Leffingwell is the best revenge

In Allen Drury’s Advise and Consent, the president’s left-wing nominee for Secretary of State has a secret. As a young man — echoes of the Hiss case — he was a member of a Communist cell.

Leffingwell’s Communist past is a secret that must be covered up. Complications ensue, giving life to a Washington novel that is one of our favorites. Novelist Thomas Mallon renders his considered literary judgment in his fiftieth anniversary tribute to the novel.

Times have changed, of course. With President Obama’s nomination of John Kerry as Secretary of State, what were once vices are now habits and hardly worthy of mention in polite company, as in this Boston Globe backgrounder.

Kerry seems to have been wrong on pretty much every foreign policy issue he has addressed in the course of a long public career, stretching back to 1971. As an undergraduate, I saw him in person at the time peddling the vicious lies that turned him into a celebrity. I believed him because I was credulous and sophomoric, but what excuse does he have?

Like Leffingwell, Kerry has been worse than mistaken. But it’s no secret. It’s out there in the open, and the guy nevertheless came within a hair of being elected president in 2004. John Perazzo concisely reviews the public record of the man Obama saluted as “the perfect choice” to be his Secretary of State:

The historical record informs us that not only has John Kerry been on the wrong side of every major foreign policy issue for most of his adult life, including Iraq, Nicaragua and most recently in Syria, but he has routinely engaged in deception to conceal his folly. What’s worse, Kerry has a clear record of giving aid and comfort to America’s enemies, all the while never missing an opportunity to viciously trash our brave forces fighting against them.

“With Obama’s nomination of Kerry to head the State Department, therefore, a look back at Kerry’s ‘service’ to this country becomes more pertinent than ever[,]” Perazzo writes. History must be told and Perazzo remembers.

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