On This, McCain Is Right

What qualifications do a soap opera producer and a p.r. consultant have to be ambassadors to Hungary and Brazil Argentina, respectively? Well, listen to Josh Earnest above, and try not to laugh. (And thanks to my old intern, Jon Karl, for adding some dry humor to the White House presser.) But every president does this, don’t they? Even one who once committed himself to much higher standards. Well, it’s close:

By recent historic standards, Obama is starting to test the ceiling for putting friends and campaign supporters in U.S. diplomatic posts. Altogether, 35 percent of Obama’s assignments so far have gone to political people. But in his second term, the number has grown to 41 percent according to research by the American Foreign Service Association, the union representing career diplomats that would like more strict enforcement of a 1980 law that says campaign donations may not be considered a qualification for any foreign posting.

Even assuming the GOP Senate won’t countenance confirming many more big-money bundlers in the next two years, Obama looks to have assembled the most political diplomatic corps since Ronald Reagan, whose grand total was 38 percent. Thirty percent of George W. Bush’s ambassadors were from outside the ranks of the foreign service, as were 28 percent of Bill Clinton’s, 31 percent for the elder George Bush and 27 percent for Jimmy Carter.

McCain was rather funny the way he tackled this in the floor debate this week:

Rewarding supporters with cushy jobs in the Caribbean is something both parties do. I understand how the game is played. But here we are, a nation that is on the verge of ceding its sovereignty to a neo-fascist dictator getting in bed with Vladimir Putin and we’re going to send the producer of ‘The Bold and the Beautiful’ as the ambassador.

And the beat goes on.

(Hat tip: Taegan)