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Secretary Kerry

With a little prodding, Sen. John Kerry once reluctantly showed me his childhood passport. It was tattooed with border crossing stamps from almost all the Western European countries. From 1951 to 1954, his father Richard Kerry, a career Foreign Service officer, worked as an attorney for what was then called the Bureau of United Nations in the State Department. But when John was 10 years old, Richard Kerry was assigned to Berlin to serve as legal advisor at the U.S. mission in the divided German city. – Born on the Seventh Floor, by Douglas Brinkley

IT’S THE role he has wanted, second only to the presidency, with multiple reports confirming the news. John Kerry is made for this job. It’s no risk for President Obama, a safe choice because Senate Republicans have already nominated him themselves.

President Barack Obama on Friday will nominate Sen. John Kerry, the former presidential candidate who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, to be the next secretary of state, a senior administration official told CNN. [CNN]

I’ve worked for an organization Kerry envisioned and implemented, the Patriot Project, which came to the offense of veterans being smeared by the right, known as swiftboating. It’s just one reason I backed his nomination over Susan Rice. One of the signature pieces I did for them was on Jack Murtha in 2006, the first in the House to speak out against the Iraq war; followed by a campaign for Joe Sestak, who was under a barrage of scurrilous accusations when he first ran for Congress. I have a note from former Admiral Sestak on my mantle given to me after the battle.

Chatting one on one with Kerry for an hour once, in an off the record interview after he lost the presidency, the strongest take away from our conversation was his deliberation and surety, but also his extreme generosity. He offered his views up and listened to mine, when there was nothing in it for him to do so and no reason for hm to take the time.

John Kerry will be a climate hawk and compared to anyone else considered for the post he’s a leading steward of the philosophy that climate change is a diplomatic priority for America’s national security. He also is no novice to Pentagon trickery and budget theft.

Establishment and conventional choice that he is, I’m glad for the man. After a lifetime of service to his country, he’s earned the promotion and America will be well served by him.

Perhaps Kerry would be more outspoken inside the White House than out. He is not one to speak out of turn. The combination of his natural ponderousness and his extreme care about secret discussions often make him maddeningly vague in public. His default public posture is a kind of high-minded WASP propriety. In private, he is a gracious man with impeccable manners, genuinely curious about others, at times touchingly deferential. And the same restraint and reserve which made him such an unsatisfying presidential candidate have also made him the kind of consummate diplomat whom the White House has counted on to soothe troubled waters in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sudan, and elsewhere. Kerry has shortcomings. Who doesn’t? But I can’t think of anyone who would be better for the job. – James Traub

A fitting nod would be to appoint Barney Frank to assume Kerry’s senate seat for the interim.

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21 Responses to Secretary Kerry

  1. mjsmith December 21, 2012 at 1:04 pm #

    On October 9, 2002, Massachusetts Senator John Kerry stood on the Senate floor and spoke in favor of the invasion of Iraq. The next day he voted to authorize President Bush to go to war.

    • angels81 December 21, 2012 at 1:30 pm #

      And your point is what? Does this mean he shouldn’t be Sec State?

      • angels81 December 21, 2012 at 2:13 pm #

        Being a Vietnam combat vet, who was also in VVAW when I came back, please tell me how Kerry slandered Vietnam Vets.

        • mjsmith December 21, 2012 at 10:50 pm #

          “It’s not slander to say that some soldiers, and some of their commanders in war commit war crimes. It’s stating the obvious. Even in the best armies, there will be criminals in uniform, and there will be commanders who don’t want to follow the rules. The test of an army’s character, and the country that army represents, is what they choose to do about those crimes.”

          I agree with this too. the USA did go after and prosecute our own soldiers who had committed crimes. What other country holds our soldiers more responsible for their actions than the USA?

          What Kerry said in 1971 and what Murtha said in regards to Haditha were wrong. Neither person ever backed up their most serious claims. If you want to test an amry’s character and the country/group that army represents, why not take a look at what we were fighting against in both cases.

          • Cujo359 December 21, 2012 at 11:46 pm #

            What Kerry and Murtha discussed were things that the military and their bosses at that time tried to sweep under the rug. That’s what I meant by a nation’s character – that was perfectly OK with a lot of people in America, particularly the ones who didn’t want to see.

          • Cujo359 December 23, 2012 at 3:46 pm #

            Haditha happened, and only a sergeant was convicted of anything. Free fire zones were a well known phenomenon of the Vietnam War.

            So I don’t know what you’re talking about, and I strongly suspect that makes two of us.

          • mjsmith December 24, 2012 at 11:28 am #

            Neither did Kerry or Murtha know what they were talking about then they compared US troops to the mongol hordes and cold blooded killers.

          • Cujo359 December 24, 2012 at 3:00 pm #

            Ah, yes, the choice of someone with no argument left but anger – the use of “compares with” followed by something that is offensive or negative. That means you get to be mortally offended, and you win the argument!

            If a behavior exhibits some person or group happens to resemble that of something negative or offensive, then analogy is an appropriate tool. How much does it resemble the actions of someone we find negative or offensive, and is that enough? The difference I see is that instead of embracing such actions, our leaders swept them under the rug. Maybe that’s better, but I hardly think it’s anything to be proud of.

            BTW: Just for the record, I don’t accept that Kerry or Murtha actually made those connections. It might he true, but I remember no such thing. I write this in the interest of not appearing to concede a debatable point while making one that I feel is more important. If someone has quotes, feel free to share. Another feature of discussions like this with right wingers is that quite often they twist words or make them up entirely, and I don’t want to be giving any credence to such claims.

          • Cujo359 December 24, 2012 at 5:36 pm #

            “behavior exhibits exhibited by some person”

        • mjsmith December 21, 2012 at 10:52 pm #

          Angels81 – seems like a post of mine had been censored. See below.

          • Taylor Marsh December 22, 2012 at 9:54 am #

            Your comment was deleted, mjsmith, as are any comments that are defamatory, especially against decorated veterans. That is my prerogative as publisher and editor in chief of TM.

            There are many who know the details of Kerry and Murtha’s records, but I’m an expert on swiftboating and I won’t have it done in the comments on this site by anyone.

          • angels81 December 22, 2012 at 12:43 pm #

            Thank you.

      • Cujo359 December 21, 2012 at 3:09 pm #

        “Kerry in regards to Vietnam and Murtha in regards to Haditha.”

        It’s not slander to say that some soldiers, and some of their commanders in war commit war crimes. It’s stating the obvious. Even in the best armies, there will be criminals in uniform, and there will be commanders who don’t want to follow the rules. The test of an army’s character, and the country that army represents, is what they choose to do about those crimes.

        • angels81 December 21, 2012 at 3:14 pm #


      • jinbaltimore December 22, 2012 at 9:51 am #

        It was THE reason may fauxgressives gave for why HRC should not have been president. Gave them plenty of cover for their sexism.

  2. jjamele December 21, 2012 at 2:00 pm #

    Whoever the next Sec of State is, he or she will have a track record as a war monger, if not war profiteer. That’s the shape of the Administration, our government, and our country today.

    Waiting for a Peacenik to be appointed Sec of State is about as productive as waiting for Paul Krugman to appointed Treasury Secretary.

    • jinbaltimore December 22, 2012 at 9:52 am #


  3. Cujo359 December 21, 2012 at 3:19 pm #

    Taylor – small correction – that quote is from an article written by Douglas Brinkley, not David.

    Meanwhile, my perception of John Kerry, while I’ve never actually met him, is much like young Brinkley’s and Taylor’s. Still, as I’ve pointed out for years, the man seems to lose his moral center when opportunity comes knocking. How else do you square the seeming contradiction that this is the man who asked “How do you ask a man to be the last to die for a mistake?” with his vote on the AUMF?

    I’d love to think he’s a little wiser now, but I just don’t see any sign of it. Whatever he does at State, I’ll be pleasantly surprised if it’s more than what Susan Rice would have done.

  4. fangio December 21, 2012 at 4:00 pm #

    Kerry has spent the last twenty years keeping his seat warm. In the last days of the Alito hearings he sent an urgent email to the Judiciary committee. It said Alito was a dangerous nominee and should not be confirmed. Where was Kerry when he sent that email? He was in Switzerland, skiing. During the 2004 campaign Kerry was being interviewed by Don Imus who was then doing radio out of New York. Kerry was in Illinois at a campaign stop. It was the day the Abu Ghraib story broke and Imus kept trying to get Kerry to talk about it. Not only did he do everything to avoid talking about it but at one point became irate and said he only agreed to the interview so he could talk about his economic program. On election night he threw in the towel early even though there were wide spread reports of voter irregularities, especially in Ohio. Kerry is a loser, but that’s OK; one loser deserves another.

    • angels81 December 21, 2012 at 4:43 pm #

      What a bunch of silly tripe, sounds like something you would hear on Fox News. Did you get this silly shit from some Hannity show?

  5. mjsmith December 24, 2012 at 11:46 am #

    I am not against Kerry being Secretary of State. It was revealed recently, from different reliable sources, that Israel and Syria were very close to reaching a peace treaty. This was also during the same time that Kerry had been traveling to Syria. Something like this does not happen unless the USA is involved.

    I also found this page that reflects on some of Sen. Kerry’s strong capabilities –

    “The Americans are unsatisfied with the Syrians’ conduct, but continue to talk to them. Fred Jones, a spokesman for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said Kerry planned to discuss “regional issues” with Assad.

    Kerry clarified that “while the United States has serious, long-standing disagreements with Syria, in particular its support for Hezbollah and other terrorist groups, Syria can play a critical role in bringing peace and stability if it makes the strategic decision to do so.”

    In the past, Senator Kerry demonstrated his special diplomatic capabilities in Afghanistan, when he succeeded in preventing a serious crisis in the relations between the Obama administration and President Hamid Karzai.”

    I am not trin to slander anyone. If I have concerns about someone it is good to bring them up. Yes the “swift boat” attacks against Kerry was an effective slander attack on Kerry. I am just looking at Kerry by what he had said himself.

    Kerry raised concerns about Justice Alito and even went as far as to call for a filibuster to his nomination.

    It is OK to bring up concerns about a person who is being nominated to a position in the government.

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