Good news: Obama might pick John Kerry for Defense, Susan Rice for State

posted at 10:11 pm on November 12, 2012 by Allahpundit

Time for the daily reminder that elections have consequences, and not just at the presidential level. If the GOP had found a way to get to 51 in the Senate, I’m thinking O might not have bothered nominating Rice. The temptation for Republicans to nuke her out of hand over her Benghazi disinformation would have been enormous. As it is, with 55 seats in the bank, why not?

President Obama is considering asking Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) to serve as his next defense secretary, part of an extensive rearrangement of his national security team that will include a permanent replacement for former CIA director David H. Petraeus.

Although Kerry is thought to covet the job of secretary of state, senior administration officials familiar with the transition planning said that nomination will almost certainly go to Susan E. Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations…

Rice’s description, days after the attack, of a protest gone wrong indicated that she either intentionally misled the country or was ­incompetent, Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) said Sunday. Rice, he said, “would have an in­cred­ibly difficult time” winning Senate confirmation as secretary of state.

But several White House officials said Obama is prepared to dig in his heels over her nomination to replace Hillary Rodham Clinton…

[A]dministration officials, one of whom described Kerry as a “war hero,” said his qualifications for the defense job included not only his naval service in Vietnam but also his knowledge of the budget and experience in the diplomacy that has increasingly become a part of the defense portfolio. They said the Democrats’ retention of the Senate majority, with a net gain of two seats, in last week’s election provided a cushion that allowed them to consider Kerry’s departure from the chamber.

Panetta implied today that he’d stay on for awhile longer, and refused even to say that he wouldn’t stay for O’s entire second term. I think the White House wants it that way, not so much for continuity at Defense for awhile but so that Massachusetts Democrats have time to recruit a solid candidate to challenge Scott Brown in the special election. Brown’s still popular now; if Panetta can wait a bit and give voters there time to forget him, maybe he’ll be less formidable in running for Kerry’s seat. Or maybe not and he’ll be reelected to the Senate for another few years, whereupon he’ll lose again in the regular election as Bay State voters dutifully line up for whichever liberal’s on the ballot that year. Massachusetts, man. Massachusetts.


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