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.