Tag Archives: Secretary of State

Follow John Kerry’s lead, Mr. President

I’m beginning to think President Obama needs to change the way he views his administration.

Instead of referring to everything and everyone who works within the administration in the first person singular — as in “my national security team” or “my administration” — the president needs to start using the first person plural.

Bill McKenzie, a columnist and blogger for the Dallas Morning News, is on point with his view that Secretary of State John Kerry has been more “out front” on the Syria crisis than the president.


Obama needs to follow Kerry’s lead.

To do that, though, he’ll need to start adapting to the view that the administration and its policies don’t belong to the man at the top. It’s a shared responsibility. “Our administration,” or “our national security team” would be the more appropriate way to define the team that occupies the White House, the Pentagon, Foggy Bottom and all the other institutions that comprise the massive federal government.

It’s all been a part of one element of Barack Obama’s tenure in the White House that has bothered me. The president tends to treat the government he administers a tad too personally — as if it all belongs to him. He took ownership of the presidency the moment he took the oath of office. The reality, though, is that the office actually belongs to us, the people.

I’m sure y’all have heard him use the first person singular perhaps a bit too liberally during his more than four years in office. Well, he’s now facing arguably the worst crisis of his time in the White House since the very beginning, when he walked into a financial firestorm.

The Syria crisis is testing the president’s resolve. His secretary of state, however, seems to be speaking with tremendous moral authority, not to mention outrage over the Syrians’ use of chemical weapons.

The man in charge of things in D.C., Barack Obama, ought to adopt John Kerry’s outlook — while understanding that everyone on duty at this moment has a shared responsibility to find a solution to this crisis.

Perry in deep hole for 2016

Rick Perry needs to get his act together in a big hurry if he’s entertaining the idea of running for president once more in 2016.

The Republican Texas governor is lagging far behind former first lady/Sen./Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in a possible matchup for the next presidential election.


Clinton trounces Perry by significant double-digit margins, according to a McClatchy-Marist poll. The closest Republicans are New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who trail Clinton by 6 and 8 points, respectively, in the poll.

Perry’s poll standing? He falls 16 points behind Clinton.

I am well aware that this is early in the cycle for the next presidential campaign. Clinton hasn’t even declared her intentions, although the smart money says she’s going to run once she catches her breath from all the globetrotting she did as secretary of state. HRC set some kind of travel record for number of countries visited and miles flown during her four years as the nation’s top diplomat.

Were she to run, my hunch is that she’ll be virtually unstoppable. That is the calculation anyone who challenges her will have to make — especially if they cannot improve on double-digit polling deficits.

Critical talks to begin

Secretary of State John Kerry is on the verge of achieving something of vital importance to the United States.

It is getting Israel and the Palestinian Authority talking again, looking for a permanent peace agreement between them.


Israel already is making the first “goodwill gesture,” in releasing some Palestinian political prisoners. I’m hopeful now the Palestinians will return the gesture, or something akin to it to demonstrate that they, too, are interested in forging a lasting peace.

I’ve had the honor of visiting Israel, spending five weeks there in May and June 2009. I’ve seen how close the Israelis live to those who have made it their mission to eradicate Israel. The threat of violence — even war — is with them constantly. They persevere and go on with their lives in such a way that one doesn’t detect Israelis’ outward fear of extermination.

The two sides need to talk and talk some more.

The agreement to begin those negotiations makes me hope — to borrow a phrase from an earlierĀ negotiation involving the United States and North Vietnam — that “peace is at hand.”

Stay with it, Mr. Secretary.