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Why the Long Face Senator Kerry?

Next time….I’d get those “promises” from Obama in writing!  

kerry-long-face2Gee Senator Kerry….why such a long face?  Cheer up….your guy won.  Isn’t that what you were campaining for?  Isn’t that what you wanted? 
What’s that you say……Barack Obama promised you Secretary of State in exchange for your email list, donor list and campaign support.  Bummer!
For most senators, assuming the chairmanship of the Foreign Relations Committee would be the pinnacle of a public service career. For John Kerry, it is a bit of a gold-plated consolation prize.After being edged out of the White House in 2004 by President Bush, Mr. Kerry has struggled to find his footing back in the Senate. A junior member of his panel — one Barack Obama — has gone on to win the presidency. For his secretary of state, Mr. Obama chose not Mr. Kerry, but Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Now Mr. Kerry’s first hearing as chairman on Tuesday will be to consider the nomination of Mrs. Clinton, the woman he did not endorse for president, to the premier cabinet position in the administration of the man he did back. It cannot be the outcome he had in mind.

Yet colleagues say Mr. Kerry, the Massachusetts Democrat newly elected to a fifth term, is a perfect fit for the chairmanship of a committee that set his own political career in motion in 1971 when he appeared before it as an antiwar veteran to speak about Vietnam. They do not expect lingering tension between Mr. Kerry and Mrs. Clinton as she assumes her cabinet slot.

Mr. Kerry, an acknowledged authority on many aspects of the international landscape he will be surveying, said that he was looking only forward, that too much was made of personal political wrangling, and that he was settling in for an aggressive engagement on foreign affairs in concert with the administration, or on his own if need be.

“We will not hesitate to try and push and cajole and leverage where we think we need to,” Mr. Kerry said.

Mr. Kerry had expressed strong interest in becoming secretary of state, but he said the committee offered freedom he would have never enjoyed in that post.

Colleagues say no less of an expert than Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware, the departing chairman and incoming vice president, assured Mr. Kerry he would be better off staying on the committee.

“This is a great job,” Mr. Kerry, who turned 65 last month, said in an interview. “This is an opportunity to affect policies I have cared about for a long time. I am sitting in a terrific seat. I am independent, call my shots. There are a lot of virtues, believe me.”

Mr. Kerry has also moved to beef up his investigative staff, an indication that he might try to concentrate significant effort on the type of Congressional inquiries he headed earlier in his Senate career. Those committee investigations were once a hallmark of Mr. Kerry during a Congressional tenure that some believe has never fully met expectations.

Thomas Mann, an expert on Congress at the Brookings Institution, said the chairmanship offered an “excellent opportunity to make the mark in the Senate and in national policymaking that he has long aspired to but not yet achieved.”

“The challenges are just gigantic,” Kerry said. “I really don’t approach this with anything other than the sense of the possibilities here. I think we are going to have a very different foreign policy and I think we are going to have a very different moment for America. And I look forward to having a role in it.”


One Response

  1. Awesome post and I absolutely love your “why the long face” line. Awesome, keep it up.

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