William Katz:  Urgent Agenda

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SHORT TAKES ON THE DRIFTING WRECKAGE – AT 9:44 P.M. ET: 

A FUNNY THING HAPPENED TO HER ON THE WAY TO... – Susan Rice has withdrawn her name for consideration for secretary of state.  The problem apparently went well beyond her deceptive statements about Benghazi.  The fact is, a lot of people just don't like here, proving once again the importance of personal behavior and relationships in politics.  She offended too many people along the line and, shock, they remembered.  The favorite for the post, at least according to the conventional wisdom, is John Kerry.  Kerry would hardly be my choice for secretary of state, but, as Rudy Giuliani pointed out, in the Obama universe he's one of the more acceptable people.  Shows how we've slipped.

THE HAGEL HUSTLE – It's being reported that the nomination of former Republican Senator Chuck Hagel for secretary of defense is essentially a done deal.  It would, as we've written here, be a disgraceful appointment.  The man disagrees with the fundamental tenets of the foreign policy that allowed us to win the Cold War.  He's a world-class appeaser of Iran, and his nomination would send "the big okay" to the mullahs.  And he's a Republican turncoat.  But already the Obama press is polishing his apple.  Dana Bash, on CNN, informed us that Hagel's nomination would be seen as bipartisan because he's a Republican.  Calling Chuck Hagel a Republican is like calling Benedict Arnold an American.  He is a complete turncoat who had to leave the Senate because he couldn't even be assured of his own party's renomination.  He's since become a big fave of the Obama crowd, with a distinctly left-wing foreign policy.  Hmm.  Kerry at State, Hagel at Defense.  How about O.J. Simpson for attorney general?

PULLBACK – We mentioned today that Hillary Clinton is scheduled to appear before congressional committees on the 20th to answer questions about Benghazi.  Now we're being told by the State Department that this is by no means certain.  The American people have a right to hear the testimony of their secretary of state about one of the most tragic incidents in modern American diplomatic history.  Apparently, there are some in the Obama administration who don't think so.  I wonder if this is pushback because of the Rice episode.  There are also reports that the administration may not even share its internal investigation of Benghazi with Congress.  Add this to the Kerry/Hagel axis and you have the start of a radial, angry, defiant second term.

THE USUAL SUSPECTS – Several New Jersey state legislators are proposing that the state cancel or delay standardized tests for students because of the "traumatic" effects on students.  Sounds like part of the old excuse machine that has held many student groups back, especially in large cities.  I was not aware that hurricanes impacted mathemtical logic or the ability to read.  True, some students lost a few days of school, but there is no law against studying at home.  Indeed, schools could have found unique ways, given all the personal electronic devices around, to use the time.  Kids must learn that, in life, there will be disruptions and setbacks, and they can't expect a handout, or a testing delay, every time the heavens thunder.

December 13, 2012