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First Draft of History
Survey: Kerry Worst SecState in 50 Years

John Kerry is in Kiev today for high-level negotiations. Will he be effective? If history—or historians—have anything to say about it, probably not. As The Washington Post reports:

Foreign Policy magazine this week announced the results of its 2014  Ivory Tower survey of 1,615 international relations scholars from 1,375 U.S. colleges.

One question they were asked was: “Who was the most effective U.S. secretary of state of the past 50 years?

[…] Then, dead last, is John Kerry. He got a total of two votes of the 660 scholars who responded.

Kerry’s score was matched only by Lawrence Eagleburger, who served for 6 weeks.

Since academics track well to the left of of most people, this is a sign that the second term Obama foreign policy is bombing with liberals.

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  • Brett Champion

    The conclusion about Kerry being the worst secretary of state in the last 50 years is not a fair one to make from this data. We don’t know how many of the respondents would have selected Kerry as the second or third or so on most effective. Just because not many would select him first doesn’t mean they think that he’s worst.

    But the second conclusion, about the disappointment of the left with Obama’s foreign policy is probably more realistic. Though it ironically probably has mostly to do with only two things: Israel/Palestine and trade, two things which Kerry doesn’t have a lot of (read: any) influence over.

    • Harry Allan

      I agree with this identification of the obvious blunder in TAI’s interpretation. The correct headline is “Only two scholars think Kerry is the best SoS in the last fifty years.” That does make me wonder who the two were.

      • Harry Allan

        TAI should have waited for the correction: “This post has been updated. An earlier version said scholars “ranked” him. Instead they simply voted for the most effective.”

    • Corlyss

      “We don’t know how many of the respondents would have selected Kerry as the second or third or so on most effective.”

      Unbelievable! Where’s the honor in even debating the findings? Nobody who matters is dealing manfully with the real issue.

    • Curious Mayhem

      OK, OK, Kerry isn’t the worst secretary in the last 50 years — he’s the worst ever.

      OTOH, Kerry and Edwards made a lovely couple in 2004. Shame.

    • Alex K.

      “Just because not many would select him first doesn’t mean they think that he’s worst.”

      Good point. Suppose some statesman is a very divisive figure so that 70% of scholars rate him last and 30% rate him #1. He’s going to beat a guy rated #2 by 80% and #1 by 20%.

  • Nathaniel Greene

    The only value this poll has is that it highlights the ignorance, stupidity, and incompetence of the “scholars” who voted. Coming in second to Henry Kissinger (32%) in this poll was “Don’t know” (18.3%). The scholars actually rated Hillary Clinton a better Secretary of State than George Schultz. This poll tells us all we need to know about the current state of academia in the United States.

    • gabrielsyme

      This is fun. 41% of those polled said “climate change” was among the three most important foreign policy issues, ranking first overall.

      • Curious Mayhem

        That’s what you get to do in academia: prioritize the imaginary over the urgent.

      • Fat_Man

        After reading that and some other items, i came to the conclusion that the voters were kind of clueless. OTOH, Kerry is so obviously a dummy that you would have to be blind to approve of the job he has done as SoS.

        Just to think that the guy was less than a million votes from being President.

    • Curious Mayhem

      Yeah, but cut ’em some slack — they have smoked out our current Secretary of Clownhood 🙂

    • Corlyss

      There’s always a bias in these things for the more recent, which requires an intervention to correct. There was a poll of liberal academics and journalists conducted by Arthur Schlessinger designed to prove that Kennedy was the latest manifestation of liberal God incarnate, and Reagan was Satan’s seed. The bias was obvious but it was never treated in a more rational systematic way until Wall Street Journal set up a survey 10 years ago which detailed the methodology transparently. The survey was the subject of the WSJ publication Presidential Leadership

  • Corlyss

    Go ahead. Shoot the messenger.

    You can’t blame the front man because the guy behind him is a moron. You have to come out of your little cocoon and call the head man the moron he is.

    • Curious Mayhem

      Hillary Clinton was obviously too smart, or at least too ambitious, and thus a threat to the Narcissist-in-Chief.

      Obviously, neither is a problem with the former senator Ketchup from Mass.

      • Josephbleau

        Anyone claiming HRC better than Schultz is a DF.

        • Curious Mayhem

          No, a DS spouting HS.

          Tracy Flick could and did do better.

      • Corlyss

        I disagree. She had the same problem. There was a point when she was out ahead of Doofus on some issue that needed someone with spine to make policy and stick with it, but Val didn’t like that a little bit, so Doofus didn’t back her up. There seems to be some popular misconception floating around that SecState somehow sets and runs US foreign policy. I don’t understand how this possibly gets so much legs. It simply isn’t true. The Prez sets the policy and hires someone who thinks like him to run it, regardless of department. And I’m not even going into the very junior status State has vis DoD, which really runs US foreign policy but still conforming to the Prez’ policy dictates.

    • qet

      These are not mutually exclusive positions. They can both be morons. I would rather choose the term “unserious” to describe them. What has been proven beyond all doubt is that Obama is not a serious man, and we knew that about Kerry already. Neither has any long-standing convictions on which to ground policy, either foreign or domestic. Neither has spent any significant part of his adult life reflecting on statecraft, political leadership, call it what you will. They simply react to events as they unfold with undisguised irritation at the interruption to their enjoyment of the perks of office. This is just as true of HRC. She wants to be president, and that is all she wants. Everything else is a menial job to her. She, too, is impatient at having to actually perform the duties of the office, and has no convictions on foreign policy formed over long years of a political career. As president she would be every bit the disaster Obama has turned out to be, and as Sec. of State she was no better than Kerry.

      Historians will have no difficulty in ranking Obama as the worst president in over a century, if not of all time. He is not a bad person but he never had any business being president. He is not a man of politics and never wanted to be. He is incompetent for the office (just as I would be). Like Elizabeth Warren, another person whose political “career” was purchased wholesale by the funds of the national party organization, the highest station to which he is fitted would be that of a high(ish)-ranking bureaucrat, or perhaps an “advisor” of some kind to a real political leader.

      • Corlyss

        “These are not mutually exclusive positions. They can both be morons.”

        Good point.

        “I would rather choose the term “unserious” to describe them.”

        I agree, but the term is so tepid to describe the wantonly destructive character of their solipsistic narcissism. A narcissist is incurable.

        “Neither has any long-standing convictions on which to ground policy, either foreign or domestic.”

        They are sooooooo representative of their class: they don’t have principles, they have poses.

        “Neither has spent any significant part of his adult life reflecting on statecraft, political leadership, call it what you will.”

        They are first and foremost consumed by the getting and keeping of power.

        “He is not a man of politics”
        I agree if by that you mean the classic definition of politics as “the art of the possible.” Both Doofus and Hillary are ideologues thru and thru with no grasp of politics. Hillary is not her husband. Bill was a political creature.

    • GS

      @Corlyss: Why, it is not like he desperately needed the salary. And voluntarily to become a front man for a moron is highly blameable.

      • Corlyss

        Oh, but I think you assume that Kerry doesn’t agree with Doofus. He does. He’s as anti-American as Doofus, and cream-puffy, as weak in the power politics pia mater. They are ideological twins. Neither one understands this nation or its people. Kerry believes just as strongly as Doofus that American has it coming (for Viet Nam from his perspective), that Christians have it coming (for past bad acts), that America’s problem is from projecting too much strength, which both interpret as bullying others. Neither bothers to give us our due. Neither will ever conclude that on the whole America has been a force for good, regardless of the occasional unpleasant but necessary act of taking out the garbage that really needed taking out. That’s the life of the mind for people like those two.

        • GS

          Your assumption is wrong. What I said is that Kerry, being very comfortable financially, cannot plead the necessity to feed his family as a mitigating circumstance. Therefore he is [has to be] a volunteer, and as such, highly blameable.

          • Corlyss

            I understand the words you used. I’m at a loss to fathom why being a volunteer is so much more morallyl reprehensible than being an ideological useful idiot. Nobody at that level of government needs the money. That aint why they are there in the first place. I’m just trying to understand your point.

          • GS

            An idiot could plead his idiocy/ignorance/incompetence as a mitigating circumstance, while a volunteer cannot. A volunteer is a much more active actor, and thus the increased degree of moral reprehensibility.

    • Curious Mayhem

      Pathological narcissist, actually, with a sad clown as front man.

  • FriendlyGoat

    The high-profile expectations for people in this job are not the cakewalk that critics imagine. Sure, some dim-witted people think you can just go out and bluster around about nuking Iran, North Korea, Russia, China, ISIL and the Palestinians—–but you can’t. And Kerry can’t either.

    • Josephbleau

      But he can tell France that “They Have A Friend “(tm) J. Taylor.

  • mikesixes

    Well, even though I don’t think much of Kerry, the survey as described in the above item doesn’t really say he’s the worst. They were only asked who was the best. Getting the least votes for “best” is not the same as being voted worst.

  • FrancisChalk

    Unfortunately, this same survey cites Global Climate Change as the biggest foreign policy issue facing America both today and in the next 10 years, so don’t put too much stock in anything these clueless, group-think, Leftists say. Anyway, who didn’t already know Kerry is a fool?

  • mikulin

    These scholars overwhelmingly listed global climate change as the biggest future threat but it did not make their top ten list of subjects where research on the subject increased.

  • Rick Caird

    After Kerry’s performance as a Swift boat guy and as a Senator, why would failure as a Secretary of State surprise anyone?

    • Corlyss

      I know. But really, he’s a failure because the policy is f’d up, no matter how cleverly or artfully it is explained. It almost seems like giving him a pass on his own innate stupidity to call him a failure for what Doofus hath wrought. If smarter people like Paneta and Gates and Flynn can’t do anything with Doofus, a fellow traveler ain’t gonna get him to do a 180.

  • ubik

    If he was tied for last, he is still overrated.

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