Mark Halperin predicts: If Hillary doesn't run for president, John Kerry will

Via Matt Lewis and Mediaite. Masterful trolling, just because it implicitly poses the one question more than any other that the Clintons don’t want people asking: What is it that makes Hillary so great? The starkest illustration of that point, at least for the moment, is comparing her to her successor at State. In less than a year on the job, he stumbled his way into a deal to disarm Assad of his chemical weapons and just polished off a second one that would, if it holds, limit the extent of Iranian enrichment for six months. In four years on the job, Hillary … traveled a lot, and presided over the Department when the Benghazi consulate was overrun. Politico Magazine has a piece out just today, in fact, wondering whether Kerry already qualifies as a more successful secretary of state than she does, and they’re not the first major magazine to ask that lately.

Beyond their diplomatic records, by most conventional measurements of experience, Kerry’s got her beat. She spent eight years in the Senate. He spent 28. Kerry won his party’s nomination once before and came within two points in Ohio of winning the presidency. Hillary, despite having had a popular former president as her chief surrogate and a huge early advantage in money and name recognition, ended up losing to the upstart Obama because he recognized the potential for caucus states to deliver an insuperable margin of delegates better than she did. Hillary does have an advantage over Kerry in age — she’ll be 69 on election day 2016 whereas he’ll be (almost) 73. But so what? McCain was 72 on election day 2008 and it’s Hillary, not Kerry, who’s had the more conspicuous health problems. If he spends the next three years traveling on diplomatic errands with no signs of slowing down, Americans would have every reason to think he’s up to the job. The argument for Hillary over Kerry, such as it is, is that (a) he’s “had his chance” at the presidency, even though arguably she did too, and (b) more significantly, she’d certainly do better holding onto disaffected white women voters than anyone else in the party would. Which is to say, if you’re analyzing “why Hillary?” from the perspective of credentials or accomplishments, you’re approaching the question from the wrong angle. If anything, she might end up relying more heavily in 2016 on the historic nature of her candidacy as a key credential than Obama did in 2008.

But all of this is academic. Kerry’s not going to run if she does. The question Halperin’s asking is, what if she doesn’t? Kerry would also have to step aside for Biden if he decides he wants to run, right? The idea of Diamond Joe becoming President Joe is ridiculous, but he does outrank Kerry within the administration; if you’re trying to choose between two top Obama officials because you like O’s policies, why wouldn’t you choose the higher-ranking one? But assume Biden doesn’t run either. Why wouldn’t Kerry, having struck a few high-profile deals as secretary of state, try to do what Nixon did and run again after a hiatus from presidential politics? Compared to Martin O’Malley or Andrew Cuomo, the guy would actually have some gravitas. I don’t think it’s likely that he runs, but if he sees a vacuum, I’m not sure why he’d rule out trying to fill it.

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