Having secured re-election to the Senate before the campaign even began — sadly, he never had to publicly acknowledge the existence of Mark Clayton — he has had plenty of time to think ahead. And as Lind points out, he has become a leading voice on foreign policy in the GOP and is now expected to succeed Sen. Dick Lugar as the leading Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee.
From Lind's Weekly Obsession, after the jump:
For a fairly wonkish moderate who has been more interested in the nuts-and-bolts of fiscal policy than the dance-and-thrust of foreign policy, the ascendancy seems out of character.
Unless, of course, he wants public validation of his foreign policy chops because he has even higher aspirations.
Corker makes no bones about his initial discomfort with being a legislator. A businessman who became mayor of Chattanooga, Corker is far more at ease in an executive role where he can direct the action. The horse-trading, logrolling and back-scratching necessary to move the needle in the Senate are not among Corker’s favorite activities.
After Mitt Romney’s defeat, the Republican Party is a vacuum, and the sprint to fill it before 2016 will start soon. Vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan is sure to eye a run at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., as are the dozens of Republican governors — Chris Christie of New Jersey and Louisiana’s Bobby Jindal, for example. And have no doubt, the Senate is chockablock with big egos who will want to make their case for the presidency.
So Corker needs to stand out. If he adds foreign policy to his résumé, he can check another box on the presidential qualification quiz.
As if on cue, Corker stood out earlier this week, blasting U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice and pushing back strongly against talk of her as the next secretary of state.
“Our intelligence officials in Libya, in real time while the event was taking place, were letting our folks know back here this was a terrorist attack,” added Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), who is expected to succeed outgoing Sen. Dick Lugar as the top Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee.
“It is beyond me that [Rice] would be out publicly talking about that event [as something sparked by a spontaneous demonstration]. It’s beyond belief.”
The 2016 cycle may seem far off — polls in Tennessee close 1,455 days and just under nine hours from now — but if the season that just ended is any indication, expect the campaigning to start in about half that time. With foreign policy issues at the forefront, and another fiscal debate getting under way, Corker certainly won't be in the background.