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Mon Jun 25, 2012, 06:44 PM

long article on JK in Boston globe

Much of it is infuriating (infuriating above all is the headline itself :"Senator Kerry's closeness to Obama draws fire". My first reaction was: now that's supposed to be bad, too, according to the Globe? Jeez Louise.). But, in the end, the article felt to me like much ado (long article, prominently displayed on page 1 of the hard-copy paper) about pretty much nothing. Also, throughout the article (even the annoying parts) you could feel respect (grudging or otherwise) for Sen. Kerry's mastery of foreign policy, even from his "critics".
http://articles.boston.com/2012-06-24/nation/32380393_1_drone-strikes-foreign-policy-oversight

on Sen. Kerry's closeness with the White House
Since he was elevated to the leading foreign policy position in Congress three years ago, John F. Kerry has been on the road a lot. He has brokered runoff elections in Afghanistan, shuttled between warring factions in Africa, and patiently sat through marathon tea-drinking sessions with recalcitrant Middle East dictators, all to advance the Obama administration’s top ¬foreign policy goals.
In the words of Vice President Joe Biden, Kerry “probably has the closest relationship with the president and the vice president of any chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.’’ . .
“He has carried around the world the authority of president and vice president,’’ said Timothy Wirth, a former senator who runs the United Nations Foundation, a global advocacy group. “He is almost a wing of the administration.”Former senator Gary Hart, who served with Kerry on the committee in the 1980s and who Kerry recently dispatched on a fact-finding mission to Russia, put it this way: Kerry has, in effect, become “the congressional secretary of state.”
The debate over Kerry’s tenure on the committee has only intensified in recent weeks as he has emerged as a key surrogate for President Obama’s reelection campaign, attacking the foreign policy positions of the presumptive GOP nominee, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney. Kerry has ¬also been selected to be a stand-in for Romney in the president’s debate preparations.



Sen. Kerry has his say:
Kerry strongly challenges any suggestion that he has allowed his relationship with Obama or any future ambitions to affect his stewardship of the committee, where he first came to prominence as a Vietnam veteran-turned-war protester in 1971, famously testifying, “How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?”
In an interview, he said his critics are simply ill informed.
I will categorically say to anybody who thinks I am pulling any punches they haven’t read my comments; they haven’t listened to me in the hearings; they are just operating off some out-there stereotype,” Kerry said. “I think we can point with clarity to real impact on the aid programs in Afghanistan, to the approaches in Pakistan. We have had a huge number of oversight hearings, and, more importantly, we have issued some very constructive reports.”


excerpt from concluding paragraphs
Even critics agree that Kerry has had several significant accomplishments through his committee. He is perhaps proudest of shepherding the New START arms treaty with Russia through the Senate with wide bipartisan support in 2010.
Yet, it is outside the committee room where Kerry most shines, many longtime foreign affairs experts say.
He was patient, tireless, pragmatic, and firm when necessary,” recalled Karl Eikenberry, who was US ambassador in Kabul in 2009, when Kerry intervened to persuade President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan to agree to a run-off election in keeping with the country’s constitution. “He is probably the most skilled negotiator I have ever known.”
Kerry insists that he will also continue to wield his oversight authority, especially concerning Afghanistan.
“I have been crystal clear about wanting a much different presence, a much clearer set of restraints” for US military involvement, Kerry said.. .

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Response to MBS (Original post)

Mon Jun 25, 2012, 06:52 PM

1. If I'm not mistaken, The Globe leans right. n/t

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Response to whathehell (Reply #1)

Tue Jun 26, 2012, 06:38 AM

5. It is more that they make a huge effort not to be seen as having a bias toward liberal.

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Response to Mass (Reply #5)

Tue Jun 26, 2012, 09:02 AM

7. Interesting...Do you know of anyone besides MSNBC who makes efforts in the other direction?

As of the last fifteen years or so, I can't say I do.

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Response to whathehell (Reply #1)

Fri Jun 29, 2012, 01:19 PM

13. The criticism in the piece comes mostly from a left wing point of view.

About drones, the war in Afghanistan, and so on. I didn't read anywhere in the piece about how Kerry should hold a hearing on Iran, something neocons would want.

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Response to MBS (Original post)

Mon Jun 25, 2012, 07:57 PM

2. It's pretty typical Globe

Did they complain about Richard Lugar's relationship to GWB?

I think Kerry has done amazing work in his position, naturally largely ignored. I noticed that if I struggled through the whole article, I did read something positive.

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Response to ladym55 (Reply #2)

Tue Jun 26, 2012, 06:16 PM

8. Because foreign policy is not a juicy issue

that is why the Senator's work in in position is largely ignored imo.

Foreign Policy is just not a glamorous issue as compared to the economy and/or health care, mainly because those are survival issues. Almost asking, 'what does the president of Russia/India or conflicts in the Middle East have to do with me, if I can't get a job or health insurance?'

The foreign policy that most are familiar with are the tragic earthquakes of Haiti and Japan, the two wars of Iraq and Afghanistan; OBL, Hussein, and Ghadaffi, and that is pretty much it. This doesn't seem right, but when the Egypt revolution happened last year, the consensus was (listening to black talk radio) 'why does the O administration need to get involved when we have enough problems here at home. Let them work their issues out.'

Darfur, Sudan and work in Haiti should be getting more attention. Lots of work (still needs to be) done there.

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Response to politicasista (Reply #8)

Wed Jun 27, 2012, 08:24 AM

9. Depends for whom. The problem is that talk radio hosts are generally incompetent

when it comes to foreign policy, so they ignore them (not that they are more competent on the other topics they talk about, but they at least have some knowledge and familiarity with them). BTW, the O administration did not get involved in Egypt and very few people (RW excepted) thought they should be.

The Globe has written several articles concerning Kerry and foreign policy and all of them recognize his major role for the administration.

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Response to Mass (Reply #9)

Wed Jun 27, 2012, 04:00 PM

11. That makes sense

Ok, now remember people like McCain being all in MSM wanting the O administration to get involved in Egypt.

Not excusing the incompetence of the MSM or talk radio, but IDT that foreign policy gets much kudos because it is has been framed as a boring GOP issue (it should not be), though it's the first topic in a presidential debate. Another note: people do remember the Iran-Contra scandal, but how many can name continents, countries and its world leaders?, Not that that's important, but it's worth asking.

That is good that the Glob can recognize the Senator and FP and his major role for the administration, hopefully other O fans will, but we shall see.

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Response to Mass (Reply #9)

Fri Jun 29, 2012, 04:41 PM

17. Good to hear

Now that I can no longer read the Globe on-line for free, I no longer read the Globe unless I'm visiting Massachusetts.

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Response to ladym55 (Reply #2)

Fri Jun 29, 2012, 01:20 PM

14. Lugar represented Indiana. That would be the job

of the Indianapolis Star.

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Response to MBS (Original post)

Mon Jun 25, 2012, 08:09 PM

3. Thanks for summing this up, MBS!

I don't know if I have the strength to read it. The one phrase that stands out to me most is JK saying "I have been crystal clear..." I know he was talking specifically about Afghanistan, but it's true in general. He is always crystal clear AND consistent and 99% of the "reporters" who write about him never listen, never research, have no interest and are absolutely always "just operating off some out-there stereotype."

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Response to Luftmensch067 (Reply #3)

Fri Jun 29, 2012, 01:34 PM

16. No, go ahead and read it. I like that it had the criticism

in there and then his response. Who wants a fawning press. It's their job to hold politicians accountable. I know 1971 Kerry would want that.

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Response to MBS (Original post)

Tue Jun 26, 2012, 06:37 AM

4. This is a good article, I think.

Obviously, the title is stupid, but sadly, titles are used to bring people to read the paper.

Otherwise, it seems to me this is a well informed article. Nothing is perfect and there are certainly things to be criticized in the SFRC, but it is globally a positive article.

This said, this is so typically Globe. So afraid to be seen as partisan they lean backward to seem critical.

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Response to MBS (Original post)

Tue Jun 26, 2012, 07:44 AM

6. Great quotes!

Eventually I'll try to read the whole thing.

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Response to MBS (Original post)

Wed Jun 27, 2012, 03:48 PM

10. Thought that

Senator Kerry already declined.

(Note, if the politico link is not appropriate, will delete)

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0612/77874.html

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Response to politicasista (Reply #10)

Fri Jun 29, 2012, 11:02 PM

19. People will never stop to speculate, whatever is said.

Buzzfeed seems to have found another reason for it to happen: give Warren a second shot at being a senator.

http://www.buzzfeed.com/rosiegray/belizabeth-warrens-two-shots-at-the-senat

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Response to Mass (Reply #19)

Sat Jun 30, 2012, 12:19 AM

20. Interesting

You are right that the speculation will never stop, no how many times the Senator denies SOS interest.

The silly season is and .

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Response to MBS (Original post)

Thu Jun 28, 2012, 04:03 AM

12. Thanks for posting it

I agree that the BG framing is rather annoying in the way it covered the oversight that has been done. They quote partisans - who are basically anti-war - and the comments by the Kerry staff on the number of hearings. They also quote Kerry on what he has done. Yet, as this is an in depth interview, why did the journalist not check out the SFRC website where he could quickly scan Kerry's opening statements on at least a few hearings? (watching the hearings would likely take too much time.) Doing that, he as a reporter would have an informed opinion on whether the critics or Kerry were more correct. (The fact is that other than on Libya, Lugar has nearly always taken similar positions and has been no more confrontational - and often less so.)

What I have seen is that Kerry has asked serious questions which have at times suggested that he was not in full agreement with the policy. On Afghanistan, the clearest cases were the series of hearings he had before Obama opted to go with the surge backed by Gates and Clinton. Then there was the last hearing with Holbrooke where both he and Holbrooke were almost brainstorming on what could work -- as the policy was clearly not working. Kerry was also pretty clear in his difference on Honduras.

The article actually explains - without seeming to get it - why there has not been a confrontational relationship - and it is NOT their explanation that he is trying to get the SoS job. It is that Obama and Kerry have relatively similar world views. That AND the fact that Kerry has often been one of the voices Obama has consulted may be why this is true. It is very hard to seem confrontational when you agree. The only time that I ever sensed a disagreement where Kerry worked to back Obama was that it really seemed that Kerry wanted Obama to get Congressional approval on Libya.

However, the article basically describes a very competent Senator and diplomat. It says something when a career diplomat says he is the best negotiator that he has seen in his career. Not to mention, saying he is pragmatic and patient. The Biden comments are very nice as well. That he is close to the administration is something that a Senator is USUALLY praised for. Not to mention, this is the opposite of all those articles in 2006/2007 of Kerry essentially being almost an outcast as far as powerful Democrats were concerned. Here, he is clearly important on foreign policy and it is obviously for his political skill that he was chosen to "play Romney". It is silly for papers to suggest it is because he is tall, has good hair, and is from MA - as Axelrod pointed out he is a good debater. (Obama needs to publicly point out when Romney lies. He does all the time and no one corrects him - just as no one corrected Bush in 2004. I doubt Bush even realized the danger of his linking Saddam to 911 until Kerry called him out very effectively.)



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Response to MBS (Original post)

Fri Jun 29, 2012, 01:31 PM

15. Why are people complaining? This is a good piece of journalism.

I wish my local paper would cover our Senators so well. Reading the entire article, one would get a fairly positive but nuanced impression of the Senator. What I read from it was that Kerry has done some oversight, but very quietly. He isn't doing scream from the headlines kind of work, but instead has been putting a lot of effort in pointing out where the Administration could do better. And frankly, since Obama has pulled out of Iraq and is moving toward pulling out of Afghanistan, there really isn't a Vietnam to investigate here. No Iran/Contra scandal either.

I still don't like how Libya was handled in the Congress (one hearing only, and little else after), and I think a hearing on drones would be good (but maybe more from the Armed Forces committee), but other than that, poor Chairman Kerry has been hit with a scandal-free non-war monger President. There was real news in that article about the aid to Pakistan report. More of that kind of oversight, Senator.

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Response to beachmom (Reply #15)

Fri Jun 29, 2012, 05:52 PM

18. I agree. I thought it was generally a good article.

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