Mr. Kerry attended the morning caucus in the Old Senate Chamber where his fellow Democrats selected the new minority leadership, in which he has no formal role, and got a warm reception and multiple ovations....Nicely observed details. Broccoli and green beans, eh? Sounds so sad and grim. New Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada said this of the Senator who retreated for a solitary lunch in his cubbyhole:
But Mr. Kerry skipped the weekly Democratic caucus lunch of chicken, salmon and salad in a meeting room off the Senate floor in favor of takeout shrimp, broccoli and green beans with a side of rice, ferried from Hunan Dynasty on Pennsylvania Avenue by his trusty assistant, Marvin Nicholson, to his cubbyhole up a winding stairway above the Little Rotunda in the Capitol's Senate wing.
"Senator Kerry is not a shrinking violet," Mr. Reid said. "We are looking for John Kerry to find what he wants to do.''The news story continues:
In a parliamentary system, Mr. Kerry himself would loom as a likely leader of the opposition, but Mr. Reid already had that job locked up before Mr. Kerry could even really decide whether he might be interested. Mr. Kerry has won praise from his fellow Democrats for running a strong race, but the Senate is now as full of potential rivals as it is his supporters, especially should he decide to run for president again in four years.I wonder what the climate in the Senate really is for Kerry right now. Sounds chilly. The Times article doesn't mention it, but Kerry has $45 million left over from his campaign, giving him a big headstart over anyone else who may want to run in 2008. One can imagine Hillary Clinton having an easy time raising a lot of money, but what about everyone else? I would not be surprised if his Senate Democratic colleagues, already struggling to make a show for themselves from the minority position, want to block him from finding a shining new role for himself in the Senate.
UPDATE: The $45 million number is from mid-October. The estimate is that the final number Kerry will report having left over is $15 to 16 million. And note note that he seems to be on the receiving end of a lot of bullying about it:
Democratic Party leaders said Wednesday they want to know why Sen. John Kerry ended his presidential campaign with more than $15 million in the bank, money that could have helped Democratic candidates across the country.
Some said he will be pressured to give the money to Democratic campaign committees rather than save it for a potential White House bid in 2008.
"Democrats are questioning why he sat on so much money that could have helped him defeat George Bush or helped down-ballot races, many of which could have gone our way with a few more million dollars," said Donna Brazile, campaign manager for Al Gore's 2000 presidential race.