The Chicago Sun-Times reports that Barack Obama has chosen John Kerry to be Secretary of State. This comes as no surprise after Susan Rice withdrew her name form consideration. There is also speculation that Obama had planned to choose Kerry but was forced into defending Rice following the dishonest smear campaign launched against her by Republicans such as John McCain.
Kerry was the best choice four years ago if not for the importance of getting Hillary Clinton out of the Senate. Politically getting Hillary into the administration, as opposed to being a source of potential opposition in the Senate, was extremely important. It was also necessary that Obama’s health care reform not be tainted by HillaryCare–otherwise Obama would not have obtained the support of organizations such as the AMA. Despite the attacks from the right, the plan which passed was essentially the conservative response to Hillary Clinton’s plan.
As an added, and major benefit, having Hillary Clinton in the administration set up the situation where Bill Clinton became a significant source in Obama’s reelection campaign. Bill Clinton’s fantastic convention speech and subsequent campaigning in battleground states was a tremendous help to Obama. Now Obama has become free to choose the person who is most qualified for the position, and most likely his preferred choice since 2008.