Washington, D.C.---In an uncharacteristically terse fifty-minute speech interrupted only by applause and occasional points of order, Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) bade farewell Wednesday to the legislative body in which he has served since 1985. He is to be sworn in Friday to replace former Senate colleague Hillary Rodham Clinton as the nation's secretary of state.
Kerry leaves behind a highly successful career in the U.S. Senate, whose permissive, deliberative environment and lack of time constraints were well-suited to his talent for droning on interminably. His hours-long monologues, during which he might switch positions several times before ever arriving at a point, overwhelmed adversaries and dominated debates at the expense of his shorter-winded peers. In a rare display of bipartisan unity, the Senate approved Kerry's nomination by a 94-3 vote.
The secretary of state is the highest-ranking Cabinet officer, primarily responsible for immigration policy, accepting the president's resignation, and maintaining diplomatic relations between the United States and those countries with which it is not currently at war.