AS EGYPT battles over its future, Senator John Kerry is negotiating his own.
The Bay State’s senior senator is running an unofficial campaign to become the next secretary of state. For once, he looks artful, as well as ambitious.
His recent opinion piece in the New York Times said what President Obama couldn’t or wouldn’t: Mubarak must go.
Kerry’s conclusion was elegant, but unequivocal: “President Hosni Mubarak must accept that the stability of his country hinges on his willingness to step aside gracefully to make way for a new political structure.’’
Secretary of state is the spot Kerry wanted when Barack Obama won the presidency. He lost out to Hillary Clinton and Obama’s “team of rivals.’’ But his fallback position as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee provides a powerful platform to press his case.
For months, there has been speculation that Kerry will get the job he wants in an Obama second term. Clinton said publicly that she is not committed to the position beyond 2012. She also tamped down speculation that she wants to move to the Pentagon as secretary of defense.
As an early Obama supporter, but one who is not committed to every policy as an Obama administration insider would be, Kerry can take a different stance on complex issues. He can stake out personal turf, as he did with Mubarak, and showcase the combination of diplomacy and boldness that catches the world’s and the president’s attention.
With Egypt as the backdrop, Kerry knows the truth of an often-cited maxim that is associated with Obama’s former chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel.
Out of crisis, comes opportunity.
And if Obama were re-elected, and Kerry got the opportunity to be Secetary of State, a crisis would come from that opportunity – and we and our allies would pay the price (see here and here, for starters).
Just one more reason President Obama needs to be soundly defeated in 2012.
Cross-posted to Right Wing News.