Secretary of State John Kerry, working diligently on some extraordinarily difficult foreign policy issues — China, neo-Soviet Russia, the Islamic State, Iran, etc. — isn’t getting even a tiny bit of credit these days from the tweedy, elbow-patched wing-chair crowd.
Foreign Policy magazine this week announced the results of its 2014 Ivory Tower survey of 1,615 international relations scholars from 1,375 U.S. colleges.
One of the questions: “Who was the most effective U.S. secretary of state of the past 50 years?
The winner? Nobel Peace Prize recipient Henry Kissinger, who was secretary for four years during the Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford administrations. Since the Vietnam thing didn’t turn out so well, the scholars must have been grading him on openings to China and the Soviet Union when he was at the National Security Council?
Kissinger got 32.21 percent, extraordinary in such a large field.
“Don’t Know” came in a relatively distant second, with 18.32 percent.
James Baker — who was actually the most effective secretary in the past 50 years — came in third at 17.71 percent, just behind Dr. Know.
Madeleine Albright and Hillary Clinton tied for fourth at 8.70 percent.
George Shultz was sixth with 5.65 percent.
Dean Rusk, who served under John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson, came in seventh at 3.51 percent.
Warren Christopher got 1.53 percent, tying Cyrus Vance for eighth place.
Colin Powell was picked by 1.07 percent for 10th place.
Condoleezza Rice got the nod from 0.46 percent, putting her in 11th place.
Lawrence Eagleburger came in 12th place with only 0.31 percent.
Then, dead last, is Kerry. He got a total of two votes of the 660 scholars who responded, tied with Eagleburger’s 0.31 percent, but the magazine lists him at 13th.
This is all truly odd. Loop Fans may recall Eagleburger was only secretary of state for six weeks, from Dec. 8, 1992, to Jan. 20, 1993. Yes, he was acting secretary for three months before that, but it’s hard to say he left a huge diplomatic footprint.
(On the other hand, we always marveled at Eagleburger’s unerring ability to keep from blowing himself up as he alternated an inhaler in his right hand and a cigarette in his left.)
Odder still, the Foreign Policy chart didn’t note that Kissinger’s predecessor — William P. Rogers, who served for four years as Nixon’s first secretary of state — got no votes at all. Ditto for Ed Muskie, who served under Jimmy Carter, and Al “I Am in Control Here” Haig, who was secretary for 18 months under Ronald Reagan.
So Kerry did better than those folks.
Well, Kerry’s been at Foggy Bottom for only a couple of years, so he’s got plenty of time to boost his standing. Nowhere to go but up with this scholarly crowd.
Rep. Aaron Schock’s (former) senior adviser, Benjamin Cole, began his week trying to quash a Washington Post story about Schock’s choice of “Downton Abbey”-inspired interior design for his congressional office.
By Thursday afternoon Cole was forced to resign over unearthed racist comments he’d posted to Facebook.
The liberal news site ThinkProgress and BuzzFeed News published a series of racially charged Facebook posts, including one from August 2010 in which Cole suggested a mosque for the White House lawn, adding that “it would be nice for the President to have his own house of worship.”
Cole, 38, began working on Capitol Hill in 2009 as press secretary for the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. He went to work for Schock (R-Ill.) — a House freshman himself in 2009 — early last year.
In a statement to his hometown newspaper, the Peoria Journal Star, Schock said: “I am extremely disappointed by the inexcusable and offensive online comments made by a member of my staff. I would expect better from any member of my team. Upon learning about them I met with Mr. Cole and he offered his resignation which I have accepted.”
In another Facebook post, from October 2013, Cole compared people in his D.C. neighborhood to animals escaped from the National Zoo. He added the hashtag “#gentrifytoday.” A few months later he said he witnessed a shooting, writing that “one of the hood rats on my street” got shot by “another hood rat.”
Cole did not respond to a request for comment. When our colleague Ed O’Keefe asked him if he was resigning, Cole texted back “yes.”
Last month, Cole described having a run-in with a “black female” on the street and filing a complaint with the police. Cole, in responding to comments on his post, wrote that he was doing “my absolute best to put as many Black Criminals who live and loiter on my street behind bars.” He also called them “black miscreants.”
Today’s lesson in social media: Your Facebook privacy isn’t private.
What do Thomas Paine, Benjamin Banneker and Frederick Douglass have in common with national peace? Efforts to erect a federal memorial in each’s honor all fell flat.
This week’s featured Congressional Research Service report, brought to you by the Loop, details ideas for Washington memorials that didn’t work out.
In the almost 29 years since a law was passed to provide a framework for new memorials on federal land, Congress authorized 33 “commemorative works.” More than half have been completed, but one-third, 11 projects, are still in progress and 12 percent, 4 projects, died, according to the CRS report:
● ●Congress authorized a National Peace Garden in 1987, and a site was picked out at Hains Point. But it never got off the ground, and Congress let its authorization lapse in 2002.
●In 1992, Congress okayed a Paine memorial. That approval expired in 2003.
●A memorial for Banneker, an African American inventor, was approved in 1998, and a location was chosen at the L’Enfant Promenade in Southwest Washington, but its authorization expired in 2005.
●Congress authorized a Frederick Douglass Memorial Garden in 2000, but never got around to approving its site location by the Douglass Memorial Bridge in Southeast Washington. The authorization ended in 2008.
There’s still hope for other lagging projects. Fans of Dwight D. Eisenhower have been waiting for his memorial since 2002.
A John Adams memorial was first approved in 2001, but at the end of the last session Congress reauthorized it until 2020.
Twitter: @KamenInTheLoop, @ColbyItkowitz