It's a holiday week, but as you may have noticed, there are some events going on in the world -- most notably, a coup in a major U.S. ally in the Middle East. You know, the sort of thing that would probably concern you if you were the secretary of state.
John Kerry spent much of Wednesday dealing with goings-on in Egypt. According to the State Department, Kerry participated in a National Security Council meeting and also spoke with the foreign ministers of Norway, Qatar, and Turkey; talked to Egyptian opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei; had five conversations with American Ambassador to Cairo Anne Patterson. He also made the mistake of being photographed in a kayak on Nantucket the day of the coup. The Boston Herald has the pics. Embarrassingly, Foggy Bottom had to reverse a previous denial that Kerry was on his yacht and admit that he had briefly been there.
Of course, there's no reason why, in an era of modern communications, the secretary can't work effectively from a resort island in Massachusetts, but this is just the sort of tempest in a teapot custom-made for a slow Friday in the summer. Between the pictures and the message confusion, it's a goofy unforced error, and conservatives have lost no time capitalizing on it; a Republican strategist quipped to the Herald that Kerry should be on a plane to the Middle East, not a boat. The setting is what makes it so eyeroll-worthy. If Kerry had been seen at a barbecue, no one would bat an eye. But on board a $7 million yacht? It just doesn't seem like he's working hard.