DEBARY -- John Kerry had his unsuccessful bid to become president, but his campaign allowed a state senator from Illinois to have a prime speaking spot, thus setting up America's futurewith someone far worse than the Conservatives could ever imagine in Barack Obama.
We avoided a "limousine liberal" in 2004 but theDemocratic National Convention that year introduced then Senator Obama to thenational stage, and set him up for his presidential bid in 2008. Now John Kerry is getting his payback. The wealthiest member of the Senate is the secretary of state.
The 94-3 vote was the final hurdle for Kerry, whose nomination roared through the Senate after Obama’s first choice of UN Ambassador Susan Rice encountered stiff GOP opposition and never got off the ground.
Since 2004, Kerry has kept a low profile so among Obama's recent nominations for offices, he's been the least controversial; thus confirmed with overwhelming bi-partisan support. From his decorated service in Vietnam, to his 28 years in the Senate, and his deep experience in international affairs -- most recently as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee -- even Conservatives grudgingly admit Kerry is obviously qualified.
However, the new Secretary of State faces very strained international relationships. Just hours before the vote, he was finally beginning to publicly look ahead, reporting that he attended a breakfast meeting about the Middle East, where Israel, Syria, Iran, Egypt, and other volatile diplomatic problems await. Northern Africa, China, and North Korea will be high on his agenda as well.
In additionto his diplomatic role, the career lawmaker will face significant administrative challenges, such as the security failures in Benghazi, Libya, that contributed to the violent deaths of four Americans last year, including the US ambassador.
The State Department has a budget of about $50 billion, more than 50,000 American and foreign employees, and nearly 300 embassies, consulates, missions and other posts around the world.
It will be a test of Kerry’s strength on how he deals with North Korea, and that community threat's recent shenanigans with their YouTube video showing New York being destroyed and its recent nuclear test.
North Korean strongman Kim Jong Un is probably hoping that with Obama, being a lame duck president, it will be opportune to negotiate with enemies instead of taking a hard line.
In the past North Korea would do things to enflame concerns in order to get promises of foreignaid, would offer to back down, but then would not deliver on its promises.
Hillary Clinton did not take the bait previously, but now thereis a new guard. Will Kerry follow in the footsteps of Clinton or Obama or chart a new path? And what will the U.S. policy be in regards to Ahmadinejad and the Iranian regime – especially concerning their nuclear ambitions and continued threat to wipe Israel off the face of the map?
Kerry was already worth $300 million before he married Teresa Heinz of the Heinz fortune; his personal fortune is now estimated at over $1 billion. He is clearly not concerned with expanding his retirement account.
However, at 69, this is a great way for Kerry to take his public career to a new level of importance. Although he will never be president, ending his career as secretary of state will likely set him up with popular book deals and the international speaking circuit. But more important to Kerry, this allows him to retire from the public arena at a pinnacle of success and power. And he clearly wants to be regarded and remembered, more as a statesman, than a mere Washington D.C. politician.
In hindsight, having lost the 2004 presidential election will now allow Kerry to craft his “auto-biography” as he wishes. And that's not a bad pay back from Obama for that speaking spot at the Democratic National Convention.