As Republican senators suddenly break out the effusive praise for Democratic Senator John Kerry as the right choice over Susan Rice for Secretary of State, well, there's a whole lot of flip-flopping on the not-so-fast track to Foggy Bottom. We should, of course, grant this praise as heartfelt and sincere — not at all tied to blocking President Obama from getting his first pick or opening up a Massachusetts Senate seat for just-defeated Scott Brown — and instead simply marvel at how far we've come in the last eight years. Many, many reporters and pundits have complained that Washington is broken, and that the Senate is dysfunctional. But just take a look at the endorsements from Friday's heartfelt story of GOP love for Kerry in The New York Times — then look at what the same senators said back when he was running for president — and the healing across party lines is there for the world to see. That or the blocking thing.
Maine Sen. Susan Collins
In 2012, the Times reports that Collins is thrilled at the idea of Kerry as America's top diplomat:
Mr. Kerry, [Collins] added, "would be an excellent appointment and would be easily confirmed by his colleagues."
On MSNBC's Hardball on September 2, 2004, Collins had quite a dim view of Kerry's instincts on foreign policy. She said of Zell Miller's Republican National Convention speech:
I thought the part of the speech that was most effective was when he went through all of the weapon systems that John Kerry had voted against and talked about how important they had been to our troops. That part of the speech I thought was a devastating indictment of Senator Kerry's record on defense issues.
Ohio Sen. Rob Portman