By NEMS Daily Journal
President Obama’s nomination of Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry, chairman o the Foreign Relations Committee and a 30-year veteran of insider politics, should help reaffirm the collegiality of the Senate, where once-esteemed tolerance and respect has suffered in a period of hyper partisanship.
Major newspapers with a long history on reporting from inside the Beltway, seemed to agree that Kerry faces no major obstacles to confirmation, especially considering the heat COP opposition to the former frontrunner., U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice generated.
Rice withdrew from consideration last week after senators. Lindsey Graham and John McCain said they would strongly oppose her confirmation of her were she to be nominated by President Obama.
Kerry, who has made little secret of wanting the job, has been a frequent foreign policy messenger and personal confidante to the president.
At the State Department, the senator would succeed Hillary Rodham Clinton, who has said she plans to leave at the close of Obama’s term,buut shhe plans to remain in place until a successor is confirmed.
Kerry knows many U.S. and international diplomates because of his chairmanshjip, and he was particularly close to Ambassador Chris Stevens, the top American in Libya who was killed in a Sept. 11 terrorist attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi.
Published reports say Kerry also has won respect across the diplomatic corps.
The confirmation hearing for Kerry would take place before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the panel he has chaired since Vice President Biden departed the Senate in 2009.
Kerry, who was the Democrats’ presidential nominee in 2004, is a Vietnam War veteran with Purple Hearts for his service.
Many leading GOP senators have already gone public with their support for the Massachusetts Democrat.
“Particularly after the Republican freakout over Rice,” says Ed Kilgore at Washington Monthly, “the odds of his fellow-senators giving him an unusually hard time in the confirmation process are low.”
Kerry, 69, is the first Cabinet nomination for Obama’s second administration, and by any measure among the most important.
Kerry also won praise from Obama aides for his sharp national security-focused speech at the Democratic National Convention in August. He memorably told delegates: “Ask Osama bin Laden if he’s better off now than he was four years ago.”
Kerry has pushed the White House’s national security agenda in the Senate with mixed results. He ensured ratification of a nuclear arms reduction treaty in 2010 and most recently failed to persuade Republicans to back a U.N. pact on the rights of the disabled.
A smooth confirmation process should be viewed as particularly important heading into Obama’s second term. The nation needs to urge its congressional delegations to revisit collegiality and compromise, moving away from gridlock and unrelenting partisanship.