama and confuse "extraordinary" with "mediocre." Rice's record as Assistant Secretary of State for Africa and response to the 1994 genocide in Rwanda is widely criticized. During her tenure, she appeared more preoccupied with the domestic political ramifications of the tragedy than stopping the violence. Blacks should not follow Obama over the cliff in nomination and promotion of Rice for State. That would be a mistake not just because of her Sunday show deceptions, but because her contributions as America's representative to the U.N. aren't worthy of a promotion.
(William Reed is publisher of "Who's Who in Black Corporate America" and available for projects via the BaileyGroup.org)