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Wed Jan 30, 2013, 10:10 AM

SECRETARY KERRY By Charles P. Pierce

http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/The_Confirmation_Of_John_Kerry?src=rss

The only things keeping the nomination of John Kerry as the next Secretary Of State from being unanimous were the votes of the toweringly embarrassing senatorial delegation from the state of Texas, and the dumber half of the senatorial delegation from Oklahoma, which, incidentally, makes the delegation from Texas look like the Congress of Vienna. That he failed to convince John Cornyn, Ted Cruz, and James Inhofe of his qualifications as the country's top diplomat is no disgrace. In fact, it's the strongest argument in favor of Kerry's getting the hell out of Dodge after 28 years in the Senate. Even negotiating with armed lunatics around the world has got to be easier than trying to treat with the many odd critters cavorting through the Inhofe cabeza.

It is a capital mistake to look at Kerry's ascent to his new job as some kind of redemption play. He lost the presidency in 2004 because his campaign was not quite good enough to overcome the natural inertial force of an incumbent, even the worst one who ever stood for re-election, some organized national gay-baiting, and, let's be honest, some wholesale (and still largely unplumbed) chicanery in the state of Ohio. He did not run a bad campaign, just the wrong one, at the time. He has nothing to come back from, except on the idiotic scoreboard that the Beltway wiseguys and the courtier press keep in their minds.

And, of course, it is a job to which he was born. He's the son of a diplomat. He remembers riding his bicycle through the bombed-out streets of Berlin in the aftermath of World War II. And in the Senate, he's always had one foot overseas. We have an embassy in Vietnam right now because John Kerry (and, to be fair, John McCain) got the United States to look at Vietnam as a country, and not simply as a war. (If people had done that same thing in, say, 1965, neither Kerry nor McCain might be in the Senate right now, and millions of other people would still be alive.) But, if you ask me about Kerry's qualifications as Secretary Of State, I will answer in an acroynym -- BCCI.

For all the talk about how stiff and cold he is, there is in Kerry a very nimble mind and a remarkable ability to think outside the box. It took a nimble mind to become the spokesman for veterans who came home to protest against the war in which they had fought, and in which their brothers were still fighting. "How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?" is a question from the deepest part of the imagination because it connects so solidly with the deepest part of the imagination of the people to whom it is asked. Who will be that last man? Your brother? Your cousin? The kid you played football with in high school? When he went after BCCI, he did so against the advice of almost everyone else in Washington. who didn't want their secrets revealed or the bodies dug up. For his entire career, Kerry's political imagination has encompassed the possibilty that his own government may have been complicit in crimes, and that has made people very nervous.
...

Read more: Secretary Kerry - Esquire http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/The_Confirmation_Of_John_Kerry#ixzz2JTJS3MFF

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Arrow 20 replies Author Time Post
Reply SECRETARY KERRY By Charles P. Pierce (Original post)
Mass Jan 2013 OP
whometense Jan 2013 #1
sinkingfeeling Jan 2013 #2
blm Jan 2013 #3
whometense Jan 2013 #4
karynnj Jan 2013 #7
whometense Jan 2013 #10
beachmom Jan 2013 #14
YvonneCa Jan 2013 #15
blm Jan 2013 #5
Voice for Peace Jan 2013 #6
ProSense Jan 2013 #8
beachmom Jan 2013 #9
MBS Jan 2013 #11
MBS Jan 2013 #12
beachmom Jan 2013 #13
Inuca Feb 2013 #20
MH1 Jan 2013 #16
YvonneCa Jan 2013 #17
demdiva Jan 2013 #18
MH1 Jan 2013 #19

Response to Mass (Original post)

Wed Jan 30, 2013, 10:13 AM

1. hah! beat me to it by a second!

I'll take mine down. I love this part:

It is a capital mistake to look at Kerry's ascent to his new job as some kind of redemption play. He lost the presidency in 2004 because his campaign was not quite good enough to overcome the natural inertial force of an incumbent, even the worst one who ever stood for re-election, some organized national gay-baiting, and, let's be honest, some wholesale (and still largely unplumbed) chicanery in the state of Ohio. He did not run a bad campaign, just the wrong one, at the time. He has nothing to come back from, except on the idiotic scoreboard that the Beltway wiseguys and the courtier press keep in their minds.

Read more: Secretary Kerry - Esquire http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/The_Confirmation_Of_John_Kerry#ixzz2JTJxYfwW


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Response to Mass (Original post)

Wed Jan 30, 2013, 10:15 AM

2. Old Charlie certainly has a way with words!

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Response to Mass (Original post)

Wed Jan 30, 2013, 10:32 AM

3. Glad to see we're not the only ones who 'get' the import of BCCI.

.

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Response to blm (Reply #3)

Wed Jan 30, 2013, 10:45 AM

4. Amen:

(The worst thing you can do if you want John Kerry to ignore something is to tell him it's none of his business.)


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Response to whometense (Reply #4)

Wed Jan 30, 2013, 11:16 AM

7. I really really liked that sentence too!

It was interesting that in one of the speculation articles before Obama announced Kerry, the negative that the WP suggested that Kerry had was that he was too "independent." One of the comments here had the more correct idea, DC is not used to something like his essential integrity.

This is a fantastic tribute to JK.

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Response to karynnj (Reply #7)

Wed Jan 30, 2013, 02:11 PM

10. Especially considering the source.

Pierce is a local guy, and knows Kerry well - he wrote one of the best 2004 pieces on JK. He's also been around the block more than a few times, and is fairly cynical concerning pols and their motivations, so from him this could almost be considered gushy.

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Response to whometense (Reply #10)

Wed Jan 30, 2013, 07:19 PM

14. Thanks for the link. I have to re-read that one.

Rolling Stone also tweeted out their big cover story article from '04, which I'm also going to re-read:

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/john-kerry-the-rolling-stone-interview-20041111

Ah, 2004. Good times.

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Response to beachmom (Reply #14)

Wed Jan 30, 2013, 07:28 PM

15. Memories. Thanks for posting this...

...beachmom.

I like the last question:


Finally, if you were to look back over eight years of a Kerry presidency, what would you hope would be said about it?

That it always told the truth to the American people, that it always fought for average folks. And that we raised the quality of life in America and made America safer. I want to be the president who gets health care done for Americans. I want to be the president who helps to fix our schools and end this separate-and-unequal school system we have in America. And I want to be the president who re-establishes America's reputation in the world which is part of making us safer. There's a huge opportunity here to really lift our country up, and that's what I want to do.


Seems he did most of this...


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Response to Mass (Original post)

Wed Jan 30, 2013, 10:54 AM

5. You should crosspost to GD, Mass. It's a chance to educate.

.

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Response to Mass (Original post)

Wed Jan 30, 2013, 11:01 AM

6. very encouraging article about Kerry, I think

thanks! K&R

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Response to Mass (Original post)

Wed Jan 30, 2013, 11:56 AM

8. Excellent piece.

It's thrilling to see John Kerry getting the recognition he deserves, from this piece to the Lawrence O'Donnell tribute to the SFRC resolution.

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Response to Mass (Original post)

Wed Jan 30, 2013, 12:09 PM

9. Great article, BUT ....

There are some barriers in this area of government secrecy which Sec. Kerry may not be able to overcome. First off, it is the fact that the Obama Admin. has a pretty poor record in honoring truly open government. They have gone after whistleblowers (including Kerry's former foreign relations committee staffer John Kiriakou) with startling zeal, and have become more and more secretive since that one moment of opening the door, i.e. The Torture Memos.

Secondly, I don't know if I agree with his very pessimistic statements about the internet and "cyber security": http://killerapps.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2013/01/24/john_kerry_acknowledges_cyber_as_one_of_worlds_greatest_threats I just think it is fashionable for politicians to jump up and down about internet threats (everything I have read is that it is mostly economic espionage which is the problem from places like China, and less security issues, and of course people illegally downloading America's intellectual property which seems to be a mostly unsolvable problem). Usually, it leads to either the U.S. or international organizations to propose godawful terrible laws that would hurt the openness of the internet while gaining nothing in terms of security. So I hope Sec. Kerry gets a good cyber adviser -- less military more Silicon Valley in viewpoint. The internet is the one new variable that didn't exist at all when he protested against the Vietnam War, and was only in its infancy when he investigated BCCI, et al.

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Response to Mass (Original post)

Wed Jan 30, 2013, 06:06 PM

11. I love Charlie Pierce.

I loved the 4th paragraph you excerpted ("there is in Kerry a very nimble mind". .

and also this:
. . .This country has yet to elect a president who served in that (Vietnam) war. . . Neither has it elected anyone who was a highly visible member of the opposition to that war. . . . Kerry, of course, was both, and he lost the presidency to a guy who, when Kerry was driving boats up the inland waterways of the Mekong, couldn't seem to find Alabama. In terms of the executive branch of the government, power skipped that generation.
This may make the biggest difference going forward. Kerry's political imagination is global; he is likely to treat climate change as part of his portfolio as Secretary of State the way he treated BCCI as part of his portfolio as a senator. (The worst thing you can do if you want John Kerry to ignore something is to tell him it's none of his business.) He knows better than most the limits of American power because he was there when they were tested and found criminally wanting, and he was there to test them himself when he came home. Throughout his careers, he has been manifestly distrustful of the culture of secrecy bred by the national security state. He has questioned its operations and its operatives. He has tried to chase down its crimes. He has followed its money. He may not be willing or able to keep this president from tip-toeing right up to the line of covert savagery, but there is nobody more capable of explaining the consequences, or of laying out, in detail, what might come next. John Kerry knows how black ops can turn blood-red, how covert activities become overt combat. He is an expert on how countries delude themselves into wars. That may be enough.



Read more: The Confirmation of John Kerry - Secretary Kerry - Esquire http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/The_Confirmation_Of_John_Kerry#ixzz2JVEzQHow

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Response to MBS (Reply #11)

Wed Jan 30, 2013, 06:18 PM

12. plus these comments on Pierce's article

(one of the best parts of Pierce's blog is the intelligence of most of the comments. The blogging-in-pajamas-in-Mom's-basement-demographic seems to be blessedly smaller than usual among the commenters) . Some favorites:

Barry Friedman University of Tulsa
The people who mocked Kerry for wondering "How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?" were never in danger of being asked. They were either doing missionary work in south of France, hanging out in bars in Tuscaloosa, frequented by National Guard members, or sitting out the war entirely with anal warts and bad knees. Chuck Hagel, John Kerry, and Al Gore--they fought, they served. Ted Cruz, John Cornyn, Jim Inhofe--they didn't.


Sean Falvey Long Beach, California
Don't believe for a minute that Kerry's BCCI investigation and the people in the intelligence world he pissed off was not part of the reason he was swiftboated so effectively.

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Response to MBS (Reply #12)

Wed Jan 30, 2013, 07:17 PM

13. That second one is especially interesting

I remain hopelessly naive, and am stunned when I think of what kind of conspiracy may have been behind the SBVT.

My only quibble: ahem, what's wrong with blogging in one's pajamas?

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Response to beachmom (Reply #13)

Fri Feb 1, 2013, 11:25 AM

20. I guess

it depends on the pajamas, I am sure yours are very cute

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Response to Mass (Original post)

Wed Jan 30, 2013, 08:27 PM

16. Great article, thanks for posting!

Pierce is aces.

I think he kinda like JK, too.

At least, he seems to realize that JK is in a tiny subset of truly talented and truly DECENT people who manage to attain some level of power in this world, and aren't corrupted by the experience.

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Response to MH1 (Reply #16)

Wed Jan 30, 2013, 09:45 PM

17. Decent. That is the perfect...

...word.

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Response to Mass (Original post)

Thu Jan 31, 2013, 05:37 PM

18. Dang I haven't been here in so long I keep trying to LIKE things

LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE

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Response to demdiva (Reply #18)

Thu Jan 31, 2013, 06:29 PM

19. LOL, I can relate.

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