”So,” I asked Big Freddy after he had settled himself in our booth “Done your Christmas shopping yet?”
“I’m with John Kerry,” Freddy said as he reached for his coffee cup.
“What’s Christmas shopping have to do with the senator?” I asked.
“We’re both victims of circumstance,” Freddy said. “I’m long past rushing to doing anything early besides getting out of bed, and he’s caught between a wish he’s had for a long time and a dilemma.”
“For Christmas?” I asked
“In a manner of speaking,” Freddy said. “It’s no secret. He had it long ago with playing second banana to our late and dearly beloved senior senator from the House of Kennedy, and then having to pick himself up and dust himself off after losing to Bush by a whisker for the presidency.
“Give the man his due. Those from both sides of the aisle have. He not only wants to be the next secretary of state, he’s been working at it, and he has both Republicans Lindsey Graham and John McCain backing him.”
“To make room for Brown after his loss to Warren,” I said.
“There’s that, but not by either Graham or McCain, or necessarily Brown,” Freddy said. “Brown’s taking it easy because he’s still young. He took his licking by Warren standing tall. There’s always tomorrow, and his sun will rise again.”
“There’s more to it for the State Department because of the bind the ambassador, Susan Rice, is in,” I said.
“The could-be successor to Hillary Clinton as secretary of state despite what she and the movers and shakers did to make a mess out of the killings of Ambassador Stevens and three staffers smack in the climax of the presidential race, and she had to take the fall,” Freddy said.
“Graham and McCain and the rest of the Republicans aren’t the only ones wanting her out of there. So are some on the other side of the aisle, but that buck should have stopped on the president’s desk.”
“Hillary saw to it that it wouldn’t by accepting State Department responsibility for the confusion over the killings,” I said.
“Which came not too late to have taken whatever edge there would have been for the Republicans to use for the election,” Freddy said.
“So much for the past, except for Kerry,” I said.
“Right,” Freddy said. “The past IS the prologue for Kerry. He’s been preparing himself to become Hillary’s successor for more than a year. Wants it bad. Doesn’t want anything else, and he’s earned it.
“Obama knows that. He also knows just how, and why, it took so long for the truth to be told about the killings, and that takes the bloom off Susan Rice’s rose.”
“Cover-up,” I said.
“That, or the old question being what did she know, and when did she know it, and what did Obama know as a consequence and when did he know it that makes it all the more headaches for everyone involved,” Freddy said.
“His win hasn’t cured all the headaches over that, and Kerry still has a big one not of his making,” I said.
“But he’s been as loyal and as patient as they come,” Freddy said. “He’s done everything he could to prepare himself. He’s well liked and appreciated by both sides of the aisle. All things considered, he still could get the job.”
“If not, it’s maybe because his Senate seat could be filled by Brown,” I said.
“Not necessarily,” Freddy said.
“Then who?” I asked. “Patrick?”
“A shoo-in if he wants it. Why not?” Freddy asked.
Bill Plante is a Newbury resident and staff columnist. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.