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President Obama has officially announced that he is nominating Senator John Kerry (D-MA) for Secretary of State (SoS). I acknowledge that Senator Kerry had aspirations for the job and is as qualified and able as anybody out there. But as much as I love and respect the guy, and I do, there are other things to consider.

President Obama doesn't like conflict. That's why Shirley Sherrod and Van Jones lost their jobs. He'd rather avoid any conflict and move on.

Each time the President makes such a decision there are costs and benefits to weigh. In this case, I fear, he miscalculated (again). It's true, to his immediate benefit, President Obama was able to eliminate the confirmation conflict--created by Senator McCain and associates--by accepting Ambassador Susan Rice's request to be removed from consideration for the SoS opening. But by accepting her request (and, I suspect, encouraging it), President Obama has not avoided conflict; he has shifted conflict onto others. Specifically, he has shifted conflict onto the people of Massachusetts...and, indirectly, the rest of us.

To avoid a nomination fight, Massachusetts must now suffer through another insufferable Senate campaign. Which conflict is more expensive? Which conflict, however decided, would have more long-run implications, either positive or negative? Which conflict was more likely to be decided in a way that is more favorable to the issues that the President's party, and most of the country, cares about? (Scott Brown will run again and could lose, but he currently polls higher than most Democrats being floated)?

As President Obama sees it, he only had two good candidates for the job. So, he had a choice. He could nominate Susan Rice and fight for her nomination, or he could take an easier path for him while outsourcing a different, more expensive, more risky, and potentially more damaging fight to the people of Massachusetts. He chose the latter.

 

Poll

Who should President Obama have nominated for Secretary of State?

32%20 votes
45%28 votes
21%13 votes

| 61 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Well said. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bear83, jennyp, jnww

    Now, brace for it.

  •  The more I (4+ / 0-)

    read and thought about Susan Rice as SOS, the more I liked Kerry over her for the job.

    He is a world-wide figue,who commands more respect than her. Not an opinion,but the harsh truth.

    This is not a perfect solution,but Mass. will just have to find it in their heart to elect a democrat to the Senate...they know how to do it,they have done it before.

    As far as the President being adverse to big fights,well, that is an opinion I do not share. He picks his fights,selectively, which is called politics.

    •  You won't convince them. Faced with the biggest (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TLS66, BlackClouds

      mess ever and hated by a large portion simply for being black... yeah a coward that has had more death threats then any president. A weakling who considers the impact on those the apparent real progressives view as disposable. He should let the hostage takers shoot a few... it would be good to show the world what AHs regressives are... Yeah whats a few destroyed lives... It is so important to beat your chest and beat up a few... Some even use those words... beat into submission... Yeah like that is how a democracy works...Actually, maybe that is really what they want ... a power clique to run things their way because they are only ones who know what is best for all.

      I am thinking of taking a break until the poo flinging ends. My hubby has already left. Useless raging about what should be considered as important and who is disposable... Yeah I guess Democrats are useless if they don't kowtow to the thinking of a portion of thier party..  Watch here will come the talk about forming a new party... eventually to decline to the parties of one because they will never agree on everything and will harrange each other for being stupid.

      Fear is the Mind Killer...

      by boophus on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 02:47:28 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  It's not like liberals like Rice that much either (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LaurenMonica, FG

    She had stock in TransCanada and they seemed to criticize her for both not being hawkish enough to intervene in Rwanda in 94, but being too hawkish about intervening in Libya and Syria.

    imo, that's why Rice's nomination failed. I think many Dems were quite content to have Kerry as SOS.

    I also find it amusing that liberals are now terrified of Scott Brown, the guy they wanted to defeat(and did) just few months ago.

  •  This special election will be held (7+ / 0-)

    next summer. MA has some good candidate possibilities on the democratic side, some of whom would love the opportunity to become a United States Senator.  President Obama wanted John Kerry in his cabinet. He's a good choice and someone the president has a great deal of confidence in.

    I suspect MA will bring forth a very credible democratic candidate and will win.

    They'll be up for it next summer. Scott Brown's allure isn't what it was when he first ran for the Senate, as was proven in November.

  •  Wonder how many ppl here pimping Rice as (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TLS66, chuckvw

    perfect choice for SoS know about her ties with Keystone Pipeline, her financial ties with Paul Kagame who is involved with massacres in Congo or her hawkish stance?

    Yeah McCain's attacks were baseless and outrageous. That said, Kerry was the best do the job.

    "Rick Perry talks a lot and he's not very bright. And that's a combination I like in Republicans." --- James Carville

    by LaurenMonica on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 01:01:45 PM PST

  •  If Brown returns to the Senate (8+ / 0-)

    it's Massachusetts's fault, not the President's.

  •  There is on part of the equation we don't know (5+ / 0-)

    Was Kerry planning to retire at the end of this term anyway?  He's 69 right now, but the end of the term 71 or 2, plus another 6 years gets him to 78.

    If Both Obama and Kerry knew that he was gonna retire at the end of this term, then the decision to nominate him is simply far less of a problem.

    Did Kerry plan to retire, I have no idea.  But I think we should seriously consider the possibility.  Kerry just watched his long time friend and co-senator from MA die in office.  He might not want to go the same way.

    "Empty vessels make the loudest sound, they have the least wit and are the greatest blabbers" Plato

    by Empty Vessel on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 01:03:54 PM PST

  •  Another bad Obama decision (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bob B

    Congratulations to future senator-elect Scott Brown.  

    Has Obama made any good decisions since being re-elected?

    The next Noah will work a short shift. - Charles Bowden

    by Scott in NAZ on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 01:06:50 PM PST

  •  Pie! (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Tirge Caps, smartdemmg, citizenx, MKSinSA

    n/t

    "There is nothing more dreadful than the habit of doubt. Doubt separates people. It is a poison that disintegrates friendships and breaks up pleasant relations. It is a thorn that irritates and hurts; it is a sword that kills.".. Buddha

    by sebastianguy99 on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 01:11:02 PM PST

  •  Scott Brown lost (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    citizenx, LaurenMonica, JBraden, TLS66

    by 8 points.
    Not 1
    Not 2
    Not 3

    8.

  •  No. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Empty Vessel, LaurenMonica, JBraden

    Obama's making bad moves in the cliffmass present department, but this isn't really one of them.

    Massachusetts should be able to hold off a creepy douchebag like Scotty Brown, especially now that they've learned the hard lesson of their loss to him and the more palatable lesson of their win.

    He's a guy you have to show up and fight with, like Warren did.  His name recognition's big because of the two back-to-back campaigns, but if they put someone with backbone against him, they'll win.

    •  I hope you're right. But I'm suggesting that after (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JBraden

      two Senatorial elections held within such a short time span, it's another campaign that the people of Massachusetts should not have to endure. Not again. Not so soon.

      •  We're fine with it... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cjo30080

        ... and this time we'll have an actual candidate.  I live in Markey's district now, and I used to live in Capuano's (and in Somerville when he was Mayor Mike).  Both of them will be at every D town meeting and know the value of having people go door-to-door.  Frankly, any of our congressional delegation would be a good candidate against Brown.

        And this spring I'll be available to work my own town or one of the two adjacent.  So our biggest problem will be to get the college kids to vote absentee before they leave.

        Scott Brown has some bad-idea votes to justify, and I know that will be one of the big talking points (at least for me and mine).  

        Believe it or not, after the Warren campaign, there are a lot of people who were trying to figure out what to do with the excess energy.  Now we've got a project.

        Oh, and on the air war -- yeah, there was a LOT of advertising against Warren, and puff pieces for Brown.  And he still lost.  Don't count Massachusetts out.

  •  It's not as if Rice and Kerry (0+ / 0-)

    were Obama's only choices.

    If a senator is what we need, Jeff Bingaman, Kent Conrad and Jim Webb are all about to have a lot of time on their hands.

    Filibuster reform now. No more Gentleman's agreements.

    by bear83 on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 01:19:14 PM PST

  •  If MA Dems can't win an election in a D+15 or so (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Empty Vessel, citizenx, LaurenMonica

    state, it's their problem.

  •  MA just elected Elizabeth Warren (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dem Beans, JBraden, TLS66, FlyingToaster

    and already the knives are out.

    I don't think Elizabeth Warren is going to sit silently by during this campaign. She will make her feelings known, just like she did during the last campaign.

    President Obama has every right to pick the person he wants.

    MA can handle it. They're proud Kerry got this nomination.

  •  Interesting take. Even kind of accurate. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cjo30080

    Kerry will probably have smooth sailing in his confirmation to allow Brown another run at the Senate.

    Then it'll be up to Mass to either change the rules again to avoid a special election, or to find a second candidate capable of beating Brown.

    At this point, I personally care more about getting a good Sec of State into position than whether our senate majority drops from 55 to 54.   But of course I'd rather Mass deals with the problem and keeps the seat in Dem hands.

    As for the actual qualifications, I don't know why there are only two candidates floated, but of the two Kerry seems better suited to the job.    Rice has a pretty good resume but it's a pretty freaking huge leap from an ambassador to Sec of State in one hop.   Usually you'd have to be a congresscritter on the right committees for a while or alternately have a lower level cabinet position such as Nat Security Advisor before being given a shot at State.

  •  I think Brown is toast (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TLS66

    He is now seen more as a whiney looser , which will come back to hurt him , he is tarnished goods...i am not worried.
    The president has to do whats best for the country.
    I vote in mass and know some who voted for  Brown, but wont again. he let them down.

  •  Even if you accept that poll (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Chi

    showing Brown beating all comers, save for the uninterested Patrick, there's a candidate who's expressed an interest and was not polled ... Edward Moore Kennedy, Jr.

    "Valerie, why am I getting all these emails calling me a classless boor?"

    by TLS66 on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 02:27:08 PM PST

    •  Even if you accept that poll? Interesting. (0+ / 0-)
      •  Point is, Brown can be beaten (0+ / 0-)

        He just lost an election last month.  The actual special election is months away, and Brown's margins over his possible opponents won't hold.  However, even if you think they will ... we do have a "name" candidate in Ted Jr.

        "Valerie, why am I getting all these emails calling me a classless boor?"

        by TLS66 on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 03:13:44 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  By whom? Ed Markey? (0+ / 0-)

          Strange but not a stranger.

          by jnww on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 03:59:44 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Sure, why not? (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            FlyingToaster, Chi, JBraden

            Or Ted Jr., or Capuano, or Patrick, or any number of Democrats.  You may scoff, but once the prospect of Brown beating Coakley was laughable, to say the least.  What's done is done ... Kerry is nominated and will likely be confirmed. If you cannot suggest a concrete candidate, but instead prefer to grumble, then you are part of the problem.

            "Valerie, why am I getting all these emails calling me a classless boor?"

            by TLS66 on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 04:26:00 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Markey will campaign (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            pistolSO, JBraden

            ... and nobody, D or R or unenrolled, has ever referred to him as "Satanic Panic".

            Coakley has a LOT of enemies; I only voted for her in the special, I always vote against her in the primaries and write in Mickey Mouse in the general.  When she runs for governor I'll vote against her again.

            The only congressman who would have a real problem would be Lynch, because his conservative Catholicism doesn't play well with a lot of the populace.  And I think he'd still pull it out.

    •  Ted Kennedy Jr does not live in Massachusetts (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pistolSO, JBraden

      One small problem - Teddy Junior does not live in Massachusetts.  He lives in Connecticut and happens to own another property in Massachusetts.  He would be tagged as a classic carpet-bagger.  I doubt if he can win on name alone.

      •  Hell, Elizabeth Warren (0+ / 0-)

        was tagged by some as a carpetbagger and she's lived in MA since 1995.

        I agree that Ted Jr. shouldn't run.

      •  So? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cjo30080

        Robert Kennedy's connection to New York was having lived in Bronxville for a while as a kid.  No one seriously believed he was a New Yorker; Hillary's connection to the state was even more tenuous.  Yes, that was New York, but I do think the famous name in both cases acted as a counter to "carpetbagger" accusations.  Also, Ted Jr.'s connections to Massachusetts are more substantial than his uncle's were to New York.  He grew up there, he was educated there, and his father served as the state's Senator for 47 years.  Ted Jr. is more of a Bay Stater than Robert was a New Yorker (and I say that with the utmost respect for RFK).

        "Valerie, why am I getting all these emails calling me a classless boor?"

        by TLS66 on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 07:27:43 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  There was a third option. (0+ / 0-)

    Obama could have picked Hilary for  the VP nominee and made Biden SOS. Neat, and prepares the succession. Biden will not be the POTUS nominee.

    "...stories of past courage can define that ingredient..... But they cannot supply courage itself. For this each man must look into his own soul." JFK Profiles in Courage " Ontario

    by ontario on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 08:37:48 PM PST

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