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


House Speaker Robert DeLeo plans to take no action on a proposed health care cost containment bill until June, providing time for feedback, the Gloucester Times reports. The Herald applauds the House proposal. But The MetroWest Daily News wonders what the confusion is all about and says that the debate should move into the public sphere.

State Rep. Dan Winslow wants the state’s gambling commission to put a one-week hold on the appointment of a Patrick administration official as interim director of the commission so that the panel can carry out its own due diligence on an allegation of sexual assault on a 15-year-old by that Carl Stanley McGee faced in 2007 in which Florida prosecutors decided not to file charges.


Randolph is using a creative revenue stream to fill the budget gaps by leasing two billboards on the town landfill next to Route 24.

A renegotiated health plan with town workers will save Acushnet $100,000 in the first year, the latest community to take advantage of the state law giving local officials a cudgel in designing health plans.

Firefighters in Gloucester win a 5.5 percent retroactive pay increase, the Gloucester Times reports.


Vice President Joe Biden says he is “absolutely comfortable” with same-sex marriage, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Gary Taubes, in a report in Newsweek, examines why campaigns to rein in America’s obesity epidemic always fail.

Bernadette Dohrn, a Weather Underground figure from 40 years ago, is apparently still as much a lightning rod to conservatives as Jane Fonda.


In case anyone forgot, there’s still a Democratic primary fight for the nod to take on Sen. Scott Brown, and Salem lawyer Marisa DeFranco makes her case on Keller@Large.

Jesse Singal examines the Cherokee heritage debate engulfing Elizabeth Warren in The Daily Beast. Syndicated conservative columnist Michael Barone points out that accused killer George Zimmerman is eight times more black than Warren is Native American and says both claims matter.

Meanwhile, The Washington Post looks at Warren’s quest for independent voters.

Inverting the long-lived tourism campaign slogan, New York appears to love Scott Brown.

Former Gov. Angus King of Maine, who is running as an independent for the seat being vacated by Sen. Olympia Snowe, is taking names.

Ron Paul is still campaigning hard enough to make things awkward for Mitt Romney.

William Kristol says let Mitt be Mitt, warts and all. But in the American Spectator, Jed Babbin, former Bush 41 undersecretary of defense, says Romney is missing multiple opportunities to reconcile with House Republicans and get behind the defense budget.

President Obama formally launches his campaign, and the Atlantic looks at the state of his ground game in Virginia. The Times magazine reports on the strained relationship between the Obama campaign and Wall Street.


Workers at the Pilgrim nuclear power plant in Plymouth have authorized a strike if no contract is reached by next Tuesday.

Is IKEA having second thoughts about Somerville?


The Gloucester Times, in an editorial, applauds the school superintendent for disciplining five students who posted racist Twitter comments when a black player scored the series-winning goal against the Boston Bruins.

Boston city councilors are raising questions about the cost of a complicated school relocation plan.

The Berkshire Eagle weighs in on the student loan interest rate debate.


Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts plans to introduce new controls aimed at preventing abuse of prescription painkillers, but the Massachusetts Medical Society, which represents physicians, says it could add to the paperwork doctors are already overwhelmed by.


Methuen officials want to install cameras at traffic lights to curb driving violations and raise an estimate $3 million a year in revenue, the Eagle-Tribune reports.

The Cape Cod Times calls foul on the poor timing and coordination of repairs to the Sagamore Bridge and nearby exits which have caused summer-like backups.


A change to the state law governing employer access to criminal background data takes effect today, and the Globe revisits the competing views on the complex issue.

Two Hingham psychics accused of scamming an elderly woman have a history of legal problems, although you would think they would have seen the problems coming.

The Herald talks with retired State Police investigator Tom Foley, whose new Whitey Bulger book alleges a wide FBI conspiracy to protect the gangster, and frustrate state authorities.


The Beat the Press panel asks whether the Brown campaign was the source for the Herald’s stories on Elizabeth Warren’s heritage and whether it matters.

Boston Globe reporter David Abel is among the 24 journalists selected to be Nieman fellows, the Nieman Journalism Lab reports.

Tom Brokaw of NBC News rips into the White House Correspondents Association dinner.

The Avengers breaks the opening-weekend record for movie grosses, Time reports.