At last night's DNC, Senator John Kerry blasted a grand-slammer of a speech over the Green Monster for President Obama and the Democratic Party. The intrepid Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and 2004 Democratic presidential nominee evidenced a more self-effacing, yet self-assured delivery deconstructing the foreign policy credentials of the Republic nominee and his running-mate and extolling the many accomplishments of Barack Obama as a formidable Commander-in-Chief.
Not that Romney hasn't provided a lot of great ammunition for Democrats to mine, what with his magical mystery tour abroad and his slap-in-the-face omission for failing to honor our fighting men and women in Afghanistan during his acceptance speech in Tampa.
And as an unapologetic champion of Israel's security, I also cannot condone Romney's untrue and unsubstantiated accusations that Obama has "... thrown Israel under the bus" -- a wild swing intended to transform America's bipartisan commitment to Israel's security into a partisan mud-sling. I may have my concerns for the Administration's uneven policies toward the Arab world's transition, but Obama has done more for Israel's security than most presidents before him... and I look forward to debating anyone who would challenge that commendable record. If Israeli leaders, including Israel's Defense Minister Ehud Barak, can unabashedly vouch for that record, what spiked Kool-Aid is Romney drinking?
Putting aside the GOP foreign policy platform, which isn't worth a lot of assessment given its nominee, the only bright spot from the GOP convention's national security ditch it dug for itself was Condoleezza Rice's formidable address to the convention -- less a defense of eight years of dangerous foreign policy stumbles, and more a national political debut for an accomplished, respected personality.
After watching Kerry's address last night and re-reading the text this morning, I have greater appreciation for what Kerry conveyed to the nation and the world; namely, the Republican Party under Mitt Romney is still not only neo-conish, but also seriously divided between its do-nothing and know-nothing wings -- a veritable three-tiered axis of "shoot first, don't aim, don't care."
Last night's address by Kerry to the DNC was the culmination of a particularly effective supporting role that Kerry has played for the White House in foreign policy and national security since Kerry assumed the chairmanship of the Foreign Relations Committee from Joe Biden in 2009. Since his elevation to the committee chairmanship, Kerry has done a considerable amount of behind-the-scenes diplomatic heavy lifting for the Administration on the START Treaty, fickle Russian relations, Iraq troop withdrawal, and a diabolically challenging effort to marshal Congressional support for stronger sanctions against Iran -- all without demanding the limelight.
As a close follower of his committee's work over many years, what is striking about Kerry's stewardship in the past two years is the comradeship he has forged with foreign dignitaries and with Republican committee members to create a small, effective bastion of bipartisan cooperation on matters essential to the nation's national security. Kerry has also assembled a stellar staff of creative, knowledgeable national security experts who have worked seamlessly with their colleagues in the White House and in the State Department to promote Obama's national security agenda. They are up to snuff and apparently great speechwriters, to boot.
Should President Obama select Kerry as his Clinton SecState replacement in a second term, Obama and Biden will surely have at the helm of the ship of state a seasoned, robust, national security expert and team player who shares an ideological kinship with the Administration's foreign and national security policies. It would be a great baton hand-off from another team player, Hillary Clinton.