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Fri Dec 14, 2012, 05:28 AM

David Ignatius: the case for John Kerry at State


David Ignatius comes out again for JK. I dislike much of the column (I've omitted his multiple mentions of the old memes about JK being "awkward" and "patrician" and "stolid". .sigh) but here are the some of the better parts.

Three qualities make Kerry a good fit for this moment.
First, he recognizes that the world is a mess, starting with the chaotic Arab nations, and that it needs stronger American diplomatic leadership. . .Kerry, who has been traveling in the Middle East long enough to develop a genuine feel for the region, would be a good and steadying partner for the Arab transformation.
Second, Kerry appreciates the importance of quiet diplomacy, especially now. . .. Obama will need a confidential emissary. Kerry has played that role successfully for him already. . . He’s well-traveled enough that he could skip the get-acquainted tours.
Third. . . he’s surprisingly willing to challenge conventional wisdom, especially about engaging America’s adversaries. This unlikely contrarian streak would be an advantage, especially because it’s so well disguised. . .
Over the past several weeks, I have been asking foreign-policy experts and foreign diplomats whom they favor for State. With the exception of White House officials and a few diplomats, my straw poll showed Kerry as the overwhelming favorite. Partly this reflects trust in Kerry; partly it showed wariness about Rice, who’s less well-known and has made some enemies. These comments may have reflected hidden biases against Rice, but there’s also genuine confidence in Kerry.
. ..
Kerry may be that rare politician who is a late bloomer. . . . he has the advantage of having been disappointed in life, losing the presidential race, getting passed over for vice president and secretary of state in 2008. He wants to lead the State Department now, not just in the sense that an ambitious person wants another life trophy but because he thinks he could do the job well. He may seem a conventional choice for State, but he could be a very successful one.

My only other comment that anyone who thinks it "surprising" or "unlikely" that Sen. Kerry might challenge the conventional wisdom has not been paying attention to who this man is. But anyway, at least they're getting there, even if years or decades too late.

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Response to MBS (Original post)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 06:07 AM

1. Three words-- Senator Scott Brown.

I wish they would find someone else.

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Response to MADem (Reply #1)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 06:48 AM

2. A few more words

Kerry is one of our greatest senators. We need him in the Senate. I wish they would find someone else.

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Response to Luftmensch067 (Reply #2)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 07:47 AM

3. I agree with you. However, I'm getting a feeling this is a quid pro quo.

We're not being told, but the deal is done.

It sucks.

I wish Deval would run--he could beat Brown. Brown is a fecking idiot, but there are blowhards in the Bay State who, for reasons that escape me, find his stupidity appealing.

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Response to MADem (Reply #1)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 08:31 AM

4. Should the White House name Kerry, I expect that they would also provide

the support to get a Dem elected and not keep sleeping through the campaign as they did in 2010. Same goes for the DSCC.

But I do not think Brown would win anyway.

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Response to Mass (Reply #4)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 08:38 AM

5. I do think Brown could win--he has a half million in the bank, and his ads are already prepared.

He'd just restart his last campaign and tweak it a bit.

It would all depend on who ran against him. Deval could kick his ass...there are a few others that were in the primary field last time around who could beat him in debate, but they'd have a steep climb in the name recognition contest.

I would prefer Obama pick another SOS. I do not think I will get my wish, though.

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Response to MADem (Reply #5)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 04:31 PM

6. reports said he had about $200,000 - and the ads failed in 2012

I should hesitate because I am not a MA resident, but it seems that he ran a two prong campaign. One prong perpetuated the Brown myth - looks, beautiful family, truck and he does the laundry too. The other was a nasty, personal and off base attack campaign on Warren. What he really seemed not to do - other than to repeatedly say he was either the most bipartisan or the second most bipartisan member of Congress, was to speak of his votes. Warren's strongest words seemed to be that she would vote with MA all the time - not just some of the time.

Now, he could use the first set of ads, but are they really going to do much for him? He did had one ad on his accomplishments - but he was called on claiming it was HIS insider trading bill that was signed. (I still don't get why he was not hit more for his semi confrontation with Obama after the state of the union demanding Obama tell Reid to move his bill - after Obama already endorsed the effort and Reid had all intentions of moving Lieberman's bill.

I really think that he would be unwise to initiate another campaign of negative ads. He has t have already tarnished his "nice guy" image and he showed the weaker sides of his personality - especially his strange random statements where he loses touch with reality and his thin skin when questioned.

What seems weird if he wanted to become more competitive is that he has not said that he would refuse to vote for the tax cuts only for those under $250,000.

Who do you think would be the likely Democrats who go for the seat?

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Response to karynnj (Reply #6)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 07:08 PM

7. I am a MA Dem, and I'm worried.

He could change up the words on those ads in a few hours in the sound studio, plus/minus a bit of collected B-roll, and be ready in a heartbeat. He doesn't HAVE to go negative this time around--all he has to say is "I've done the job, my opponent has not" (unless Ed Brooke comes out of retirement in FL and runs in his dotage....then he'd have to answer questions about his romance with Barbara Walters--after he switches parties. That ain't gonna happen...).

He has name recognition, and the "likely suspects" (the ones that stepped aside--there were five or six) who were in the field with Warren from the "D" side did not even have an opportunity to develop any statewide name recognition because they bowed out of the primary process almost immediately.

Warren won, but it wasn't a blowout by any stretch. And she had an ENORMOUS amount of grassroots help. It's not all about the ads, certainly, but ads help, particularly if the opponent is undefined. Many towns--not a majority, fortunately, went for Brown for Senate and Obama for President.

That sexism thing is still happening in this state; EW won with a LOT of hard work, more than would have been needed for a male with the same portfolio. Get a load of the MA delegation--it's remarkable in that it is so damn white and male, while still checking that "D" block. All the reps are male (seven Irishmen and an Italian), save Niki Tsongas (and if that name sounds familiar, yes, she is the widow of the beloved Paul). And Warren is the first female Senator EVER from MA. We've never elected a female governor.

Brown has that immediate, statewide name recognition, no one--save Deval-- does on our team, and you're not going to see much enthusiasm in an off-year election.

It could be a problem. We would need lots of money and STAR POWER help.

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