Top Ten Highlights of the George W. Bush Library Groundbreaking

David Letterman’s “Top Ten Highlights of the George W. Bush Library Groundbreaking”

10. While digging, they found Obama’s birth certificate
9. Read warm congratulatory note from Osama and Julie bin Laden
8. Displayed thousands of books Bush pretends to read
7. George arrived wearing a flight suit and piloting the Conan blimp
6. Dubya only had three shoes thrown at him
5. Dug up thousands of Gore ballots from 2000
4. Bush gave Halliburton $300 million check just for the hell of it
3. George correctly pronounced the word “nuclear” (it doesn’t get any more groundbreaking than that)
2. After a few seconds of digging, Bush raised “Mission Accomplished” banner
1. Bush and Cheney celebrated the day with a long, passionate, open-mouth kiss

The Worst People In American History–To Conservatives

Right Wing News conducted a survey of conservative  bloggers to find out who they thought were the worst twenty-five people in U.S. history. John Wilkes  Booth beat out Nancy Pelosi, but only by one vote. Jimmy Carter leads, followed by Barack Obama. Both are well ahead of Timothy McVeigh, who also trails Ted Kennedy, FDR, and LBJ.  The results:

23) Saul Alinsky (7)
23) Bill Clinton (7)
23) Hillary Clinton (7)
19) Michael Moore (7)
19) George Soros (8)
19) Alger Hiss (8)
19) Al Sharpton (8)
13) Al Gore (9)
13) Noam Chomsky (9)
13) Richard Nixon (9)
13) Jane Fonda (9)
13) Harry Reid (9)
13) Nancy Pelosi (9)
11) John Wilkes Booth (10)
11) Margaret Sanger (10)
9) Aldrich Ames (11)
9) Timothy McVeigh (11)
7) Ted Kennedy (14)
7) Lyndon Johnson (14)
5) Benedict Arnold (17)
5) Woodrow Wilson (17)
4) The Rosenbergs (19)
3) Franklin Delano Roosevelt (21)
2) Barack Obama (23)
1) Jimmy Carter (25)

It also appears that, in their view, we are living in really bad times considering how many of the worst people in American history are now living or were around in the not very distant past.

Does Glenn Beck Make It All Up For The Money?

I’ve often speculated that people such as Glenn Beck and  Rush Limbaugh do not really believe most of  the things they say but see their act as a way to make a lot of money. A profile of Glenn Beck in Forbes suggests he says all those crazy things primarily for the money:

You may love or hate him for his outlandish words, but that is how he gets an audience–and sometimes repels advertisers. Some classic Beckisms: “This President, I think, has exposed himself as a guy over and over and over again who has a deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture” (2009). “Al Gore’s not going to be rounding up Jews and exterminating them. It is the same tactic, however. The goal is different. The goal is globalization” (2007). “I’m thinking about killing Michael Moore, and I’m wondering if I could kill him myself or if I would need to hire somebody to do it” (2005).

With a deadpan, Beck insists that he is not political: “I could give a flying crap about the political process.” Making money, on the other hand, is to be taken very seriously, and controversy is its own coinage. “We’re an entertainment company,” Beck says.

Others also see Beck as more a performer than as someone saying what he believes:

“I don’t necessarily believe that [what Beck says] is reflective of his own personal politics–I don’t even know if he has personal politics,” says Michael Harrison, publisher of Talkers, a trade magazine devoted to talk radio. “I see him as a performer.”

Think Progress points out other examples suggesting that it might be an act:

In February he told USA Weekend that “you’d have to be an idiot” to “not notice the temperature change” caused by global warming, and that he thinks mankind may play a significant role in the phenomenon. Beck has previously described himself as “a rodeo clown” and conceded, “If you take what I say as gospel, you’re an idiot.”

If it really is the case that Back does not believe what he says, and that he doesn’t “give a flying crap” about politics, he is getting a large number of people out protesting on false pretenses. It might not be Beck who is the crazy one, but al those people who listen to him. We’ve already known that the right wing protesters are often basing their protests on false information. I’m not sure if it makes it better or worse to find out that one of the prime sources of their misinformation is intentionally playing games with them.

Al Gore Warns We Can’t Wish Away Climate Change

Al Gore has an op-ed in The New York Times warning that We Can’t Wish Away Climate Change:

I, for one, genuinely wish that the climate crisis were an illusion. But unfortunately, the reality of the danger we are courting has not been changed by the discovery of at least two mistakes in the thousands of pages of careful scientific work over the last 22 years by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. In fact, the crisis is still growing because we are continuing to dump 90 million tons of global-warming pollution every 24 hours into the atmosphere — as if it were an open sewer.

It is true that the climate panel published a flawed overestimate of the melting rate of debris-covered glaciers in the Himalayas, and used information about the Netherlands provided to it by the government, which was later found to be partly inaccurate. In addition, e-mail messages stolen from the University of East Anglia in Britain showed that scientists besieged by an onslaught of hostile, make-work demands from climate skeptics may not have adequately followed the requirements of the British freedom of information law.

But the scientific enterprise will never be completely free of mistakes. What is important is that the overwhelming consensus on global warming remains unchanged. It is also worth noting that the panel’s scientists — acting in good faith on the best information then available to them — probably underestimated the range of sea-level rise in this century, the speed with which the Arctic ice cap is disappearing and the speed with which some of the large glacial flows in Antarctica and Greenland are melting and racing to the sea.

Because these and other effects of global warming are distributed globally, they are difficult to identify and interpret in any particular location. For example, January was seen as unusually cold in much of the United States. Yet from a global perspective, it was the second-hottest January since surface temperatures were first measured 130 years ago.

Similarly, even though climate deniers have speciously argued for several years that there has been no warming in the last decade, scientists confirmed last month that the last 10 years were the hottest decade since modern records have been kept.

The heavy snowfalls this month have been used as fodder for ridicule by those who argue that global warming is a myth, yet scientists have long pointed out that warmer global temperatures have been increasing the rate of evaporation from the oceans, putting significantly more moisture into the atmosphere — thus causing heavier downfalls of both rain and snow in particular regions, including the Northeastern United States. Just as it’s important not to miss the forest for the trees, neither should we miss the climate for the snowstorm.

Here is what scientists have found is happening to our climate: man-made global-warming pollution traps heat from the sun and increases atmospheric temperatures. These pollutants — especially carbon dioxide — have been increasing rapidly with the growth in the burning of coal, oil, natural gas and forests, and temperatures have increased over the same period. Almost all of the ice-covered regions of the Earth are melting — and seas are rising. Hurricanes are predicted to grow stronger and more destructive, though their number is expected to decrease. Droughts are getting longer and deeper in many mid-continent regions, even as the severity of flooding increases. The seasonal predictability of rainfall and temperatures is being disrupted, posing serious threats to agriculture. The rate of species extinction is accelerating to dangerous levels.

I have already had several posts on the bogus claims of “Climate-gate” which showed that some scientists might have violated the British Freedom of Information law but there was nothing uncovered in the stolen emails to cast true doubt upon the scientific findings.

It is also worth pointing out once again that the scientific method is self-correcting when we use this, as opposed to political or religious biases, to try to explain the world. The point of predictions with regards to climate change is that human action is causing serious problems and not to make exact predictions regarding what will occur on any given date. Such specific predictions will change as we get more data. The fact is that in  many cases the effects of climate change have been following the worst case scenarios so far. While we cannot be certain as to exactly what will melt in which year, the underlying predictions of global warming are unfortunately being proven to be correct.

Obama Kicks GOP Ass

Here’s why we voted for Barack Obama. Above is a clip of Obama discussing health care at the GOP House Issues Conference. Obama took on and demolished every GOP argument. Whether its Kerry debating Bush, Obama debating McCain, or Obama debating the GOP House delegation, Republican views just cannot stand up to fact-based rational arguments.

Barack Obama vs. 140 Republicans just isn’t a fair fight. The Republicans didn’t stand a chance.

Obama repeatedly took loaded questions packed with all the usual Republican talking points and turned them against them.

The full transcript is available here. It was shown on C-SPAN and MSNBC is also replaying the event in prime time tonight. Marc Ambinder described the event:

Accepting the invitation to speak at the House GOP retreat may turn out to be the smartest decision the White House has made in months. Debating a law professor is kind of foolish: the Republican House Caucus has managed to turn Obama’s weakness — his penchant for nuance — into a strength. Plenty of Republicans asked good and probing questions, but Mike Pence, among others, found their arguments simply demolished by the president. (By the way: can we stop with the Obama needs a teleprompter jokes?)

More than the State of the Union — or on top of the State of the Union — this may be a pivotal moment for the future of the presidential agenda on Capitol Hill. (Democrats are loving this. Chris Hayes, The Nation‘s Washington bureau chief, tweeted that he hadn’t liked Obama more since the inauguration.)

During the presidential campaign, it was John McCain who proposed a form of the British Prime Ministers’ questions for the president. It was derided as a gimmick. This is no gimmick. I have not seen a better and perhaps more productive political discussion in this country in…a long time. 90 minutes worth!

Maybe since Al Gore debated Ross Perot on NAFTA. Republicans may have wished they had spoken to John McCain about what happened to him in the presidential debates before they decided to broadcast this session. The president looked genuinely engaged, willing to discuss things. Democrats believe that he tossed away the GOP talking points and lack of real plans into a bludgeon against them. “The whole question was structured by a talking point,” he told Jeb Hensarling. Obama took the blame for not living up to some of his promises on transparency in health care negotiations. He displayed a familiarity with Republican proposals that seemed to astonish those who asked questions of him. And at the end, Republicans rushed up to him, pens and photo cameras in hands, wanting autographs and pictures.

Mused one mid-level White House official: “This really is the best thing we’ve done in a long, long time”

Massachusetts was an eternity ago. The momentum is now in Obama’s direction as he gives the GOP the choice of joining in or walking away, with their decision being televised.

More video:

More Stories From “Game Change” Including Clinton Sleaze and Conflict Between Obama and Biden

More items from Game Change have come out since my run down yesterday. These include more examples of sleaze from the Clinton campaign and conflict between Obama and Biden.

While Hillary Clinton tried to disassociate herself from the smears against Obama based upon drug use when young, Mark Penn boasted to his staff how many times he managed to say “cocaine” on Hardball. Hillary was pleased by this:

“Hillary’s reaction to Shaheen’s remarks was, ‘Good for him!’ Followed by ‘Let’s push it out.’  Her aides violently disagreed, seeing what Shaheen had said as a PR disaster. Grudgingly, Clinton acquiesced to disowning Shaheen’s comments. But she wasn’t going to cut him loose. Why should Billy have to fall on his sword for invoking something that had been fair game in every recent election?”

While yesterday’s post dealt with John Edwards’ affair, there is also a section with McCain’s aides confronting Cindy McCain about her affair:

“The man was said to be her long-term boyfriend; the pair had been sighted all over town in the last few years. Members of McCain’s senior staff discussed the unsettling news, and their growing concerns that Cindy’s behavior had been increasingly erratic of late. [John] Weaver and others suspected that the Cindy rumor was rooted in truth. It was upsetting, Weaver believed, but not a threat.”

The Obamas flew to Nashville to get Al Gore’s assurance that he would not run before Obama decided to run. While the McCain campaign had problems with Sarah Palin’s ignorance, the Obama campaign had problems of their own with Biden’s mouth. From Politico:

The tensions began in September of 2008 word got back to Obama’s campaign headquarters that Biden had told reporters on his campaign plane that he was more qualified than his running mate to be president.

“A chill set in between Chicago and the Biden plane,” Halperin and Heilemann write in the book, to be released Monday. “Joe and Obama barely spoke by phone, rarely campaigned together.”

And when Obama campaign manager David Plouffe was asked about having Biden dial into the nightly campaign conference call, he responded: “Nah.” Instead, Biden had his own call with Plouffe and senior campaign adviser David Axelrod.

Obama himself was growing increasingly frustrated with his running mate after Biden let loose with a string of gaffes, including a statement that paying higher taxes amounted to patriotism and criticism of one of the campaign’s own ads poking fun at John McCain.

But when Biden, at an October fund-raiser in Seattle, famously predicted that Obama would be tested with an international crisis, the then-Illinois senator had had enough.

“How many times is Biden gonna say something stupid?” he demanded of his advisers on a conference call, a moment at which most people on the call said the candidate was as angry as they had ever heard him.

Following his campaign plane braggadocio about being more qualified than the man who put him on the ticket, Biden’s access to the press was limited and he grilled new staffers that were assigned to him to try and determine if they were part of his team or loyal to Chicago…

When the ticketmates talked a few days after Biden’s prediction that Obama would be tested, Obama lit into his running mate. But Biden didn’t apologize – or even indicate he understood why his comments in Seattle were problematic, though McCain’s campaign had already cut an ad featuring the dark warning.

I noted both the low opinion of John Edwards by Democratic Party leaders as well as the conflict between John and Edwards over John’s affair in the previous post. These two narratives also came  together here:

There were apparently “two Americas” within the marriage between John and Elizabeth Edwards. The former North Carolina senator’s wife viewed herself as a worldly intellectual and publicly called her husband “a hick” and his parents “rednecks,” according to the authors.

“She was forever letting John know she regarded him as her intellectual inferior,” they write, mocking her husband, the presidential hopeful, as somebody who “doesn’t read books.”

Los Angeles Times Looks Back At Charles Johnson’s Parting With The Right Wing

Last month Charles Johnson gave his reasons for parting with the right wing, which I discussed here. The Los Angeles Times was a bit slower than I was in discussing this. They noted how his parting of ways was received by fellow conservative bloggers:

In Johnson’s mind, he has not really changed but merely shifted his focus. Where once he was preoccupied with national security, staking out a hawkish, pro-military position, he now spends more time focusing on his liberal social views, and gripes with conservatives who disagree. “I like to think,” he told me this week, “I am pretty independent of [the] political winds.”

But not totally immune. As I talked to Johnson in his office, an alert flashed on one of his two giant computer monitors. An angry screed targeting him on another website concluded: “I think a visit to Mr. Johnson’s home might be warranted. Anybody got his address?”

Such veiled threats are at least one reason why Johnson, 56, relocated not long ago. He remains in the Los Angeles area, but now is in a gated community.

The man who once decried vitriol spread on liberal websites now says: “The kinds of hate mail and the kinds of attacks I am getting from the right wing are way beyond anything I got when I was criticizing the left or even radical Islam.”

His reasons for parting with the right are discussed further down in the column:

He believes his disagreements with some conservatives should have become obvious in the spring of 2008 when he slammed Ben Stein for his anti-evolution movie, “Expelled.” In numerous posts since, Johnson has derided what he sees as the right’s anti-science bent. “When they teach their children that,” Johnson said, “they are raising a generation of kids who aren’t going to be ready to deal with the world in which science is increasingly important.”

In recent months, Johnson’s jabs at right-wing icons have been more frequent. He now regularly takes digs at Fox News, vitriolic blogger Michelle Malkin and, with particular glee, Glenn Beck.

He lambasted the Fox star recently for loony fear-mongering over the federal government’s move to take “control” of Americans’ computers when they signed up for the cash for clunkers car buyback program.

Johnson called Beck a “Raving Freakazoid Nut Sandwich,” and when Beck repeated the phrase on the air, the blogger gleefully posted the video on his site.

When anyone asked directly, Johnson said he would tell them he had voted Democratic most of his life — including ballots for Bill Clinton and, in 2000, for Al Gore. Raised a Catholic, he now calls himself an atheist.

His growing discontent with conservatives “had been brewing in my subconscious for a long time.” It was with little planning, he said, that his 10 reasons for a formal parting with the right poured onto the blog one Monday night.

“The American right wing has gone off the rails, into the bushes and off the cliff,” Johnson wrote. “I won’t be going over the cliff with them.”

No one should assume, Johnson said, that pronouncement makes him a committed lefty.

“I am still going to criticize what I think needs to be criticized, whatever it might be.”

This is another example of where the differences between the opposition to the right wing is no longer about ideology but about reality. Other than for a handful on the far left, everyone supports a market economy, even if there is disagreement on the specifics. Pretty much everyone supports defending the country against terrorism–although there are differences of opinion as to how this should be done and to what degree this should dominate our thought. Where rational people really disagree with the right wing is over whether we evaluate issues based upon rational evidence or based upon twisting the facts to fit the biases of the extreme right.

Peter Hoekstra Continues To Play Politics With Failed Terrorist Attack

Yesterday I noted how my Congressman, Peter Hoekstra, extended his long track record of playing politics with terrorism by using this week’s attempt to blow up a plane in Detroit for political gain. Hoekstra, who is now a candidate for the Republican nomination for governor in Michigan, continued this again today on (of course) Fox:

Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-Mich.) said Sunday that it is fair to blame the Obama administration for the attempted bombing of a Northwest Airlines flight bound for Detroit on Christmas Day.

Hoekstra, the top Republican on the House Select Intelligence Committee said that the administration has not taken the threat of terrorist threats on the U.S. seriously.

Asked by Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace if it is fair to blame the Obama administration for the attacks, the Michigan Republican replied “”Yeah, I think it really is.”

Hoekstra said that increased domestic threats have made themselves more evidence this year, with this attack and the Fort Hood shootings, but said that the Obama administration is trying to “downplay” the threat.

“The Obama administration came in and said we’re not going to use the word terrorism anymore, we’re going to call it man made disasters, trying to, I think, downplay the threat from terrorism,” he said. “In reality, it’s getting much more complex.”

So it is Obama’s fault that a  terrorist entered the country on a visa granted under former president George Bush while I have never seen Hoekstra criticize Bush for the multiple errors in judgment which contributed to the success of the 9/11 attack. As I noted in the earlier post:

The Clinton administration left the Bush administration warnings about al Qaeda. The Bush administration not only ignored these warnings but lied about receiving them. Then there was that CIA briefing entitled “Bin Laden determined to strike in U.S.” just before the attack which George Bush ignored. As Al Gore discussed in The Assault on Reason, paying attention to this warning should have led to a review of the State Department/INS watch list which already contained the names of many of the 9/11 terrorists. Others could have also been identified before the attack as they were using the same addresses or frequent flier numbers. In 2006 Keith Olbermann also reviewed the many warnings which were ignored.

It is total fiction on Hoekstra’s part to claim either that the Obama administration is not taking terrorism seriously or that “The Obama administration came in and said we’re not going to use the word terrorism anymore.”  Barack Obama has spoken out several times about the need to respond to terrorism including his speech at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars back in 2007. Steve Benen recently noted that the Obama administration is not only taking action against terrorism, but has had significant successes. A report from ABC News last August quoted National Security Adviser, Gen. Jim Jones who cited other ways in which the Obama administration is having greater success against terrorism than the Bush administration.

Taking such liberties with the truth is hardly new for Hoekstra who has previously made discredited claims of finding WMD in Iraq. He has also tried to play politics with terrorism previously. After having written an op-ed condemning others for divulging military secrets, he himself was found to have divulged secrets on Twitter. He previously resorted to scare tactics which have been criticized by several former national security officials when there was talk of moving prisoners from Guantanamo Bay to a maximum security prison in Michigan.

Peter Hoekstra Once Again Helps Al Qaeda Spread Terror For His Personal Political Gain

The dumbest thing  you can do in response to a terrorist attack is further the goal of the terrorists by spreading more fear. My Congressman, Pete Hoekstra, couldn’t resist doing this yet again in hopes of obtaining political gain following yesterday’s terror attempt in Detroit.

A Nigerian man claiming ties to al Qaeda attempted to set off an explosion on an international flight arriving in Detroit yesterday. He had a powder and a fluid strapped to his leg which he mixed in an attempt to create an explosion as the plane descended into Detroit Metropolitan Airport. The attempt failed with only a minimal explosion and the man was subdued.

In response to this attack there needs to be an investigation as to why someone who was already on terrorist watch lists not only managed to get aboard the plane but to do so with potentially explosive substances strapped to his leg. We need to find out if he was really acting under orders of al Qaeda and what other plans they might have. This highlights a security problem I have long feared–we are vulnerable to the weakest link in screening anywhere in the world as once someone gets past security at one airport they can travel internationally with far less scrutiny.

This is a time for reasoned evaluation of our security systems, not to attempt to instill further panic for political gain as Hoekstra has. Hoekstra is the ranking Republican on the House Intelligence Committee and is a candidate for the 2010 Republican nomination for Governor. Presumably he thinks that he improves his prospect among Republicans by making cheap political points such as this:

“It’s not surprising,” U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra, a Holland Republican, said of the alleged terrorist attempt to blow up a Northwest Airlines flight in Detroit. A Nigerian who authorities said had told them he was ordered by al-Qaida to detonate an explosive was in custody. Reports linked the explosives to Yemen.

“People have got to start connecting the dots here and maybe this is the thing that will connect the dots for the Obama administration,” said Hoekstra.

Such conduct is hardly new from Hoekstra. He has previously made discredited claims of finding WMD in Iraq. After having written an op-ed condemning others for divulging military secrets, he himself was found to have divulged secrets on Twitter. He previously resorted to scare tactics which have been criticized by several former national security officials when there was talk of moving prisoners from Guantanamo Bay to a maximum security prison in Michigan.

Besides commenting before we have much information and unnecessarily spreading fear, Hoekstra’s message makes little sense in trying to blame a Democratic administration. It was the Republican Congress which blocked attempts to fight al Qaeda under Bill Clinton. Other Democrats such as John Kerry were warning about the threat of terrorism well before 9/11.

The Clinton administration even left the Bush administration warnings about al Qaeda. The Bush administration not only ignored these warnings but lied about receiving them. Then there was that CIA briefing entitled “Bin Laden determined to strike in U.S.” just before the attack which George Bush ignored. As Al Gore discussed in The Assault on Reason, paying attention to this warning should have led to a review of the State Department/INS watch list which already contained the names of many of the 9/11 terrorists. Others could have also been identified before the attack as they were using the same addresses or frequent flier numbers. In 2006 Keith Olbermann also reviewed the many warnings which were ignored. Barack Obama has spoken out several times about the need to respond to terrorism including his speech at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars back in 2007.

Playing politics with terrorism has also been commonplace from Republicans. After 9/11 we had a time of national unity when people of both parties were willing to support George Bush in taking reasonable action to respond. Instead the Republicans took advantage of 9/11 both for partisan gain and to push through their pre-9/11 agenda, including attacking Iraq, which has only acted to weaken the country and increase the risk of terrorist attacks.

There are many people in Michigan, including myself, who have family members who will be returning home from vacations on international flights through Detroit.I hope that rather than helping him politically, many more Michigan voters are repulsed by Peter Hoekstra’s irresponsible attempts to spread fear and seek personal political gain at a time when we need a serious review of the problem. Pete Hoekstra has demonstrated yet again that he is not fit to be Governor.

The Contributions of John Kerry

John Kerry was kicked around by the left far more than he deserved both in 2004 and after his close loss to George Bush. The previous post notes the quiet contributions John Kerry has made to the health care reform legislation. He has also been hard at work in other areas including climate change and on foreign policy. I supported John Kerry in 2004 because of many of the qualities he has shown since losing–not because he was the most flashy or charismatic candidate.

Gail Collins compares Kerry to Joe Lieberman and now regrets much of what she said about Kerry in the past:

I frequently made fun of Kerry for being a terrible presidential candidate. Which he was. But there comes a point when we the people have to move on. And Kerry has been a really good former failed presidential candidate. He’s been working hard in the Senate on climate control and trying to help the White House on foreign relations, despite the fact that Barack Obama stiffed him out of the secretary of state job in favor of a person who had been somewhat less supportive than Kerry of Obama’s early presidential aspirations. He actually seems more interested in doing stuff than being admired.

Lieberman was a terrible vice presidential candidate. (Like John Edwards, he not only lost his vice presidential debate, he managed to make Dick Cheney seem likable.) But instead of going back to something he could actually do well, he ran for president. He failed to gain any traction with the voters whatsoever, and like John McCain, he came out of the process bitterly denying that he was bitter.

Let’s look at our two failed-national-candidate models. You can move on, and try to make yourself useful (Kerry, Al Gore). Or you can work out barely suppressed rage by attacking things that you used to be for, like trying to control Medicare costs (McCain) or expanding Medicare eligibility (Lieberman).

Maybe the difference comes from self-image. Lieberman and McCain both thought of themselves as “character” candidates whose success was due to the love and trust of the public, and whose ultimate failure was the work of evil forces beyond their control. Kerry and Gore never believed their success was due to their innate likability. When they lost the presidency, a part of them probably shrugged and remembered that they weren’t all that popular in prep school, either.

Considering that Kerry came closest of any challenger to a sitting president during time of war I wouldn’t be so hard on him as a failed candidate. I have no idea how popular he was in prep school, and that is hardly meaningful. What counts is the work Kerry has done in the Senate in recent years, following the path of another Senator from Massachusetts who wanted to be president but was unable to–Ted Kennedy.