Tag Archive: John Kerry

Cory Booker, here’s what I expect of you on Iran

Cory BookerHuffPo runs down the 15 wobbly Democrats who could make or break Pres. Obama’s signature piece of diplomacy, the nuclear agreement with Iran. Listing Cory Booker, they cite a tweet from ally Rev. Al Sharpton, reminding Booker that posting nice quotes about war and poverty is inconsistent with a vote that might pull us back into battle. Today, NJ.com says Booker’s caught between Obama and the pro-Israel lobby that gave him more money for his 2014 election than they gave anybody else in Congress.

Not every pro-Dem Jewish group lobbying Booker is anti-deal (shout out to pro-Israel pro-peace J Street and NJDC). But neither has the power and reach of AIPAC, to which both my disappointing congressman Leonard Lance and Sen. Bob Menendez adhere. Menendez has lost me; his hard-line stance on Cuba (where today our American embassy opened) and war hawk views on Iran are troubling, especially for a guy who was senior Dem at Senate Foreign Relations till this mess forced a demotion.

But back to Booker. I don’t always agree with him (except on vegetarianism, holla!). But on this, I expect two things from him:

(1)  I expect Cory Booker to respect and support diplomacy – particularly when the alternative is likely war. I expect Cory to run for president himself one day and believe he can be elected. And if high-stakes diplomatic negotiations under a Booker administration have been conducted with the diligence and intelligence that the President and Secy of State Kerry have shown here, I believe a President Booker would expect and deserve support from senators in the position he is in now. Doubt me? Look how much Hillary Clinton’s Iraq War cheerleading is costing her right now with ‘her’ base, voting to authorize the war machine of George W. Bush, a president unlike Obama and one who cared little for diplomacy or even facts.

(2)  I expect Booker to decide what is right for this country’s interests – and no other. And even in the face of close friends like Schmuley Boteach, whose next book is titled The Israel Warrior’s Handbook. The celebrity rabbi is anti-deal, thinks Obama suffers from naiveté about the Iranians and likes to tell religious scare stories about them. That’s fine but he’s not the one who has the responsibility of a vote in the U.S. Congress. Boteach just published a heavy-handed piece in The Observer recounting yet again his personal history with Booker, even as he assures Jewish audiences that Cory would “never vote against Israel” or it’s “game over”. You know, considering all the friendship.

Boteach seems to be suggesting that the Obama administration give cover to Booker, with a pre-arranged face-saving vote against the deal. Unclear if such a thing is even possible given the numbers. I do believe this vote is career-defining. And I wish Senator Booker my best.

 

Obama nominates John Kerry for Secretary of State

The world goes round and round …

Just 8 years after Vietnam veteran John Kerry was swiftboated to the tune of more than $10 million in GOP propaganda cash, a president who might have been unimaginable during the George W. Bush era has just nominated an anti-war anti-Vietnam War activist-turned Senator and presidential candidate John Kerry to succeed Hillary Clinton (an unthinkable choice during the Bush years) after a stellar arc as Obama’s top diplomat. (amended – see huntsu’s comment)

The likely successor to Kerry in his top spot as Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee? Bob Menendez.

Menendez is the current chair of the committee’s Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere, Peace Corps, and Global Narcotics Affairs.

During Kerry’s campaign for president in 2004, the well-funded front group Swift Boat Veterans for Truth called Kerry “unfit to serve” as president, challenged the validity of his service medals, and harmed other soldiers by speaking out about the war that defined America’s own military and diplomatic course during two decades of the 20th Century.

And now Kerry has been named by the president to carry out America’s foreign policy. And it’s likely the senator from New Jersey, one of only three Latinos in Congress’ upper house, will move up to chair one of its most powerful committees.

Will Bob Menendez be the next chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee?

Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ)Susan Rice has withdrawn her name for consideration for U.S. Secretary of State, after months of harsh criticism over her Benghazi comments, and citing a ‘very politicized’ confirmation process. Rice:

“I didn’t want to see a confirmation process that was very prolonged, very politicized, very distracting and very disruptive because there are so many things we need to get done as a country and the first several months of a second term president’s agenda is really the opportunity to get the crucial things done.”

If, following heavy speculation, the job is next offered to Senator John Kerry, current Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chair, then a vacancy opens for the chairmanship as Kerry departs for the Obama Administration.

Kerry is the committee’s third-ranking Democrat on the committee. But senators Barbara Boxer and Dick Durbin already have leadership positions; Boxer as chair of the Environment Committee and Durbin as Assistant Majority Leader.

Kerry is also one of the names reportedly under consideration for Secy of Defense, as is Chuck Hagel.

You gotta figure, this has got to really peeve Joe Kyrillos …

What’s Next for Chris Christie?

As Chris Christie prepares for the biggest speech of his political life, it’s inevitable that we would speculate on what’s next for him. To me, it seems that he lusts for higher office, and the timing will depend on the outcome of the November election.

Even though he hitched his wagon to the Romney campaign early in the election cycle, a Romney loss would not harm Christie’s ambitions. After all, the little-known Senator from Illinois who delivered the keynote at John Kerry’s coronation did pretty well for himself. Given Romney’s hard right turn, an Obama victory would send a clear message to the GOP – the extremists may be able to win primaries to place candidates on the ballot, but a rightward swing on the national scale is not a winning tactic. Since there are few moderates left within the glitterati of the GOP, a Romney loss would be welcomed by Christie for a 2016 run for the White House.

Some schaudenfreudistic Christie-hating Democrats posit that the problems that Christie is foisting on New Jersey will sabotage his political ambitions. Not so. Even as New Jersey lags the national recovery, this won’t be an issue in a presidential run. People have short memories, and consider that a different Governor’s accomplishment – Romneycare – isn’t even on the radar screen for this election. So regardless of what Christie does between now and the end of his term, style is more important than substance.  Like it or not, Christie is the master of style while failing at substance.

Christie has already said that he will serve out his term as governor (through January 2014) and would not take a cabinet post in a (God forbid) Romney administration. But if he does complete his term in Trenton, there’s a possibility that he could be nominated by a President Romney as Attorney General then (after Romney’s first AG, a Bain crony, is indicted for sleazy dealings?) or even be nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court (remember Harriet Miers?)

If Barack Obama is elected to a second term, the dynamics change. If the GOP is smart, they would nurture more moderates, giving Christie’s 2016 ambitions a run for its money. If Christie runs for re-election as governor, would he make a pledge to serve out his entire second term? If he loses the gubernatorial race, it would be a setback, but not the end of his presidential ambitions (remember the guy who lost the race for governor of California in 1962?)

The other possibility is that Christie is not using this keynote speech as a steppingstone to the White House, but rather as an audition tape for a lucrative job at Fox “News.” This would be the culmination of the other audition tapes he has made – his taxpayer-funded YouTube moments – and would solidify his credentials as an entertainer rather than as a statesmen. Given the dearth of news carried by Murdoch’s mouthpieces, this would be the perfect gig for our consummate entertainer.

Breaking down Obama’s NJ victory

“Swing” is a measurement used by handicappers and political scientists to measure political movement of a constituency from one election to another. In this map and subsequent discussion, the swing for a county equals ((% Obama ’08 – % Mccain ’08) – (% Kerry ’04 – % Bush ’04))/2.

Below the fold, I examine Obama’s performance region by region.

Last night’s higlights

Senator Hillary Clinton suspends the roll call vote.

The old bill is back: President Clinton delivers a strong speech.

Senator John Kerry mocks McCain.

Senator Joe Biden tells his story and lays out the case for electing Barack Obama.

Wednesday night live blog

I hope you enjoyed the radio show.

Bill Clinton

Here’s Bill Clinton. I haven’t seen his speech yet, and I doubt Barack Obama has either.

Last night, Hillary Clinton said she would do everything she could do to support Barack Obama. That makes two of us. Actually, that makes 18 million of us.

The blogger lounge and the media room alike are very quiet…

…until Bill Clinton calls Barack Obama “the right man for the job,” a quote which draws applause from the audience and bloggers alike.

Barack Obama is ready to lead and restore American leadership to the world. …Barack Obama is ready to be president of the United States.

The theme of the night is “Securing America’s Future,” and Bill Clinton is hitting that message hard.

Bill Clinton spent the first half of his speech focusing on bringing up Obama. Now he’s going to start bringing down McCain.

Yes he can but first we have to elect him

The first flaw in Bill’s speech: he was too complimentary of McCain in that segment. But he’d been doing very well until then and I expect he’ll be very good in the rest of the speech.

And he delivers: Clinton hits last night’s message, that John McCain promises more of the same.

In this case, the third time is not the charm

President Clinton draws the inevitable comparison between the criticisms he faced in his run for president in 1992 and those that Barack Obama faces this year.

If, like me, you still believe America must always be a place called Hope, then join Hillary, Chelsea and me in making Senator Barack Obama the next President of the United States.

Bill Clinton delivered big time tonight.

John Kerry

Kerry talks about Senator McCain versus Candidate McCain, turning the lines used against him in 2004 against John McCain.

CNN cut to Kerry’s speech as he played the flip-flopper card against McCain.

John Kerry Slams Right Wing Group Attacks on Linda Greenstein

Senator John Kerry today weighed in on the controversy surrounding the anti-gay, right wing front group Common Sense America that’s spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in the 14th district – one of three clean elections districts (press release):

“The smear and fear tactics of this Republican front group are no match for a public servant who stands on principle and voters who reject the backroom deals and underground attacks that seek to distort and divide at all costs,” said Sen. Kerry.  “These right-wing front groups are becoming more and more brazen in their efforts to infiltrate elections on any level, but Americans are increasingly tired of Republican fat cats who think their big money can steal elections.”

Senator Kerry said that it is important to speak out against this group and their extraordinary spending that spread lies and distortions against a respected community leader like Assemblywoman Linda Greenstein (D-Plainsboro).

“The fact that the right wing is willing to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars against someone like Assemblywoman Greenstein shows how desperate they are to stop their Party’s bleeding and get back in the business of promoting an out of the mainstream agenda,” said Kerry.  “I applaud Linda for standing up to this group and fighting for the preservation of the Clean Elections Program which is clearly a bold step in protecting the integrity of elections.”