Everybody brave enough to enter the public arena gets a few free passes when they utter something short of brilliant, but most of the criticisms aimed at Rice seem ungrounded in reality. To blame Rice for representing the administration's position as provided to her at the time is missing the target, which is properly the White House.
Does Rice have an aggressive personality, as some have said? And does this pose a risk in nominating her? Yes and yes. She notoriously once flipped the bird to diplomat Richard Holbrooke during a State Department meeting.
Such an impulsive act is no recommendation, but is it emblematic or merely anecdotal? Aggression — and even occasional rudeness — is rarely considered a flaw in men.
The investigation into what transpired in Benghazi — bad things sometimes happen in dangerous places — is certainly appropriate. The administration's incoherent handling of information deserves scrutiny. But Rice, barring something we don't know, clearly has the qualifications for secretary of state.
And thoughtful Republicans might reconsider the image of white men ganging up on a highly qualified black woman as they ponder the reasons for their collapsing tent. The road to redemption ain't that-a-way.
WASHINGTON POST WRITERS GROUP