Are Republicans ganging up on Susan Rice because she’s an uppity black woman? asked Sophia Nelson in For three months now, the Right has hounded the U.S. ambassador to the U.N. over comments she made following the raid on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya. Rice—who’s on President Obama’s short list to replace Hillary Clinton as secretary of state—initially said the attack was a “spontaneous” riot by “extremists,” rather than a terrorist assault. Even though the ambassador was just repeating what the CIA told her, Sen. Lindsey Graham blasted Rice as “incompetent,” while John McCain called her “not very bright.” These code words smack of “race-baiting and gender bias of the most insidious kind,” implying that Rice is an “affirmative action baby” who “doesn’t deserve to be where she is.” For Republicans, this is a recurring theme, said Alec MacGillis in Over the past four years, the GOP has vitriolically targeted Obama’s African-American aides, from Van Jones to Eric Holder and now Rice.

How curious that only Democrats suffer from racial discrimination, said Victor Davis Hanson in Colin Powell, President George W. Bush’s first secretary of state, was mocked by liberals for passing on misinformation about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction. “I don’t recall him alleging racism.” Liberal senators also ripped into Powell’s successor, Condoleezza Rice, during her confirmation hearings. Was that racist and sexist? Of course not. Conservatives have a very legitimate beef with Rice, said Deroy Murdock in the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Did Rice go on those Sunday talk shows to play a purely political role, and shield Obama from criticism about Benghazi during a tight re-election race? “This is a legitimate question, and one need not wear white sheets to ask it.”

But the focus on Benghazi is counterproductive, said Trudy Rubin in The Philadelphia Inquirer. By attacking Rice so relentlessly, Republicans will only encourage Obama to fight back and nominate her as the next secretary of state, rather than the other, better candidate—Sen. John Kerry. At the U.N., Rice has angered other diplomats with her imperious manner, denouncing Russia and China as “disgusting,” and bullying European diplomats over Iran. Kerry “knows every global player” and has a cool, diplomatic demeanor. If Republicans truly prefer Kerry to Rice, they “would do better to button their lips.”