On Dec. 21, President Obama nominated Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) to replace Hillary Clinton as secretary of state. The move was widely expected after Susan Rice, the only other prominent candidate, dropped out of consideration when the Obama administration’s response to a terror attack on the U.S. embassy in Libya promised to derail her nomination.
Now serving his fifth term in the Senate, Kerry is best known for his failed 2004 presidential run, and the "swift boat" attacks he suffered during it. While America may never know a President Kerry, his likely confirmation as secretary of state means the man America almost elected in 2004 will have a chance to put some of his ideas into action. So what might we expect from Kerry at State?
1. He’s an Interventionist
When Kerry ran for president, Republican operatives tried to paint him as unpatriotic due to his opposition to the Vietnam War (in which he fought). The Swift Boat campaign, coupled with Kerry's speech about the 1991 Gulf War (which he opposed on the grounds that "there is no consensus in America for war") created the impression that Kerry believes in a smaller international footprint.
He doesn't. Kerry raised no objection to the Senate's unanimous passage of the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998, which made regime change in Iraq official U.S. policy. After 9/11, he voted to authorize the use of military force in Iraq. This second vote he would attempt to recast during his presidential campaign—claiming during his candidacy announcement that the vote was meant merely to threaten the use of force; then owning it later in the campaign.
In addition to being for the war in Iraq before he was against it (wording he used to explain voting for, then against supplemental funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan), Kerry has also been a proponent of Obama-era interventions. He was one of the first advocates for an intervention in the Libyan civil war in 2011, which received no congressional authorization. The most support Kerry could muster for U.S. military involvement in the Libyan civil war was a “Sense of the Senate” resolution co-sponsored by Arizona Republican John McCain.
NEXT: An Obama Apologist