The Campaign Spot

Democratic Senate Approves Obama’s Embarrass-adors

Today the U.S. Senate confirmed the nominations of two of Obama’s most embarrassing ambassadorial nominations: Noah Mamet, the nominee to be U.S. ambassador to Argentina and Colleen Bell, the nominee to be ambassador to Hungary.

Mamet, the one who admitted during his confirmation hearing that he had never been to Argentina, was confirmed 50-43; Bell, the soap-opera producer allegedly ready to represent us to a NATO member during a time of extremely tense dealings with the Russians, was confirmed 52-42.

It will not surprise you that all “yes” votes were Democrats (and “independent” Bernie Sanders of Vermont). Independent Angus King of Maine voted “no” on Bell* and “no” on Mamet. All other “no” votes were Republicans. 

Starting next month, Republicans enjoy a majority in the Senate, and these votes will go the other way. So if the Obama administration has any more embarrassing nominations, they have to ram them through now.

It’s not just the ambassadors, of course; career foreign-service officers no longer hold any of the top positions at the U.S. State Department:

The Obama administration is giving an unprecedented number of political appointees top diplomatic positions, a move that has long frustrated career Foreign Service officials but has become a renewed point of contention this week with the departure of Deputy Secretary of State Bill Burns, the only career foreign service officer in the top echelons of Foggy Bottom leadership . . .

Career officials say their wider concern is political appointees’ total takeover of all the top State Department positions, not only at the deputy level but also at the next-highest level, the undersecretary for political affairs slot, or the “P” position.

It’s an administration increasingly made up of donors, apparatchiks, and hacks. And you can see it in the results.

* This article originally listed King as a “yes” for Bell.


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