John McCain will hound Susan Rice to the ends of the earth (or just the Senate Foreign Relations Committee)

The angry "maverick" seeks a seat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, to continue his Susan Rice crusade

Topics: John McCain, U.S. Senate, Susan Rice, Benghazi attack, Editor's Picks,

John McCain will hound Susan Rice to the ends of the earth (or just the Senate Foreign Relations Committee)John McCain (Credit: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst)

Grouchy old Sen. John “Walnuts!” McCain is always mad, and usually there is one thing in particular that he is mad at at a time. Like for a while it was Ultimate Fighting, for some reason. No one knew why, but he devoted literally all of his time as a senator to eradicating it, until a new thing made him mad and he just completely and totally forgot about UFC. Then for a long time the thing he was mad at was “George W. Bush,” and that’s when everyone grew to love him, but then he moved on from that, too, and he was mad at Iran for a little while, but mostly it’s just been Barack Obama, for the last few years, who really gets his goat. Now he’s narrowed his focus further, and the one thing in this world that he hates most is the prospect of Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice becoming secretary of state.

This is why John McCain, who has been on the Senate Armed Forces Committee since his first term in the Senate in 1987 (he’s currently its ranking Republican), will seek a seat on the other major Senate foreign policy committee next year: the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The Armed Services Committee oversees the Pentagon, you see, but the Foreign Relations Committee oversees the State Department, and that’s where McCain knows Rice is headed. (Unless he successfully blocks her nomination, with his obsequious little weasel of a sidekick Lindsey Graham, that is.) McCain will be much better positioned to constantly badger would-be Secretary Rice, and accuse her of dishonesty and incompetence and probably treason, once he is given his new seat.

John McCain is furious with Rice for her appearances on the Sunday shows the weekend after the attack on Benghazi, where she 1) delivered CIA-derived administration talking points suggesting that the attack happened during, or as an outgrowth of, a protest demonstration outside the consulate, something everyone believed to be true at the time, though it later (later!) turned out to be false, and 2) didn’t say “terrorism” or “terror” enough. Because of those dumb Sunday show appearances, McCain has devoted months to attempting to destroy her chances of being named secretary of state. It’s very petty and silly and rather blatantly hypocritical, which is to say it is a John McCain crusade.

He has also repeatedly distorted and mischaracterized her remarks and in focusing solely on her has largely succeeded in distracting entirely from every other lingering question related to the Benghazi attack and whatever intelligence failures and operational missteps led to it.

Should he seek a chair on the foreign affairs committee, he’ll likely get it. McCain is considered something of a foreign policy elder statesman in Washington, because he is bellicose, hawkish and deeply irresponsible, and he possesses a childish binary “good versus evil” conception of all foreign conflicts that longtime Washingtonians for some reason refer to as “toughness.” He would be a fine addition to the committee charged with overseeing our foreign aid and diplomatic missions. After all, it’s not like he has a history of very vocally championing certain overseas causes after being lobbied to do so by former aides currently cashing “consulting” checks from foreign governments.

Alex Pareene

Alex Pareene writes about politics for Salon and is the author of "The Rude Guide to Mitt." Email him at and follow him on Twitter @pareene

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 11
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    Burger King Japan

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Burger King's black cheeseburger: Made with squid ink and bamboo charcoal, arguably a symbol of meat's destructive effect on the planet. Only available in Japan.

    Elite Daily/Twitter

    2014's fast food atrocities

    McDonald's Black Burger: Because the laws of competition say that once Burger King introduces a black cheeseburger, it's only a matter of time before McDonald's follows suit. You still don't have to eat it.


    2014's fast food atrocities

    Domino's Specialty Chicken: It's like regular pizza, except instead of a crust, there's fried chicken. The company's marketing officer calls it "one of the most creative, innovative menu items we have ever had” -- brain power put to good use.


    2014's fast food atrocities

    Arby's Meat Mountain: The viral off-menu product containing eight different types of meat that, on second read, was probably engineered by Arby's all along. Horrific, regardless.


    2014's fast food atrocities

    KFC'S ZINGER DOUBLE DOWN KING: A sandwich made by adding a burger patty to the infamous chicken-instead-of-buns creation can only be described using all caps. NO BUN ALL MEAT. Only available in South Korea.

    Taco Bell

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Taco Bell's Waffle Taco: It took two years for Taco Bell to develop this waffle folded in the shape of a taco, the stand-out star of its new breakfast menu.

    Michele Parente/Twitter

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Krispy Kreme Triple Cheeseburger: Only attendees at the San Diego County Fair were given the opportunity to taste the official version of this donut-hamburger-heart attack combo. The rest of America has reasonable odds of not dropping dead tomorrow.

    Taco Bell

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Taco Bell's Quesarito: A burrito wrapped in a quesadilla inside an enigma. Quarantined to one store in Oklahoma City.

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Boston Pizza's Pizza Cake: The people's choice winner of a Canadian pizza chain's contest whose real aim, we'd imagine, is to prove that there's no such thing as "too far." Currently in development.


    2014's fast food atrocities

    7-Eleven's Doritos Loaded: "For something decadent and artificial by design," wrote one impassioned reviewer, "it only tasted of the latter."

  • Recent Slide Shows



Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>