Defense & National Security

No protest of Kerry nomination expected

No protest of Kerry nomination expected

With President Barack Obama expected to nominate Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) for Secretary of State later this afternoon, a former leader of a group that helped thwart the senator’s presidential aspirations said the group is unlikely to agitate against his promotion this time.

Scott Swett, the author who documented the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth movement in 2004, told Human Events Thursday that he was disappointed in a Kerry nomination, but didn’t expect the Swift Boat veterans to try to stop his confirmation.

“I’m not aware of any organized effort to oppose his nomination,” Swett said.

“I think there would be more organized opposition if he was nominated for (Secretary of) Defense, simply because of the insult factor.”

Kerry, a Vietnam veteran, infuriated fellow vets by staging anti-war protests when he returned to the states and giving testimony to Congress in 1971 that many believed miscast the nature of American involvement in Vietnam and demonized troops. The Swift Boat veterans claimed Kerry also mischaracterized his own service and the circumstances under which he received his three Purple Hearts, though their allegations have been contested.

Members of the Swift Boat veterans told Human Events earlier this month that there had been some talk of protesting a nomination for Secretary of Defense, though there was no organized movement yet.

“I think that (Kerry) has a long history of cooperating with America’s enemies and acting against our best interests,” Swett said.

“But I’m not sure that distinguishes him greatly from anyone else who would be nominated.”

The opportunities for Republicans that a Kerry nomination opens up may also help to silence any potential opposition. If Kerry is confirmed at State, his Massachusetts Senate seat will be vacant, prompting a special election.

While polls have shown that Republican Scott Brown is a favorite to re-take the seat after being ousted in November, Democratic Rep. Michael Capuano of Somerville, Mass. has said he may consider a run for the seat as well.

With Republican protests successfully scuttling a Susan Rice nomination for State in the wake of her inaccurate statements to the press immediately following the Benghazi attacks, Kerry may seem like an acceptable, if not pleasing, alternative for conservatives.

“(Kerry’s) chairmanship of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee has been an exercise in futility. But… he is not a loon. He is not a fool,” sighs Danielle Pletka at the American Enterprise Institute. “That, apparently, is now the bar that must be leapt over for the Obama cabinet.”

Senators from the right and left are generally likely to confirm one of their own out of a standard of collegiality, even if they disagree with his policies and outlook.

Meanwhile, the fact that Obama reportedly will not be nominating former senator Chuck Hagel for defense secretary when he announces Kerry’s nomination may prove that conservative objections to Hagel are also gaining traction in the administration.

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