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Sat Dec 8, 2012, 10:18 AM

environmental take on SoS : NBC News (apologies for adding to SoS flames)

This was sent to me by a friend, and I thought it was an interesting take. Certainly, it echoes my own (pretty negative) views of Susan Rice , who I think lacks the temperament to be SoS; whose pretty obvious lobbying for the job is IMHO pretty tacky and suggests she's interested in the job mainly for career advancement; and the Keystone thing (mentioned in this article) has also bothered me.
One thing that I like about this article is that it serves as public, widely-disseminated confirmation of Sen. Kerry's stellar record on environmental issues; no matter what happens vis a vis SoS, the record of Sen Kerry's efforts on this front will hopefully remain lodged a little more deeply in people's memories. Another thing I liked: that the article was focused on the environmental consequences of the appointment, and drew upon the views of various conservation and environmental organizations.

http://firstread.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/12/08/15763366-rice-under-fire-from-left-as-kerrys-name-wont-go-away


It’s not just Benghazi anymore.One of the most controversial energy projects in the nation also has become a flash point in the drama surrounding who may become the next secretary of state – and it’s coming from the left instead of the right. Back on Nov. 28, “OnEarth,” published by the Natural Resources Defense Council, dug into U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice’s financial disclosures and found that she and her husband have a stake in TransCanada, the company pushing for the Keystone XL Pipeline to be built. NRDC officials say it's an important issue that must be discussed during the nomination process. But the timing of the report raises questions, as it is being surfaced by an environmental activist community that has previously given support to another potential secretary of state candidate – Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry.

The decision on whether to approve the pipeline goes through the State Department. Bill McKibben, an anti-pipeline activist, told the publication: “It’s really amazing that they’re considering someone for Secretary of State (-- he means Susan Rice: ed.) who has millions invested in these companies. The State Department has been rife with collusion with the Canadian pipeline builders, and it’s really distressing to have any sense that that might continue to go on.”
Susan Casey-Lefkowitz, the NRDC's director of international programs, sounded a less strident tone a day later: "What's most important is that she rid herself of her holdings in TransCanada and other tar sands-related companies, and we're confident she will do that ... What's most important is that we have a good, thorough review done.” The environmental group’s effort to shed light on Rice’s financial interest in TransCanada could be just an attempt, if Rice is nominated, to get a “thorough review” and make sure it has a staunch ally in trying to thwart the project, as Casey-Lefkowitz said.

But could it also be a signal that the NRDC prefers another candidate for the job – Sen. John Kerry, the other of the final two candidates reportedly being considered for the post?After all, environmental groups have strongly supported Kerry in the past and have a long working relationship with him. Like they would for most Democrats in a presidential election, for example, the NRDC and the League of Conservation Voters, among others, ran ads in the 2004 election boosting Kerry. LCV even endorsed Kerry before the New Hampshire Democratic primary that year, although it has notably not spoken out about Rice. . . The NRDC, which has been very involved in efforts to block Keystone, is the environmental interest group most pressing the issue of Rice’s financials. But others might not be as keen to see Kerry leave Capitol Hill. After all, consider that green groups already spent a lot of money trying to oust Republican Scott Brown from the Senate – and were successful.But if Kerry becomes secretary of state (or even defense secretary), his seat would become vacant, raising the potential for a costly and competitive special election.
“Who cares if the U.N. ambassador has a TransCanada stock. Who cares if the head of the FDA has TransCanada stock,” said a Democratic strategist and ally of the administration who is a veteran of confirmation battles. . .
. . .

What really is going on here likely has less to do with Rice and whether she should ascend to secretary of state, and more with the NRDC leveraging pressure on the president and the administration to make sure the pipeline is rejected again once it comes up for approval. And that could be soon. The next step in that approval phase, in fact, could come as early as next week, Droitsch said. TransCanada has applied for a shortened pipeline in hopes of having that approved – something the NRDC strongly opposes. A Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement could be released by the State Department as early as next week, Droitsch said.
“It is critically important for there to be independent decision-makers, free of conflict of interest, who can take an independent view,” she said. She then tied the administration’s decision on the pipeline to climate change . . . How Obama decides on the pipeline “signals where the U.S. is headed in terms of importing dirty fuels, inconsistent with an administration that is committed to fighting climate change,” Droitsch said. “We’re confident President Obama understands the seriousness around the issues surrounding this pipeline. Approving it sends the wrong signal about our country’s commitment to climate change. Yes, he’s under a lot of pressure, but the public is very concerned about this. It’s not a decision I know he’ll view lightly.”

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Response to MBS (Original post)

Sat Dec 8, 2012, 11:08 AM

1. Interesting POV on the environment

The more I see on Susan Rice, the more I agree with those (a small minority) who think the Senate Republicans really played a trick on the left by flagrantly opposing Susan Rice. (Or more likely - as they had a vested interest in making an issue on Benghazi and McCain had many reasons to dislike Rice from the past and she has,at best, mediocre relations with people in the Senate - the left faced with a Republican attack assumed that if the right hated her, she had to be the choice of the left. Additionally, the fact that they signaled what EVERYBODY already knew that Kerry was respected by almost all the key Republican leaders led the left to assume that either they just wanted a chance at the seat or that Kerry was the DINO/Republican acceptable choice.

In fact, one article hit one thing on the nail - that one possible concern with Kerry was that he had an "independent streak". Our words for that were that he has integrity, core beliefs and a conscience that he generally follows - even when it is not the politically wise thing to do. I also saw a 2009 article (that I can't find now) where Kerry spoke of having his independence and a position to impact fp as Chair - saying that there was a trade off and that he was ok with what he had. (It was jarring reading these two near the same time - with the connection being independence.)

In addition, on issue after issue, he is closer to the left's values than either Hillary Clinton or Susan Rice. ( All you have to consider is who was where on Keystone and on Honduras. Not to mention, neither would have done what Kerry did on the Contras or BCCI. ) It is ironic that one legacy of 2004, where the left never saw that Kerry had a more sterling left background than Dean, is that Kerry, who should be a hero to the left is lumped with centrists like the Clintons, but liked less than they are! More ironic is that the very conservative Gore is still iconic on the left.

To me, this choice will tell me a lot about Obama. Oddly give the left's position, choosing Rice will to me look like one of the following - cronyism or wanting to avoid another strong competing voice ( I think if both were in the NS team Kerry would be often allied more with Biden and, in fact, would likely influence Biden. )

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Response to karynnj (Reply #1)

Sat Dec 8, 2012, 11:49 AM

3. At this time, we need a strong foreign policy representative.

One who has the for-site to suggest what is ahead, address what needs to be done and understands the ramifications if things are not handled correctly. The last thing we need is another "yes" voice, just simply going along with the President. Mybe Senator Kerry could accomplish more as the Chairman, but I then question, if that is so, why would he still allow himself to be considered for this post.

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Response to MBS (Original post)

Sat Dec 8, 2012, 11:37 AM

2. I caught this article too, and I think it should concern environmentalists.

She will have to answer for her investments relating to the pipeline, but my guess is she will temporarily rid herself of them, while serving. That however still does not reassure me that she will not have a conflict of interest in approving or disapproving the pipeline.

I share your opinion of Ms. Rice, and I also believe she is only interested in advancing herself. And, I frankly can not find anywhere that her time with the Clinton administration or even as Ambassador to the UN has been THAT remarkable. I question exactly why she is supposedly the front runner. Her resume and education look wonderful, but she still lacks experience and qualifications. I understand she is very abrupt and not at all diplomatic in her dealings at the UN. I do have a favorite for SOS-John Kerry. I think he is the most qualified, experienced and diplomatic of the two. Actually, I have to wonder why the US should have to settle for second best, Susan Rice?

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Response to MBS (Original post)

Sat Dec 8, 2012, 12:03 PM

4. I read this article and it drove me nuts.

As usual, these idiots from NBCNews try to create dissension among Democrats (and against Kerry, as Montanaro is rarely positive about Kerry).

To be clear, it should come to no surprise that NDRC and LCV would prefer Kerry, for all the reasons that you could imagine (and frankly, Transcanada come very low in my mind).

But frankly, I am unsure why they question when these revelations have been done. This is a reasonable question to ask an answer for.

However, I am weary about attacks on Rice for wanting to promote herself. OMG, an intelligent woman wants to promote herself. I am sorry, but I think it is about time. In the world she and Kerry and other evolve, this is nothing new. My position, and it is nothing new for anybody here, is that she is competent for the job and that, while I think Kerry would be a better choice for the issues I care for, she will be fine if she is the choice (and frankly, she is probably a lot better than many other choices that went uncontested and will stay forgotten (who can name Nixon's SoS, for example? and it was certainly a period when a lot of foreign policy happened). So, no need to get upset on something like that.
NOTE: I just notice the title. To NBC editors that choose the title, Kerry's name wont go away because he is a legitimate choice and one that would probably have been chosen if the GOP had not attacked Rice. McCain and Graham may only be idiots, but they indeed succeeded stalling a choice that would have seen the natural one.

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Response to Mass (Reply #4)

Sat Dec 8, 2012, 12:37 PM

5. I agree with most everything you have written. n/t

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Response to MBS (Original post)

Sat Dec 8, 2012, 12:41 PM

6. One other reason why the Transcanada stocks is a no issue in my mind.

http://www.politico.com/story/2012/12/being-confirmed-to-top-dod-job-can-be-costly-84791.html?hp=l3
(and it is a legitimate issue)

I wished I knew where she stands on these issues, but, assuming she sells her stocks, I do not see them as an issue.

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Response to Mass (Reply #6)

Sat Dec 8, 2012, 02:58 PM

9. If not the stock, what about the vote?

And, I am sure there are all sort of ways of getting around permanently selling off investments.

I also doubt that his and Teresa's wealth is what would be holding him back from Defense. I just think he doesn't want it.

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Response to wisteria (Reply #9)

Sat Dec 8, 2012, 04:46 PM

10. defense doesn't seem too appealing, one reason i might like it is just

because all the swift boat liar thugs and others who attacked his service would hate it.

of course he would do a good job but there is so much more he could do as Senator or SOS .

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Response to JI7 (Reply #10)

Sat Dec 8, 2012, 08:01 PM

12. SOD would be a misuse of his talents


. I'm trying to stay agnostic on the Senate vs SoS issue, but SOD would be a bad idea IMHO

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Response to MBS (Original post)

Sat Dec 8, 2012, 01:25 PM

7. I find this article fascinating.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/08/us/politics/awkward-limbo-for-rice-as-criticism-rages.html?adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=1354976319-pfVrd+7DcDlAJJaZcoNCOA&_r=0

While I will not point at what I agree or not, I find this fascinating for what it shows concerning how nominations are made.

Another article states that another possibility would be for Rice to become NSC (and Obama's Kissinger I guess) dominating whomever is chosen as SoS. I am not sure how much this article is well sourced, but I have often wondered why they did not go this route.

Also, these last few days, I got the impression Kerry did not think he could win anymore. Of course, these impressions are just feelings, based on the number of interviews he gave, the fact that he openly talks about bringing back the treaty to the Senate floor, or his request largely published in the MA media for the administration to release a report about fishing. I may obviously be wrong, but it is quite a change of behavior compared to last month.

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Response to Mass (Reply #7)

Sat Dec 8, 2012, 02:34 PM

8. I was considering the same things as your last paragraph suggests,

but the timing of the vote on the treaty had nothing to do with Senator Kerry. And, he has to continue performing his current job. When I caught him on Mathew's show, I was waiting for something to be said regarding the post, but nothing was , so I guess it was agreed upon ahead of time that this subject was not to be brought up,which coincides with his low key approach on this subject. And, Ms.Rice was very public in her appearances in Washington for two days when she was trying to win over the Senators, and this move was done for obvious reasons.

Perhaps you are right, and if so, I will be disappointed in the President, as I do not share your liking of Rice and do not think she is being offered this post based on her stealer experience or qualifications. But, the idea that Kerry would be offered SOD as a sort of, we own you something gesture, is insulting as it ignores what he is most qualified for-which is SOS. This entire process has me questioning the ability of the President to even make up his mind, when he has a wealth of information on both candidates to make a wise choice. This is why I am beginning to think, it isn't about qualifications and experience as much as it is about a closer friendship. And, for what I think the US needs, I think it is the wrong reason to choice someone.

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Response to wisteria (Reply #8)


Response to MBS (Original post)

Mon Dec 10, 2012, 10:32 AM

13. Becoming worse everyday.

On one side, the left has finally caught on of the fact that Rice was not ideal on many aspects (I am talking about the true left here, not "Obama supporters"). Unfortunately, they now come out as siding on the same side of RW nuts at Fox and NR. I am starting to get weary of that openly stated support for Kerry by these people.

I also wonder what was the goal these morons had attacking Rice and pushing Kerry (and no, John Fund is not pushing Kerry because he agrees with him on foreign policy). I guess we will never know whether it was by design or by accident, but, if Susan Rice becomes Secretary of State, she will certainly owe that to the RW push against her.

OK, and now, I am going back to what I care a lot more: advocating for the voiceless, and making sure that Medicaid, food stamps, WIC are not wiped out by the fiscal cliff (Because I see a lot of dems talking about saving Medicare, but a lot less talking about these issues, and this really worries me).

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