What’s the measure of secretary of State success: Miles traveled, calls made, how about crises fixed?

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No dispute that Hillary Clinton traveled a lot — to 112 countries, 956,733 miles — while she was secretary of State in the first Obama administration. She had the bloodshot eyes ringed in dark circles,  the hair harshly pulled back in a ponytail and the rumpled pantsuits to prove it. When she left the job she was celebrated as the charter member of the secretary of State million-miles travel club.

What she actually accomplished as secretary of State during a tumultuous period in world affairs will probably await her run for the democratic nomination for president in 2016, and the opposition researchers are likely slobbering at the chance to get their hands on her record.

When her successor, John Kerry, took over the airplane in 2013 and began his trips abroad, he seemed to be the anti-Hillary, doing so much more than merely racking up the miles and delivering speeches. He was toiling at shuttle diplomacy in the Middle East; he was in marathon meetings with this leader and that; he was a worker bee, a tireless negotiator. He was earning points among skeptics — who found him a tad too effete — for being the genuine article, a man who was more than his parts: the expensively tailored suits, the always perfectly cut and coiffed silver hairdo. As I followed his shuttle diplomacy between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, I wondered when he ever slept. 

But then came echoes of the John Kerry from his 2004 losing run for the presidency, the John Kerry of the absurdly expensive bicycle and cycling suit, the Brahmin windsurfing off of the incomparably exclusive Nantucket.

So after a grueling two-week trip abroad, he returned home last week and is caught by a CBS producer in Nantucket, where Kerry has a home, boarding his yacht Isabel. But meanwhile the Egyptian army is toppling a democratically elected president, putting him and his Muslim Brotherhood lieutenants under house arrest (where is Mohamed Morsi anyhow?), shooting and killing Morsi supporters; all while those supporters commit their own acts of violence. The country teeters on civil war.  

Then comes State Department denials — later retracted — that Kerry was on his yacht sailing in the Nantucket Sound.  

Damage control from the State Department followed: phone logs of the officials Kerry talked to and the times he called them. In his Politico Playbook this morning Mike Allen reruns a log obviously straight from a State Department flack:

“A LITTLE BIRD FROM THE STATE DEPT.: `On his very first trip overseas as Secretary, he went to Cairo to push the Egyptian government towards inclusiveness and reform. …. Over the days since protests began, after he had just returned from a 14 day overseas trip, his first phone call at 4 a.m. was to [U.S. Ambassador to Egypt Anne] Patterson. Kerry made nearly three dozen calls, often starting before 5 a.m., to foreign leaders throughout the weekend. He wasn't just on the phone for check-ins, he was navigating regional interests with Egyptian and regional stakeholders, including calls with Muhamed El-Baradei, Egyptian Foreign Minister Amr, Egyptian Defense Minister el Sissi, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, Qatari Foreign Minister al-Attiyah and Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal.’”

And anyway, who would begrudge Kerry a few hours off over the Fourth of July holiday when he was probably communicating on the phone or the keyboard while catching some sea breezes. 

The real test is not miles flown and or telephone calls made, but international crises solved. There are enough of those in this unsettling, boiling summer of 2013 to fill quite a long log.