Kerry Confirmed

So congrats to John Kerry, who was confirmed as the country’s 68th Secretary of State this afternoon.

The confirmation vote was 94-3. Both the senators from the homeland of the Swift Boat Veterans For Truth, Texas, voted “no,” as did the senior senator from the fossil fuel industry, James Inhofe. (Best tweet I saw on the vote was from @pourmecoffee: Both Texas Senators voted against Kerry which was dumb because they will have to deal with him as Sec. Of State after secession).

Kerry’s confirmation induced me to read, for the first time in a good while, a list of U.S. Secretaries of State. It’s a very impressive list, even if you discount the nineteenth-century convention of this being the second most important position in the federal government. Aside from future presidents Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, J.Q. Adams, Van Buren and Buchanan, there were near-presidents Henry Clay, Lewis Cass, James Blaine, William Jennings Bryan, and Charles Evans Hughes; the great Marshalls, John and George; and an assortment of other people considered great for other reasons: John Jay, Daniel Webster, John C. Calhoun, Hamilton Fish, John Sherman, John Hay, Elihu Root, Henry Stimson, Henry Kissinger (yeah, yeah, I know), and Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Kerry’s is pretty good company, and I expect him to have a distinguished tenure. But then I’m biased.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.