Is John Kerry—failed presidential candidate, secretary of state runner-up, and possible yacht tax scofflaw—the only politician with the clout and credibility to end the war Afghanistan? That's what John Heilemann suggests in this week's New York Magazine, calling the Massachusetts senator "arguably the most important Democrat in the upper chamber" and "certainly [the Senate's] most influential voice on two of the most pressing issues of the moment: energy/climate change and the war in Afghanistan." Kerry, it seems, is more than a mere mortal politician—he's the "conscience"of the U.S. Senate.

On Afghanistan in particular, Heilemann writes, "what we need is a fundamental change of course—and Kerry, more than anyone on the Hill, now has the stature to help get us there." Heilemann concludes that when it came to Kerry's climate-change legislation (since stalled), "Kerry seems to have asked himself, What would Teddy do? And then followed suit. He should ask himself the same about Afghanistan. The question answers itself."