(Daily Beast) -- Things maybe aren’t looking so great for Susan Rice. The throw-down yesterday by Maine GOP Sen. Susan Collins, who extended the Republican case against Rice back to the Clinton years, is one of those Washington smoke signals, and it’s not a positive one. Let me therefore set aside for a day the question of the merits of Rice and raise another one: Who would make for some credible, interesting, outside-the-box choices to run Foggy Bottom? There are ample non-Rice options that would provide the nation with a strong chief diplomat and would piss off the wingnuts in the bargain. Here are half a dozen.
1. Al Gore. I first heard this suggestion from my friend David Greenberg, the historian who writes for Slate, and I though, nahhh. But it grew on me pretty fast. Tell me why not. He’d be great. He’s known around the world. He’s respected around the world, about 90 percent of which surely wishes he’d been the president instead of the guy he beat. I’m not saying he’d change the world; no one can do that. But he’d get a hearing everywhere. He knows a huge number of world leaders, and he knows the issues cold. He could dive right into the pool’s deepest end, in the Middle East, on Iran, you name it.