I think Kerry’s statement that his first choice for Sec Def would be McCain makes a lot of political sense. Kerry very much wants and needs to communicate that he’s not the soft-on-defense John Kerry the GOP (rightly) says he is.
What’s annoying is that this, too, constitutes another installment of the Kerry flip-floppage tale. Maybe I’m wrong, but there’s simply no way to reconcile the John Kerry of the primaries or of the 1980s and 1990s with a John Kerry who would appoint a hawk like John McCain as Secretary of Defense. I mean compare their voting records over the last few decades. They may get along well and they agreed on reconciliation with Vietnam, but they come from two entirely opposed outlooks. It’s a cheap and easy but smart ploy.