As Hillary Clinton prepares to leave her post as Secretary of State, President Barack Obama will soon need to nominate her successor. Benghazi aside, many believe Clinton has performed admirably and will be difficult to replace.
There are two names floating around as possible replacements for Clinton: Mass. Sen. John Kerry and United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice.
As the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Kerry would be widely viewed as a respectable choice for Secretary of State. Throughout the 2012 campaign, Kerry served as a foreign policy surrogate for the Obama Campaign. He also spent time with Obama as a debate prep stand-in for Gov. Mitt Romney. Despite his qualifications, Kerry also hails from a state where Democrat Elizabeth Warren narrowly beat incumbent Republican Senator Scott Brown. If Kerry were to get the top State Department job, Democrats would run the risk of losing his Senate seat in a special election.
Rice is believed to be Obama’s favored choice. As the UN Ambassador, Rice has deep international contacts, but is also a risky selection. In the wake of the Benghazi attack, Rice served as a political surrogate for the President. With each passing day, more details continue to emerge about the Benghazi attack, which will only make her confirmation more difficult. As Republicans prepare to roadblock many future Obama appointments, including the head of Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Environmental Protection Agency and the Energy Department, Obama might not want to risk another prolonged confirmation.
This all sets the perfect scene for outgoing Republican Indiana Sen. Richard Lugar. For the past 30 years, Lugar has served with great distinction, until last May, when he was defeated in the Indiana Republican Primary by a Tea Party challenger.
In addition to serving as chairman on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Lugar has been a champion of missile and chemical nonproliferation. In 2005, Lugar and Obama took a trip together to Russia and the Ukraine to examine nuclear weapon facilities.
Obama has publicly admitted that Lugar has helped shape his views on foreign policy and was considered to be a candidate for Secretary of State in 2008.
That, of course, was before Hillary Clinton entered the picture and, as rumor has it, Lugar was more interested in keeping his job as a senator. Four years later, with no job and an address book full of international contacts, Richard Lugar might just be Obama’s best choice for Secretary of State.
Sean Simons has worked for four members of the United States Congress. He is a senior political science and political communication major.