Even amid the polarization in Congress, there should be little controversy over President Obama's nomination of Sen. John Kerry as secretary of state.

Mr. Kerry, a Massachusetts Democrat who was the party's presidential nominee in 2004, has been a member of the Senate Foreign Relations committee for more than 25 years and its chairman for the last six years.

In that role he has engaged directly in diplomacy during the Bush and Obama presidencies. He played major roles in convincing Afghan President Hamid Karzai to agree to a run-off election in 2009, and in stabilizing relations with Pakistan after the 2011 raid that killed Osama bin Laden.

Mr. Kerry also has been something of a domestic diplomat, working across the aisle with Republicans even after his honorable war service was mischaracterized during the 2004 campaign.

He has been involved in just about every major policy matter that the next secretary of state will face, from nuclear proliferation to climate change.

Based on experience, qualifications and strong relationships with Republican senators, Mr. Kerry should have an easy path to confirmation.