So John Kerry got five hours of questions this morning, most of which were tongue-baths, some of which were interesting, two of which were so mind-bendingly stupid that even were I not convinced Kerry should be Secretary of Everything, his restraint in not throwing a head of cabbage at the questioners would have assured me of his diplomatic skills.
Much in the way Tena and I used to liveblog the debates back when it was Kerry’s job to own Bush in person, I kept a running list of commentary, so here you go:
9 a.m. THERESA HEINZ KERRY IN THE HOUSE! Her hair is CRAZY today. Oh God, no disrespect to Michelle, but Theresa would have been the most awesome First Lady EVER. Sometimes I miss 2004 so much it hurts. I was thinner then. Paradoxically, I could drink more.
9:01: Soon-to-be-senior Sen. Elizabeth Warren talking to McCain. I wonder if she’s telling him how thoroughly she’s gonna kick his ass if he messes with her Masshole buddy.
Republicans seem to be convening in a corner to discuss how much of their dickwad reserve is left after yesterday. Dig deep, boys.
9:06: Kerry and Clinton are here and the noise I made was NOT HUMAN. Everybody’s getting their picture taken with Hillary and she’s all, SUP MOTHERFUCKAS, that all you got? Kerry’s standing there awkwardly, looking like somebody bought him a suit on the way to the hearing and it kind of itches. Which is how he always looks. Which is one of the most charming things about him.
Sen. Menedez is already acting like this is a party and he’s in charge of handing out cupcakes. “Honored to welcome you as the president’s nominee.”
Mentioning when Kerry testified before the committee in 1971 “as a young war hero.” And I’m already crying.
You’ve got to understand, what got me about this guy in the first place was this:
“Yours is a big chair to fill and I will do my best to live up to your example.”
Saying one of Kerry’s true strength is “publicly speaking truth to power” YES YES YES. SUCK IT SWIFT BOATERS.
(I may not live through this, guys.)
Listing Kerry’s accomplishments. Theresa’s nodding like OH YES, THAT’S MY FELLA.
9:14Bob Corker: Secretary Clinton’s here today, despite the hearings yesterday. YES, BECAUSE SHE’S A GROWNUP YOU ASSHOLE. “We have a dangerous world.” Yeah, no shit, pal, Kerry got shot a few times in it. “We have many challenges.” Who the Christ kind of jackasses elected this fuckstick? Admitting Kerry’s a lock, but being a condescending prick anyway.
9:17Warren: I FUCKING LOVE JOHN KERRY. Just compared him to John Quincy Adams. “If anyone wants to learn diplomacy, come try Massachusetts politics.” Mentions Ted Kennedy’s lessons. “I once asked John why he loved the Senate. He said it’s the pride he feels in trying to help people.” Tells story about going to Egypt to try to get kidnapped children back for a father. “He called former President Mubarak and had a screaming match with him.” I would have sold tickets to that meeting.
Seeing the Marshall Plan in action with his father.
Volunteering to serve in the military.
Says Kerry says America is “not exceptional because we say we are. We’re exceptional because we do exceptional things.”
9:21Clinton: He has a view of the world that he has acted on. (Which is why I just CAN’T, okay?)
Strong relationships with leaders, experience in representing our country. Clinton had to call Harry Reid to stop scheduling votes while Kerry was overseas, like, “YO LET THE MAN WORK.”
“John WILL be given the chance” to be a superhero, she says.
9:25McCain: I’m pleased to be here, and we all know what a rock star my pal is here. Talking about mutual respect. “When we were much younger, nicer and better looking men than we are now, Senator Kerry and I spent some time at the Navy’s behest in a certain Southeast Asian country in less than pleasant circumstances.” Every once in a while the guy John McCain tried to be from 2000-2004 comes back.
Saying his respect for Kerry dates from Kerry’s work on behalf of POWs and engagement with Vietnam. “Through it all, John led the committee with fairness to all sides.”
I’m still bitter about how long it took McCain to tell the Swift Boaters to fuck themselves, don’t get me wrong, but this is nice.
Talking about the value of generosity and forgiveness. “One of the highest privileges I’ve had here. I commend his nomination to you without reservation.” Crying again. FUCK.
9:32 KERRY UP. And of course he knocks into microphone because he’s a TREMENDOUSLY AWKWARD DORK.
Thanking Theresa, introducing his brother and his daughter Vanessa and son in law. Addressing the committee: “I’ve never seen a more distinguished and better looking group of individuals in my life.” Makes a Godfather II joke. I LOVE HIM SO MUCH.
He’s wearing a flag pin, so I suppose Fox News will lay off, right?
He’s got kind of a swagger going on, which is nice. “I’m looking forward to getting this shit done and getting to work. So can we cut this short and go straight to the Shots in a Shithole portion of the evening?”
Praising Clinton. Praising McCain: “We found common ground.” Mostly in how Bush sucks.
Choking up as he recalls standing in the cell in the Hanoi Hilton with McCain and listening, just the two of them, to McCain’s story.
Then going on with normalizing relations with Vietnam: “John had every reason to hate, but he didn’t.” Aaaaand I’m crying again. This is like my kryptonite.
“We can’t be strong in the world unless we’re strong at home.” Flashbacks to 2004 convention.
First order of business that will be America at last puts its own fiscal house in order. “We are known as the indispensible nation for good reason.” No nation as committed to human rights.ERM.
Talking about how it sucks to be lecturing other people about getting your shit together when at home Republicans act like babies.
“Foreign policy is economic policy.”
He is SCHOOLING these assholes and they’re not happy about it. “Economic patriotism.”
This is essentially his stump speech from 2004, and that’s not a complaint.
Mentions drones. Then goes into “the role that we have HAD to play since 9/11.” Um, we didn’t HAVE to be that big of assholes, actually. We decided to do that.
We might want to speak out for victims of gulags HERE, too. “America lives up to her values when we give voice to the voiceless.”
Talking about the fruit vendor in Tunisia, the youth of Tahrir Square who were secularists, sanctions on Iran. “I will work to give diplomacy every opportunity to succeed, but no one should doubt our resolve to reduce the nuclear threat.”
Choking up a lot now, talking about the foreign serve and his father’s work: “A personal journey that brought home the sacrifices that men and women make on behalf of America.” In other words, where have YOU ever been, Ron Johnson?
Protester calling out. “I’m tired of my friends in the Middle East dying!” Security takes her out.
Kerry:Defending the protester! Saying he once was that protester on the Vietnam War issue, and “people around the world watch what we do.”
Menendez, about Iran: Will you enforce sanctions?
That was easy.
Menendez: But will you advise that we fuck up Iran militarily?
Kerry: Yeah, remember how well that went the last time? Look, they need to do what they say they’re doing. They do that, we have no problem.
Menendez: Can we unfuck Afghanistan?
Kerry: Have you seen that place? We’re not ever going to unfuck it. We’re going to help them if they want our help, and fuck up terrorists who live there, just like we always should have been doing, but the idea that we can govern them is stupid and condescending and WAY TOO MUCH WORK, so screw that, basically.
Menendez: The entire Western hemisphere?
Kerry: We need to make everybody’s economy better, which will make desperate people less likely to mess with us. For example, Colombia is less miserable, so there are less murderings of their entire Supreme Court in one afternoon. Shocking.
SO LOGICAL. No wonder we couldn’t elect him president. Boo, American voters.
10:07: Corker trying to figure out how much of a cock he can get away with being without McCain leaping over the table and braining him with a baseball bat.
“I asked you 73 questions in advance.” GOOD FOR YOU. Dickhead.
Corker asking about Hagel and Global Zero. Are we sure we want to have entire admin being anti-nuke pussies running the cabinet?
Kerry: Do any of us really think zero nukes would be bad? Kissinger wanted zero nukes. Take Fox News’ dick out of your mouth and try again.
Corker keeps bringing up how many years of experience Kerry has and it feels like he’s saying Kerry’s old or insular or something. Maybe it’s just his face that makes everything coming out of it sound penile and obnoxious.
Asking if there are differences between Obama’s and Kerry’s views of foreign policy.
Kerry: We’ve been a little busy running the country and trying to keep you fucks from destroying Congress, respectively.
Corker: You love Assad, right? Can you tell us how much you love him? How many times did you have sex?
Kerry: He had serious problems. We tried to solve them. He got worse. His own people decided to act. Our stuff is ancient history. Also, I’m sure you’re finding it hard to breathe with your head so far up Roger Ailes’ ass, so take a break, son.
10:18 BOXER! She’s in a fuzzy turtleneck because fuck it. Kerry, how are you going to deal with how most of the world treats women like dogs?
Kerry: Talking about hearings on human trafficking, connecting achievements of women to economic strength, emphasizing that in many nations women have stepped up as peace-and-security forces for their communities.
Boxer: How do we get more women at the table in Afghanistan when that place is such a goddamn disaster?
Kerry: We have made it clear that the Taliban has to stop this crap, and respect the constitution there.
Boxer: Republicans have said stopping discrimination is now suddenly controversial because of political correctness.
Kerry: Right? What a bunch of tools.
Kerry: I haven’t seen it yet. We are responisble for environmental review. Standards. Work with legal to make sure it won’t screw up the environment.
It will, John. C’mon.
Jim Risch of Idaho: “While you and Theresa are out globetrotting …” FUCK YOU, JESUS, THESE GUYS. He acts like he’s making a joke, but it’s the same “You’re a rich gay Frenchman” crap and it triggers a feral response in me to throw things at his face.
Asking about Russia and whether Kerry will personally oil up and wrestle Putin over who’s the baddest.
Kerry: Listen to how much I know about arms control. We’re not doing as well as we could, but the economy is a smoking crater and you assholes won’t let us spend money on ANYTHING. We’re underfunded. Maybe you noticed. Also sometimes Russia is nice to us. For example they cooperated more on the START Treaty this year than Republicans did.
Risch: I appreciate your candor acknowledging that there’s been some backsliding there.
Kerry looks not happy.
Risch: We’re all concerned about Obama becoming a dictator and making executive agreements with other nations. How do you feel about that?
Kerry: You really want me to call the President a jerk here? That’s what you think is going to happen? You won’t cooperate on anything, and you’re mad at the president for acting?
Risch:The president is making an end-run around the Constitution!!!! Founding Fathers!
Kerry: You’re not this dumb. Wingnut bloggers are this dumb. “Certain arguments being made here are not based on fact or science but on the point of view of some outside entity.” Maybe we can agree that the truth is the truth, but until you stop taking your talking points from #tcot, nothing is going to get done.
“I’ll comment on any particular instance when it’s relevant.”
Cardin: Let’s talk about sports bets.
Kerry:“If the standard here is which team you root for, I’m screwed.”
Theresa looks bored and like she wants to go out for a smoke. That is how she looked during the entirety of the campaign, too. I loved that about her.
Rubio: UNITED NATIONS! WORLD GOVERNMENT! We’re the only ones who can be in charge!!!!11! Foreign aid sucks! “There’s been this perception in this country that foreign aid is 20 percent of our budget.” GOSH I WONDER WHO DID THAT?
US policy under Obama sucks balls. Would you agree?
Rubio doesn’t give Kerry time to agree. He’s boring on about extended conflict, turning things over to our obviously inferior allies, creating weak governments in the places we blew up … was this guy in high school during the Iraq War? This is really rich, coming from a member of the party of BRING THEM ON.
Kerry: I don’t have time to list all the ways in which you’re a dick. Let’s start here: Remember Iraq and Afghanistan? Remember who fucked that up? We decided not to do that anymore. So yeah, we let our allies do some stuff. And you can’t just hang out forever in a country waiting to get soldiers killed, as we learned from your last president.
11:04: Ooh boy, Ron Johnson. Goes on extended whine about how Clinton was mean to him and told him he was a fucking appliance. “Are you going to be as big of an asshole as Hillary?”
Kerry: “If you’re trying to get some daylight between me and Secretary Clinton, it’s not going to happen.” FUCK YEAH!
“If your question is, should the American people get the truth, the answer is yes.” YOU MORON. But Clinton was talking about how you’re a dumbass, so that’s not even relevant.
Johnson: How soon did you know there were no protests?
Kerry: … really?
Johnson: IS THERE AN INVESTIGATION? DO WE KNOW IF THIS IS BEING INVESTIGATED?
Kerry: Um, yeah, you douche.
Johnson: EVERYBODY PAY ATTENTION TO ME. MAKE A COMMITMENT TO ME TO TALK ABOUT WHAT HAPPENED!!!!
Kerry: Did you go to the briefing where we talked about what happened?
Kerry: “There was a briefing with tapes, which those of us who went to it saw, and saw all the events unfold,” but maybe you were in the men’s room or something.
Johnson: SO YOU AGREE WE WERE MISLED!
Kerry: Okay, you’re really just such a fucking, fucking … Look, nobody was misled. You think you were misled, which very stupid people often think when they’re listening to people smarter than them.
Johnson: SPENDING IS THE DEVIL. Doesn’t that make your job harder?
Kerry:Republicans being douchemooks makes my job harder, yes.
Unilateral efforts LIKE THOSE THE FORMER PRESIDENT USED TO LOVE aren’t helpful. To say the least.
11:13 Aww, Sen. Coons thanks Theresa.
Jeff Flake: Iraq was going to be awesome before our pussy-ass president decided we weren’t going to win it after all and left embassy buildings vacant.
Kerry: Well, we’re taking the lessons of everyhting Bush fucked up, and trying not to do those things. Shocking.
11:41:McCain: I loved you before, but now primary voters might be watching, so MY QUESTION IS YOU SUCK. Americans do care why Americans were misled by Secretary Rice. He’s outraged. Just outraged.
Now asking about Syrian refugees. They feel that Americans aren’t helping them. Let’s go in there and blow some shit up! You’re too optimistic about the Russians helping us!
Kerry: I think I know what you’re saying, but we can’t stop the world from caving in. And because I wasn’t born yesterday, I don’t actually think the Russians are gonna fix things, but we don’t even know what this is yet.
McCain: Every day that goes by in Syria, it gets worse.
Kerry: Well, yes. That is Syria’s problem, a little bit, too. I fail to see how freedom bombs fix it.
11:54:Dick Durbin: Everybody knows McCain is an asshole, but he loves you, really. Remember when Republicans didn’t have to show off to appease the teawads? Wasn’t that fun?
Barrasso: Asks surprisingly reasonable question about the strength of Al Qaeda. Then asks why Obama has not “brought the attackers of America to justice.” I’m sorry, how long did it take us to kill bin Laden?
Kerry: “The president doesn’t bluff about these kinds of things.”
He’s managing to burn Bush just as thoroughly as he did during the campaign, without ever once mentioning Bush’s name.
Barrasso: Isn’t the Keystone pipeline just the fucking best? Why bother with green tech?
Kerry:Talking about climate change. “This is a job creator.” Talking about the need to base policy on science and not “ideology.” We can keep investing in energy markets but only if you bitches will abandon your position that the environment is somehow gay.
Udall: Yeah, what Kerry said.
OH YAY RAND PAUL: Barack Obama took us to war in Libya without Congressional authority!
Kerry: “I believe in Congressional authority to go to war. There are occasions when a president has to make a decision immediately and implement that decision. LIKE REAGAN AND GRANADA. Like Bush I and Panama. Like Clinton with Bosnia.”
Paul, interrupting: Obama did it just because people disagreed with him! How is Cambodia different from Libya?
Kerry: Um, we were at war with Vietnam, dipshit.
Paul: Talks about himself in third person. Rand Paul believes in the Constitution!
Kerry: You can be absolutist if you want, but it’s dumb.
Paul: THE UN WORLD GOVERNMENT TOOK US TO WAR IN LIBYA AGAINST OUR WILL.
Kerry:You’re kidding now, right?
Paul:Morsi says Zionists are terrible!
Kerry: Morsi’s a dick, okay? Next?
Paul: But we keep sending him weapons!
Kerry: We told him to cut the shit. What more do you want from us? Also in grown-up land, sometimes you have to put up with pricks in order to get stuff done. Like this hearing. The guy is the president. What do you want us to do, depose him forcefully?
“The fact that sometimes other countries elect people who disagree with us doesn’t give you the right to walk away from their election.”
Paul: This is the problem. We funded bin Laden. We funded the mujahedeen. Those weapons will come back to threaten Israel. “Why don’t we just not sell any weapons to Israel’s enemies?”
Kerry: “Better yet, why don’t we try to make peace?”
BOOM. That was gorgeous.
Paul: Let’s cut off all aid to anyone who pisses us off!
Kerry: “I’m simply explaining to you that rather than cut aid which is a pretty dramatic, draconian, sledgehammer approach to a relationship that really has a lot of interests — we have our ground line of complications, and that route is critical to our supply of troops, we had intelligence cooperation that enabled us to get bin Laden. I am not going to recommend that we just cut our assistance. We need to build our relationship, not diminish it.”
Tim Kaine: Talk about the Muslim Brotherhood a while.
Kerry: What you see in radical Islam is not Islam. It is an exploitation and hijacking of a religion, an excuse for being deprived of opportunities. Carrying the banner of religious tolerance is critical. I’ve personally raised that with President Morsi.
Corker, closing remark: You’ve done exceptionally well considering what a penile implant my colleague Rand Paul is.
Menendez:DUDE. WE LOVE YOU. FORGET WHAT RAND PAUL SAID.
“Your father would be extremely proud of you today.” Yeah, no worries, just my heart.
12:50 Adjourned! Kerry hugs Thersa and kisses his kids. Scattered applause and then everybody gets up and rushes out, hopefully toward the tequila, or some kind of Rand Paul Encounter Recovery Program.