It took a little longer than expected, but President Obama today introduced Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) as his nominee for Secretary of State in his second term.
To call Kerry well qualified for the post is a dramatic understatement, given the senator’s lengthy career in international affairs, including having served as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Indeed, Kerry quietly sought this position four years ago, and has almost been a Secretary of State in-waiting ever since – he has in recent years “shepherded the passage of a critical arms-control treaty and conducted a series of quiet missions on behalf of the president, notably at moments of crisis with Afghanistan and Pakistan.”
Kerry is expected to sail through the confirmation process with ease – Republicans smeared Susan Rice and forced her from consideration, but the four-term senator will fare far better – and even his infamous Swift Boat attackers have said they intend to give Kerry a pass.
Looking ahead, it will be of particular interest to see how Kerry uses this prestigious post to elevate the climate crisis, an issue Coral Davenport recently covered in an interesting National Journal piece.
“No senator since Al Gore knows as much about the science and diplomacy of climate change as Kerry,” said David Goldwyn, an international energy consultant who served as Clinton’s special envoy and coordinator for international energy affairs. “He would not only put climate change in the top five issues he raises with every country, but he would probably rethink our entire diplomatic approach to the issue.”
Update: Here’s the video of the president introducing Kerry as the nominee.