President Obama will nominate Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass) to be Secretary of State, announcing his choice this afternoon at 1:30 pm at the White House.
I will livestream the event for you.
Kerry’s background and outlook make him far from the perfect candidate for State. But for Obama, Kerry is a good choice.
Unlike Clinton, who was chosen for political reasons, Kerry will start as Secretary of State with a thorough grasp of foreign relations – he is chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee – and a proven ability to negotiate on the world stage.
Kerry is a liberal but does not always side with liberal Democrats on foreign policy issues, having, for example, voted to authorize the use of force against Iraq in 2003, though of course he turned against the war once things went bad.
I think Kerry is more likely than someone like Susan Rice to take a realistic view of the turn toward Islamism in the Arab world and the prospect of nuclear weapons for Iran.
He may even be able to engage in some useful negotiations with our enemies. I think he is more likely than others Obama could have selected to understand the motives of our enemies and avoid trusting them too much.
And he has relationships with leaders around the world that can help him defuse a crisis.
The main problem in all this is for President Obama, who now has to listen on a regular basis to both Kerry and Joe Biden, known during their careers on Capitol Hill as two of the biggest windbags in the Senate, where there is significant competition for the title.