(The Root) — What a difference some Thanksgiving turkey and time off can make. Apparently the downtime worked wonders on the moods of certain members of Congress, namely Sen. John McCain. Just weeks ago the man said of United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice, “I will do everything in my power to block her from being the United States Secretary of State,” in response to her comments regarding the attack in Benghazi, Libya. By Sunday, McCain had this to say: “Sure, she can give everyone the benefit of explaining their position, and the actions they took. I’ll be glad to have the opportunity to discuss these issues with her.”
Late Monday, another development emerged. The senator agreed to meet privately with Rice.
McCain’s position, which a plethora of media outlets described as having “softened,” can be credited to a number of factors. First, the vehemence with which the senator challenged Rice’s qualifications strained credibility at best and was downright laughable at worst. The man who introduced Sarah Palin on the global stage labeled the ambassador “not qualified.” As a result, he and other members of the GOP were accused of using coded racial language to target her.
Additionally, the same passion that the senator has used to lambaste Rice for potentially misleading statements came across as sounding awfully familiar. It was reminiscent of the passion he used to defend Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice for misleading statements in the lead-up to the war in Iraq. As these contradictions mounted, so did the perception that the senator was being motivated by more than just ideological differences with Susan Rice. According to sources, the animus between them is personal.
Should Susan Rice become secretary of state, she may have another high-ranking elected official besides President Obama to thank: With McCain’s overzealous attacks on her inspiring cries of racism, sexism and good old partisanship, he has managed to unite progressives behind the president for Election 2012, the Sequel: the Battle for Rice.