Indiana Congressmen, conspiracy theories, and Susan Rice
I noted this in passing on Twitter the other day, but I think it bears repeating: Indiana GOP Representatives Larry Bucshon (IN-8), Dan Burton (IN-5), Todd Rokita (IN-4), & Marlin Stutzman (IN-3) all signed on to a conspiracy-theory-backed letter strongly opposing Susan Rice’s nomination for Secretary of State.
The letter (PDF) contains gems like this:
In her interviews over that time, Ambassador Rice propagated a falsehood that the attacks were “spontaneous,” the outcome of a protest “spun out of control,” and the result of a YouTube video. […]
Ambassador Rice is widely viewed as having either willfully or incompetently misled the American public in the Benghazi matter.
I guess that’s true, if “widely viewed” means the range of Fox News hosts from Steve Doocy to Sean Hannity.
Back here in the real world, we know that Susan Rice did her job as best she could in the wake of the attack that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens. Reports showed that the protests in Egypt and Lybia were, in fact, prompted by the video. And Rice relied on the talking points prepared by the CIA and other intelligence available at the time. We also know that she repeatedly warned against jumping to conclusions and to wait for the results of the investigation. So unless the CIA and David Petraeus and Chris Stevens’ own family are part of the conspiracy to – well, I still haven’t figured that out, since the apparent goal of this conspiracy seems to change every day.
Besides all of that, there’s also the problem that the House of Representatives has no say in who gets to be Secretary of State. If any of these elected officials had actually read the document they’re sworn to uphold, they may have come across Article II, Section 2 (emphasis added):
[The President] shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law: but the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Departments.
I don’t actually have any strong feelings about Susan Rice’s nomination. (It’s going to be extremely difficult for anyone to follow in Hilary Clinton’s footsteps, who really embiggened the role with her cromulent performance as Secretary of State.) But ginned-up conspiracy theories like this are not a solid foundation on which to build America’s foreign policy — or any other government policy, for that matter.
But for this handful of Hoosier Congressmen, it’s just standard operating procedure. Burton, Rokita, and Stutzman signed on to Trent Frank’s “black genocide” anti-abortion conspiracy theory bill, and let’s just say that it wasn’t the first time Dan Burton has jumped on the conspiracy theory train.