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The Hiller Instinct

Kerry's Confirmation Hearing

It hit me while Hillary Clinton was hugging John Kerry: fate isn't fair, and Kerry's political fate is to always be in someone else's shadow. Whatever he does, and however well he does it, he'll be compared to her, and since she was a rock star secretary of state, the comparisons could get ugly.

Perhaps unintentionally, Massachusetts' newest senator pointed to the longest shadow that ever covered Kerry--the shadow of Senator Ted Kennedy:

" I think one day," Sen Elizabeth Warren said, "historians will judge his senate years in terms of his impact on foreign policy, much the same way so many recognize Sen. Ted Kennedy's impact on domestic policy."

Warren certainly meant well...but the truth is, Kerry spent decades in Kennedy's shadow when they were both in the Senate. So it wasn't just seniority that made Kerry the state's junior senator.

And Kerry is obviously well aware of that:

"If her testimony has an effect today," Kerry said, "and helps win votes for my confirmation, she will become the senior senator of our state in a record few legislative days. I spent 29 years!"

But the biggest shadow Kerry will be in now is President Obama's, who originally wanted U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice to be Secretary of State--until controversy following the attack in Benghazi, Libya, forced her to withdraw.

How will Kerry forget he was the president's second choice? While Kerry was the one who put Obama on the path to the White House by giving him a key speaking spot at the 2004 Democratic National Convention.

I always thought Kerry wanted to be president, but if Secretary of State brings him the respect he craves, then this will be the job of his life.