John Kerry’s ambitious dilemma
Today’s Boston Herald bats around the case of John Kerry, who is a politician from Massachusetts. Specifically, the paper adds to a mountain of news clips speculating about Kerry’s desire to be something other than a politician from Massachusetts. But this time, there’s a hook — according to the Herald’s Kimberly Atkins, Kerry might block his own exit and turn down a potential appointment to the Obama cabinet.
In the summer of 2008, Boston magazine caught Kerry at what was, at the time, a rather low point in his political career. The Bay State’s then-junior senator had gotten rolled by George Bush in 2004, and then so annoyed delegates at his 2008 reelection-year state convention that, out of spite, they’d forced Kerry into a primary matchup with a no-name Kennedy lookalike from Gloucester. This meant that, instead of enjoying a summer boating on Nantucket Sound, Kerry was schlepping around the suburbs, sweating for votes. Four years prior, Kerry had been headlining a presidential campaign with Bruce Springsteen in tow; after that experience, Kerry was having difficulty getting excited by the lunchtime crowd in Lawrence.
The Kerry of that Boston piece was touring the state, engaging in retail politics and proclaiming his love for his Senate job, while at the same time hoping that an Obama victory would catapult him off Capitol Hill. Obama won, but Kerry didn’t get either of the calls he wanted: Hillary Clinton got the State Department, while Robert Gates kept Defense. Kerry remained in Massachusetts, where the tabloids delight in running down a man, balky hip and all, over yachting taxes. And Kerry remained in Washington, where he got a front row seat to this debacle.
So now here’s Kerry, four years later, stumping for Obama again. He’s hoping, once again, that a victory in November will mean a promotion in January. In the Herald, Atkins calls Kerry’s pursuit of the top job at State “probably one of Washington’s worst kept secrets.”
But Atkins drops this into the mix: “Kerry ‘doesn’t want Scott Brown to be the senior senator from Massachusetts,’ one political operative told me. There is little love lost between Kerry and Brown, and handing Brown such a gift would be tough for the five-term senator, should Brown and Obama both be re-elected.” After eight years of trying to move up and out, Kerry may be faced with calculus he never imagined — he’s been chasing a legacy, but may stay put out of spite.
– PAUL McMORROW
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