Kerry Quietly Regaining Influence in Party, Advising Two out of Three Frontrunners.

The Politico reports that John Kerry’s time is coming — again. No, they aren’t predicting he’ll be nominated to run for president again, but they do note that, in contrast to Al Gore in the first couple of years after losing, Kerry remains influential in his party:

For four years after winning the race but losing the presidency, Gore could do nothing right. He ignored his loyalists, got bloated and sweaty, embraced the unruly anti-war left and threw his support behind their 2004 presidential candidate, who then imploded spectacularly.

Kerry’s vindication is coming quicker, if more quietly. His party already has embraced his position on Iraq. His argument that no military solution exists for the situation there is now the de facto Democratic stance. In June 2006, when Kerry helped force a vote on a phased U.S. troop withdrawal, his colleagues gave him a serious razzing and only 13 votes. Just over one year later, this past July, the same measure got 52.

There is interest in who Kerry will ultimately support as he returns the phone calls of two out of three of the top contenders, and it is well known whose calls he has no interest in taking:

But the lack of an audible clamor for an endorsement by Kerry is more than a bit deceiving, as is the perception that he’s still wandering around in that wilderness to which all losing Democratic nominees are cast. The two top candidates who aren’t married to Elizabeth Edwards are quietly seeking his advice and support. An associate suggests that Kerry may hold off on endorsing until closer to the primaries, but when he does make his choice, that candidate will get access to a 3-million-name e-mail list, possibly the largest in the party.

When a Defense Department official accused Hillary Rodham Clinton of “reinforcing enemy propaganda” after she asked the Pentagon to start preparing for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, the Kerry associate says it was the Clinton team’s idea to have Kerry out front denouncing that accusation.

It is doubtful that Kerry will ever get a chance to run for president again, but he is well positioned to follow the path of another Senator from Massachusetts whose earlier presidential ambitions were shot down. On the other hand,there was a time when nobody thought we have Dick Nixon to kick around any more after he lost to John Kennedy in 1960 and subsequently lost in a bid to become governor of California.

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