Day: October 18, 2009

The Growing Role Of Senator John Kerry In Foreign Policy

When Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts lost the 2004 Presidential election, it seemed as if he would be a forgotten figure, an also ran who failed to win the White House and receded into the background, never to be significant again.

Instead, Senator Kerry has become a very important figure, as the election of Barack Obama led to the promotion of Senator Joe Biden to the position of Vice President, and to the selection of Senator Hillary Clinton, Obama’s opponent in the primaries, to the position of Secretary of State.

This series of developments led to Kerry being elevated to the chairmanship of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which had been headed by Biden, and Kerry is making the most of this opportunity.

Taking the advice of the late Senator Edward Kennedy in how to make a loss a way to advancement, as Kennedy had experienced after losing the presidential nomination to President Carter in 1980 but making the most of it in pursuing a more important career path in the Senate, Kerry has become a major player in foreign relations and is regularly consulted by the administration.

Kerry makes a good point, already enunciated as well by Rahm Emanuel, the White House Chief of Staff, that until the Afghan national elections are settled, it cannot be expected that more troops will be sent, if at all. We are still awaiting the final determination, not only of that election, but of what US policy in the future will be toward that nightmare situation in Afghanistan.

The Crisis For Obama And The Democrats And The 2010 Midterm Elections

Almost one year after the election of Barack Obama, and one year to the midterm congressional elections of 2010, the President and his party face a major challenge that is rapidly becoming a crisis: losing the mandate they gained.

Left wing Democrats are disillusioned over the health care controversy, particularly over the growing odds that the public option might not survive. Also, the debate over sending more troops to Afghanistan is turning off many of these Democrats, who want us to withdraw from that nation.

Independents are becoming more antagonistic over the growing deficit, the constantly growing unemployment and foreclosure crisis, the health care controversy and how it will affect those who have good health care, and the concern that too much is being attempted too soon by the administration.

At the same time, one third of the nation is totally alienated from Obama and his party, seeing him as radical and extreme and dangerous to the country. Many of these people are so rebellious, however, that even the Republicans cannot count on their support, as evidenced by the Republican nominee in the northwest New York congressional district special election having to contend with a much more conservative opponent, therefore for now favoring the Democratic nominee in a district solidly Republican.

So unless the Republicans can somehow attract these rebellious voters back to their party and draw a lot of independent support, the Democrats might yet keep a lot of their congressional majority. This is the major issue for 2010, and at this juncture, one cannot forecast the new Congress for 2011-2012.