John Kerry Is Basically Guaranteed to be Secretary of State

Image Credit: Ralph Alswang via Flickr

President Barack Obama will almost certainly nominate Sen. John Kerry to serve as secretary of state, a half a dozen news outlets reported over the weekend. Here’s what you’ll want to know:

What’s holding Obama back? Reuters says the announcement could come by mid-week, but the administration wants to avoid “the impression of an overly-hasty return to politics following the massacre at a Connecticut elementary school on Friday.”

The New York Times reports that Obama still has some lingering issues with a national security team made up almost entirely of white men who worked through the Cold War era. This doesn’t appear to be a disqualifying impediment to Kerry’s nomination. (Especially as the head of the national security team, Obama, is a black man. Also Kerry would be the first white male secretary of state since 1997.) “Administration officials said, for now there are no serious candidates for the State Department job other than Mr. Kerry,” the Times reports. 

What about Republicans? The Republicans did not let Obama have his first choice for secretary of state. After John McCain and his Merry Band made a ruckus, UN Ambassador Susan Rice announced she would no longer seek the nomination. So will there be similar hijinks over the Kerry selection? No. “Kerry gets a pass. He’s as good as confirmed,” a GOP strategist tells Buzzfeed. In fact, the main antagonist, John McCain, even jokingly called Kerry “Mr. Secretary” to his face the other day.

Hey, what about Massachusetts? Sorry guys. You thought you could watch your TV commercials without an awkward barrage of political ads for at least a year, but no can do.  Under current rules, Gov. Deval Patrick will have to appoint a replacement while we hold a special election between 145 and 160 days later. That replacement will then have to run for Kerry’s seat again just a year after that in 2014. Sounds fun!

Who’s going to run? Pretty much everyone thinks the recently defeated Scott Brown could run. The Phoenix’s David Bernstein notes that his farewell speech in the Senate sounded an awful lot like a “see you next time” speech. The trouble for him would be the prospect of competing in four Senate campaigns in five years. On the Democratic side, names range from Attorney General Martha Coakley to Reps. Ed Markey, Michael Capuano, and Stephen Lynch. We hope you’ve had a nice month off. Now let the horserace and betting begin!