John Kerry’s New Gig: Yale’s Loss Is Harvard’s Gain

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In the never-ending battle to decide which one is less horrendous, Harvard caught a break late this week when Yale made an unforced error and hired John Kerry to some mumbo-jumbo new role.

Yale announced that Kerry, a former Massachusetts lieutenant governor, will be the school’s “first-ever Distinguished Fellow for Global Affairs.”

Two thoughts come to mind.

First: How has Yale gone this long without one of these?

Second, what makes this one “distinguished”?

He wasn’t, for instance, the worst Secretary of State in the history of the country. That honor goes to his predecessor, Hillary Clinton.

The “Kerry Initiative,” as Yale is calling it, is supposed to be “an interdisciplinary program that will tackle pressing global challenges through teaching, research, and international dialogue.”

What, no wind surfing?

How about hunting?

“Kerry Initiative” seems like it needs a truth-in-advertising makeover, because it implies that Kerry has some.

To give you an idea of Kerry’s turn-over-no-stone approach, Massachusetts once had two United States senators who were so entrenched they couldn’t have been beaten if they’d shot someone on Boylston Street. Nevertheless, one of them hired staffers who responded to constituents’ concerns and returned reporters’ telephone calls. The other one didn’t.

That other one was John Kerry.

So how can students benefit from this new thing?

Yale explains: “the Kerry Initiative will advance Yale’s long tradition of preparing the next generation of world leaders.”

Would that be leaders like John C. Calhoun?

As it always has been in John Kerry’s career, this new job is apparently about who you know, not what you know.

According to Yale, Kerry is supposed to “leverage insights, experiences, and relationships on a global scale to oversee the Kerry Initiative, collaborating with students and faculty from across the university and deepening the Yale experience to have greater interaction with the world beyond campus.”

For this “deepening,” will Kerry be using a plastic beach shovel?

Perhaps he can teach the kids how to vote for the $87 billion before voting against it.

Hey, Mr. Yale President, quick question:  Instead of classes or seminars or lectures, can John Kerry conduct this program through cocktail parties?

One portion of the Yale press release sounds like a course catalogue description:

“Through the initiative, Kerry will partner with scholars from across Yale, applying their shared expertise to questions of global importance: failed and failing states and the challenge of authoritarian populism; rising sectarianism and violent extremism; climate change and other environmental threats; and capacity building, global economic opportunity, and development. Drawing on experience from his long and distinguished career, Kerry will convene and lead conversations among global stakeholders, both in New Haven and overseas, to develop new approaches to solving these crucial challenges.”

The key words here are “failed” and “failing.”

Our guess:  No approaches will be developed, no solutions will be found.

It’s even money on whether John Kerry will even show up.

And yet …

At age 73, Kerry still craves two things:  a Nobel Peace Prize; and the presidency of the United States.

The first thing can probably be arranged. The second is more elusive. But you never know.

So how about it, Democrats? You’re looking for a bright young face for 2020, some man of the people with universal appeal and the common touch who can counteract the tycoon in the White House.

What do you say, might John Kerry be your man?

Would that it were, would that it were.