Could John Kerry Hand Both MA-Sen Seats to the GOP?

posted at 2:45 pm on February 5, 2011 by Jazz Shaw

With presidential primary speculation sucking all the air out of the room, it’s only fair that we take a moment and look at some of the equally useless rumors floating around concerning other high profile positions. This weekend the Boston Globe opens up the guessing game with yet another rumor that not only is Hillary Clinton thinking of moving on to bigger and better things, but that Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) is angling for her position at Secretary of State.

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.

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.

Kerry’s office quickly moved to squash the rumor in the most forceful manner possible.

“I don’t know what else we can do to stop the parlor game speculation about who’s coming and who’s going,” the statement began. “Lord knows we’ve knocked it down a thousand times over, and at a time of such challenge for American foreign policy the punditry is especially unwelcome and unhelpful.”

“So one last time: the only job John Kerry is contemplating, or considering, is the one job he already has, and he isn’t looking elsewhere. Sometimes in politics, no really means no, and sometimes the best place to be really is the place you already are, end of story.”

In a way I kind of feel sorry for Kerry on this one. If he says nothing it would immediately be taken as an acknowledgment that he was angling for the job. If he says no – as he did – armchair quarterbacks will simply declare that obviously that’s what somebody would say if they were considering such a move. You don’t want to look like you’re campaigning to kick out a high profile member of your own party.

But what if things did play out this way? Rumors continue to circulate that Hillary is thinking of moving on, though Bill Richardson is frequently mentioned as her replacement. And it was one of the worst kept secrets in Washington two years ago that Kerry wanted the cabinet position at State until Clinton got it as a peace offering to her disgruntled supporters.

If Kerry left, Massachusetts would find itself in need of another senator. Not only did Republican Scott Brown win a shocking victory there after Ted Kennedy passed, but he is still considered the most popular political figure in the state today. (Though it’s worth noting that some conservatives are mulling a primary challenge to him next time out.) Are Bay State voters possibly still in the mood to elect a second Republican to fill Kerry’s shoes in an effort to shed their image as Taxachusetts?

Anything is possible, but they’d have to find a candidate who is effectively a clone of Brown. We’ve seen nothing to indicate that MA has suddenly become Georgia North and would elect a pro-life, war hawk conservative firebrand. Still, it could make for a very interesting political theater if it came to pass. As little as five years ago, how many of you would have even considered it possible that you’d live to see the day the GOP took both senate seats in the home stomping grounds of the Kennedys?


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