Perhaps McCain and Graham blocking the nomination of Susan Rice is a tactic to wrest Kerry from the Senate and free up a seat for Republicans to claim. Or perhaps the Three Amigos are just fighting their demotion to feckless duo by acting out. But rather than engaging in a battle to the death, the White House should look beyond the obvious talent pool.
The United States is a highly successful international brand. We are known for our dominant entertainment exports and our flamboyant, indulgent culture. We are loud, sloppy, crass and we like to have as much sparkly stuff as possible. The departing secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, represents none of those qualities. While she does on occasion sport fetching sunglasses, she has next to zero entertainment value.
In her role representing our nation abroad, Clinton has been tactful, tasteful and professional. She has conveyed a reserved strength and an unflappable dignity that measures up well against the greatest diplomats of the past. In short, she is an utter failure in representing our brand.
Obama's choice to replace her, Susan Rice, is equally out of step with American customs. This top Stanford grad and lifelong scholar of foreign policy has a long history of professional experience in the diplomatic sphere and a talent for restraint and commanding the respect of the toughest negotiators. Dear lord, haven't we had enough of this?
By contrast, Honey Boo Boo represents the very best of the American tradition. She combines just the right blend of youth, arrogance, ignorance, provincialism and tendency to tantrum that perfectly mirrors who we are and what we want to be. Not since the great Henry Kissinger (OK, maybe Alexander Haig), have we had the kind of swag in the State department that says "I got it and you can kiss it."
But there's too much at stake to risk this untested youth, you say? Please understand, the State Department is a ceremonial office. It's purpose is to pretend to engage in diplomacy and kill time, until the Department of Defense tells it which military engagements to fail to avert. Ike's military industrial complex has a tight product testing and development schedule that cannot be bent to accommodate the petty concerns of other countries nor the rantings of domestic peaceniks.
Sure, there's strong precedent for confirming presidential cabinet appointments and valuing competence and credentials. But McCain and Graham in their infinite wisdom are pointing to a way more entertaining path. Tell Mr. Obama to nominate Honey Boo Boo for secretary of state and let's put some "go-go juice" in the State Department's punch bowl.