Sen. John Kerry replaced Hillary Rodham Clinton as secretary of state Tuesday, Jan. 29.
President Obama said in a Jan. 29 article by CNN’s Political Unit he is happy with the decision.
“I am pleased that the Senate has confirmed John Kerry as our next secretary of state with overwhelming bipartisan support,” Obama said. “From his decorated service in Vietnam to his decades in the Senate as a champion of American global leadership, John’s distinguished career has prepared him to guide American diplomacy in the years ahead.”
Kerry, a five-term United States senator for Massachusetts was the 2004 Democratic presidential candidate and a decorated Vietnam War veteran. Kerry has worked with the Obama administration for several years in relations with Afghanistan and Pakistan. Kerry is also chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Senior Adam England said Kerry taking over the role was no surprise.
“Kerry has wanted the position of secretary of state ever since Obama was elected in 2008,” England said. “[The position] was something he really lobbied for. It was an obvious election.”
Kerry serves in a senior position in commerce, finance and small business committees nationally. Kerry has held the Massachusetts senator seat for the second longest number of years in its history and is one of the ten most senior senators. Last month President Obama nominated Kerry as the country’s top diplomat, succeeding Clinton.
Senior Charles “CJ” Swanson said Kerry’s role in the Foreign Relations Committee, as well as other qualifications, makes him a good fit for the position.
“I think Kerry was chosen for [the Obama administration] because he served with Biden and Barack [Obama] on the foreign relations committee, and they are very familiar with him,” Swanson said. “I really think [the administration] needed a strong Democrat to advance our foreign policy without any distractions after the issues in Benghazi.”
Kerry was sworn in Wednesday, Jan. 30 after winning a nearly unanimous vote.
Swanson said the bipartisan support Kerry received in the Senate is a sign of national politics moving in the right direction.
“This is good,” Swanson said. “The Republicans know that the two-party system is declining. They are starting to look more towards who will be great Washington leaders. [Kerry] is active not only in D.C. politics but also in international politics. He’s very influential and invested in foreign policy.”
The Senate voted 94-3 for Kerry. Sens. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and John Hoeven, R-N.D., were absent from the vote. Republican Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz of Texas and Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe voted against, and Kerry voted present in his own election.
Cornyn said he voted against Kerry because of the political views of his state.
“Sen. Kerry has a long history of liberal positions that are not consistent with a majority of Texans,” Cornyn said in a Jan. 29 Fox News article.
England said he preferred Clinton rather than Kerry for the position because Kerry’s history of changing his mind on important topics could lead to future problems.
“Kerry is a words man,” England said. “He likes to dance around issues and not come out and say anything. It’s candescent to the way he is such a flip-flopper. The way he doesn’t hold to issues and the way he jumps around and how he avoids topics is for his own betterment in order to ensure that he doesn’t end up on the wrong side of an issue.”
England said Kerry could not put up a strong front on important social issues as well, failing to unify the Democrats on health care, gay marriage and abortion.
“He’s a Democrat and he supports abortion; however, his background is Catholic,” England said. “He was born in a Catholic family and the Catholic religion is predominantly against abortion. To me, that says a lot about him already. For someone to believe in those things and then turn his back for his political views, I’m not exactly a huge fan of that.”
England said, though Kerry received strong bipartisan support, he might not be the best suited for the job.
“In reality, Kerry comes across soft,” England said. “That’s completely opposite to Clinton, and it’s even more opposite to the person Obama has become.”
Though Kerry has received criticism from several outlets, Obama said he supports Kerry in the position.
“John has earned the respect of leaders around the world and the confidence of Democrats and Republicans in the Senate, and I am confident he will make an extraordinary secretary of state,” Obama said in the CNN article. “I look forward to his counsel and partnership in the years ahead as we ensure American leadership in the world and advance the interests and values that keep our nation strong.”