Sunday, March 11, 2007


Get over it, Senator.

The country long ago moved beyond John Kerry's Presidential ambitions, but the Senator, as he seems never to tire of reminding us, has not. Now Mr. Kerry's throbbing grievances jeopardize President Bush's nominee for U.S. Ambassador to Belgium.

Late last month Sam Fox, a 77-year-old St. Louis businessman, sat before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for a confirmation hearing widely expected to be uncontroversial. But in the 2004 campaign, Mr. Fox gave $50,000 to the Kerry opposition group Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.

After some desultory questioning about "the image of America in Europe," Mr. Kerry solicited Mr. Fox's opinions as to "the politics of personal destruction"--to which Mr. Fox replied, "Senator, you're a hero." Not good enough. Mr. Kerry launched into a harangue about 527 committees (the Swift Boaters were one of those) and other affronts to his station in life, none of which were germane to Mr. Fox's qualifications to serve.

Mr. Kerry: "Do you think this should matter to me?" Mr. Fox: "I'm sorry?" Mr. Kerry: "Do you think this should matter to me?" Mr. Fox: "Yes, I do, I do." Mr. Kerry: "Do you think it should matter to everybody here, as a Senator?"

Mr. Fox, a major donor to Republican campaigns, says he gives generously to a variety of causes, most of them philanthropic, and doesn't recall the reasoning behind his Swift Boat donation. We can assume it was to defeat Mr. Kerry, though Mr. Fox also pointed out, sensibly enough, that 527s are creatures of contemporary politics: "That's the world we live in."

That's an insight Mr. Kerry's Democratic colleagues, who in solidarity may block Mr. Fox's appointment in a vote next week, would do well to remember. The Democrats are not without their own free-range advocacy groups, such as Before they build the gallows, they might consider what will constitute a hanging offense when the political composition of the government shifts.

The Senate confirmation process is already congested by Democratic intransigence, from Bush appellate judges to U.N. ambassadors. But at least these conflicts came with some veneer of substantive objection, not merely the desire for political retribution.

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