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Should the Secretary of State be a dupe? Part Two

Rep. Peter King has criticized U.N. ambassador Susan Rice for relying solely on talking points provided to her when she appeared on the Sunday morning talk shows after the Benghazi attack. King notes that, as U.N. ambassador, Rice “had access to all the classified information from the State Department” and “could have gotten a classified briefing.” He argues that she should have taken advantage of this access and performed some independent review before parroting talking points she could not vouch for.

King is right, and Rice’s willingness to act as an (apparently) unwitting conduit of (what turned to be) misinformation raises serious questions as to her fitness to be Secretary.

Throughout U.S. history, the Secretary of State job typically has been filled by individuals of the very highest distinction. The list of Secretaries includes:

John Jay
Thomas Jefferson
John Marshall
James Madison
James Monroe
John Quincy Adams
Henry Clay
Martin Van Buren
Daniel Webster
John Calhoun
James Buchanan
Lewis Cass
William Seward
Hamiltion Fish
James Blaine
John Sherman
John Hay
William Jennings Bryan
Charles Evans Hughes
Cordell Hull
George Marshall
Dean Acheson
Henry Kissinger
George Shultz
James Baker
Colin Powell
Condoleezza Rice
Hilary Clinton

This group constitutes approximately 40 percent of those who have held the position.

Most of our remaining Secretaries of State were lesser personages, but personages virtually all them were. It’s difficult to identify a lightweight in the bunch.

And it’s certainly difficult to imagine any of them being enlisted, while serving in a “cabinet level” position, to serve as a glorified press spokesperson by presenting to the American public the facts regarding an attack on America without either having direct knowledge of those facts or taking the time to understand the facts based on a review of core documents.

But President Obama has no great respect for the traditions and the institutions of the United States. And notwithstanding the “Team of Rivals” talk, what he really values at the end of the day is a team of “Team Players.” Thus, the prospect of a Susan Rice nomination cannot be ruled out.

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