The Kerry boomlet adds another level of intrigue to the uproar surrounding Ms. Rice and has real implications for the balance of power on Capitol Hill. If Mr. Kerry were nominated and confirmed, it could open the door to a return via special election of Senator Scott Brown of Massachusetts, who was defeated this month by Elizabeth Warren. A Brown victory — which is far from certain — could cut the Democratic margin by one and restore to office a man who was popular with his Republican colleagues.
Mr. Brown met such talk with the frosty retort of a man recently beaten, and perhaps none too excited to endure a third election in three years in a state where his prospects will always remain uphill.
“There’s no opening,” he said as he made his way down an escalator on Thursday. “There’s an opening for a dad right now, and I’m going to do that. I don’t deal in hypotheticals.”
But that has not stopped his colleagues from throwing his hat into the hypothetical ring. “Yes, he should run again!” said Senator-elect Jeff Flake of Arizona, flashing a smile. “I’m not saying that’s why I would support John Kerry’s nomination, but we always want more Republicans around here.” Ms. Murkowski said she, too, would like to see Mr. Brown run again. Ms. Collins campaigned heavily for Mr. Brown in his failed re-election bid, and was crushed by his loss.
I’m not at all upset Rice removed herself from contention, but knowing that her withdrawal was mostly due to manufactured poutrage by opportunistic wingnuts looking to put Scotty Staple-Crotch back in the Senate kinda sorta sours things.