To be fair though, when assessing the potential quality of a presidential candidate, you kinda can't judge based on their previous work as president. You can, however, look at their actions and interactions, policy decisions, pull and sway (or lack thereof), and any of a number of other things from past jobs they have held, especially those at a high level in government service. It's somewhat of a cop out to just declare her record as SoS irrelevant because she had a boss higher than her in the chain.
So, we can only attack Sec. Kerry if he is running for president?
You're brain literally works backwards. Of course we *can* attack Sec. Kerry whether he's running for president or not. The question isn't when we can attack someone for their record. The question is whether you attack someone for their past record when they are running for president. The answer is: yes.
You start with a politician running for office. You then look through their past and see if there's some part of their record that might negatively (or positively if you're trying to support their run). Then you talk about that thing. Your argument is like saying that just because NASA pays more attention to the weather over the Cape in the 24 hours prior to a launch that no one's allowed to talk about weather any other time. Um... No. They just care about it more when they're trying to launch a rocket.
In the same way, we care more about a politicians past record when they're running for a new (especially higher) office. I mean, we could randomly at any point in time bring up any of a number of mistakes or unintended consequences of any of a very very large number of elected and appointed people's actions, but then we'd be spending a hundred hours every day talking about stuff. Sometimes, you pick the right time to bring something up. And the right time, in this case, is when that person is asking to hold a high public office.
As long as he's not running for president, then it's president Obama's and Sec. Clinton's fault?
Again, not getting it. When someone is running for office is when you look at their past decisions. That other people, who are not currently running for office may also have been involved in those decisions, or even made worse ones, isn't the point.
I'm sorry, but you lose all credibility with that line of thinking.
Tell that to the entire field of political pundits then. It's not like this is some new or strange thing or anything. Why attack someone's record who *isn't* running? That seems like a waste of effort during an election cycle.