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Call of duty: Make Dukakis secretary of state

(Note: Click here to sign the petition to make Michael Dukakis the secretary of state, and please spread the word via social media!)

To hear the mainstream media tell it, President Obama has only two choices when it comes to replacing Hillary Clinton as secretary of state: Susan Rice, the controversial UN ambassador, or Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, the 2004 Democratic Party presidential nominee.

Before we go any further, it should be mentioned that Clinton has only hinted she will be stepping down at the end of Obama’s first term; she has not made it official. In fact, she gave a slight indication in late October that she may want to stay on the job.

But assuming she does leave, who will succeed her? Republican opposition to Rice and Obama’s in-your-face defense of her in mid-November (“When they go after the UN ambassador … they’ve got a problem with me”) make for a juicy story. But isn’t the State Department supposed to be about diplomacy, not juiciness?

Indeed it is, and that means choosing a secretary of state who can transcend the Washington infighting and bring a larger-than-life presence to the international stage. The next secretary of state should be someone who understands that it takes more than just tough talk and tanks to win hearts and minds.

That person is Michael Stanley Dukakis, the 1988 Democratic Party presidential nominee.

While Rice and Kerry both would be capable diplomats, the media’s lack of imagination in suggesting alternatives to the pair has been staggering. Allvoices writer Paul Jesep is an exception to that rule; bucking the trend, he suggests that outgoing Indiana Sen. Richard Lugar take over for Clinton. It’s worth considering, but Lugar just doesn’t have the gravitas of Dukakis, and America needs a secretary of state who will command respect from the outset.

A gutsy, gritty go-getter, Dukakis is just the kind of diplomatic dynamo who could change the course of history for the better with his magical blend of street-smart toughness and refined Bostonian wisdom.

No mere up-and-comer, Dukakis has attained legendary status in the hearts of many Americans, alongside other great American politicians who never served as president but served the country with valor and distinction: Benjamin Franklin, Henry Clay, Adlai Stevenson, Robert Kennedy, Shirley Chisholm and even Hillary Clinton herself.

And yet, although America blew its chance to elect Dukakis president a quarter-century ago, a Dukakis-inspired “Era of Good Feelings” is still within the realm of possibility. All it would take is for Obama to find the courage to think outside the box and see the obvious: Dukakis is, to this day, a man of destiny, and he can carry the US diplomatic corps on his powerful shoulders when it comes to spreading the message of peace, justice and democracy.

Readers, this may be the most important moment of your lives. This could be the difference between the same old ho-hum back-and-forth and a golden era for world peace unlike any seen in the annals of recorded history. Please take a moment to go to this change.org petition and join Punditty in asking the president to nominate Michael Dukakis as the next secretary of state.

Michael Dukakis, your nation needs you. We look forward to seeing you on the international stage once more. In anticipation of your triumphant return, the Punditty Project invites readers to relive the magic with Neil Diamond, who no doubt would have performed at Dukakis’ inaugural ball if only he had won. Dukakis used Diamond’s song “America” throughout his ill-fated campaign. Let's make it the theme song for a new era of American exceptionalism in service to the cause of freedom!

Sources & Resources

Petition: Dear President Obama: Make Michael Dukakis the next secretary of state

Michael Dukakis faculty page at Northeastern University

Michael Dukakis 1988 campaign commercial

Michael Dukakis Wikipedia page

Blunt-speaking Michael Dukakis hits Mitt Romney, Elizabeth Warren and Ray Flynn in one speech, Sept. 5, 2012, boston.com

In final days of the campaign, Dukakis, 79, knocks on doors for Democrats, Nov. 5, 2012, New York Times

Some senators may want Kerry for secretary of state, Nov. 30, 2012, USA Today

Michael Dukakis – the greatest president in US history, Punditty on Allvoices, June 13, 2012

Richardson's abrupt exit opens the door for Dukakis to lead Commerce, Punditty on Allvoices, Jan. 5, 2009