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.