WASHINGTON, January 21, 2014 – The nomination of money bundler who thinks that Norway has a president (it is a constitutional monarchy) and that one of its ruling parties is an extremist fringe group as that country’s ambassador sounds like a setup to a political joke. In this case, the only one laughing is Anderson Cooper.
In his Ridiculist segments, Cooper pokes fun at the silly things we humans do. That includes poking fun at himself for his incessant giggling:
Now Cooper takes on the rambling, sometimes scary, responses of President Obama’s ambassadorial nominees. These include former Senator Max Baccus, who admits that he is “no expert on China,” as ambassador to China, and George Tsunis, who, in his confirmation hearing to be ambassador to Norway, identified one of Norway’s ruling parties as an extremist fringe group.
There was also a beauty pageant-quality nominee, Ms. Colleen Bradley Bell, as ambassador to Hungary. Bell, a soap-opera producer, demonstrated complete ignorance of Hungary. She will be an able representative of the United States government and the American people to the people of Hungary — as long as her responses are scripted by Jay Carney.
In the face of such astonishingly unqualified candidates, it would almost be churlish to point out that the administration’s nominee for ambassador to Argentina has never been to Argentina and doesn’t speak Spanish.
Presidents have always rewarded their biggest supporters with diplomatic posts. The recently deceased Shirley Temple Black was President Ford’s ambassador to Ghana, and later President George H. W. Bush’s ambassador to Czechoslovakia. Presidents have usually followed a 70-30 rule, 70 percent of their appointees being career foreign service officers, the other 30 percent being political supporters.
Those political appointees have usually at least had some personal connection to the countries where they’ve served, and they’ve been briefed and prepared by State Department professionals. President Obama’s nominees, on the other hand, seem mostly prepared to tour the fjords and sample goulash. Thirty-seven percent of his nominees have been political, with that number rising to 53 percent in his second term.
His failure to have his nominees spend time at the State Department to learn something about the countries where they hope to serve indicates that Obama doesn’t take the job of ambassador very seriously. Nor do his nominees. Obama has turned U.S. foreign relations and the process of selecting ambassadors into fodder for The Ridiculist, and in the process further made the U.S. into a global laughing stock.
Taking a serious turn, watch John McCain’s response to Obama’s nominations:
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