Because Susan Rice stepped down from the running to replace Hillary Clinton as secretary of state, Massachusetts senator John Kerry is President Barack Obama’s first choice. And I hope the president reconsiders his choice.
First let me say Senator Kerry is obviously qualified to be secretary of state. His suitability is not the problem. It’s that if Kerry is moved over to the state department, former MA senator Scott Brown, who was vanquished in the last elections by Elizabeth Warren, may step in and win Kerry’s seat in a special election.
Obama’s done this before – after his victory in 2008, he built up his cabinet with policy wonks, but also picked up lots of elected officials – Clinton, Kathleen Sebelius, Janet Napolitano, and his veep pick, Joe Biden. While these choices bolstered his cabinet, it also bled his party of some of its brightest stars, which may have contributed to the awful losses for the Democrats in 2010 as well as the midterm feelings of malaise with the Democrats, when some of its strongest cheerleaders were no longer able to get down in the trenches to defend the party.
To replace Clinton, Obama should look to the various envoys that currently work in the state department. Or if he’s interested in getting a “name” he should look to a retired Democratic figure. To pick Senator Kerry, Obama would just hand an extra senate seat to the Republicans, and with the numbers being so close, the Democrats need to protect every seat they have.