Video: Stewart shreds Obama’s donor picks for ambassadorships

posted at 5:21 pm on February 13, 2014 by Erika Johnsen

As Jay Carney so eloquently put it during yesterday’s press briefing in regards to the several well-heeled Democratic donors the president has lately picked out for ambassadorship positions, “being a donor does not get you a job in this administration, nor does it preclude you from getting one.” …Yes, we’d noticed, but as Jon Stewart put it on his show last night, “is there a rule ambassadors can’t have set foot in the countries they are going to ambassador?”

Historically, there is a pretty rich tradition of presidents picking well-connected and well-monied friends and donors who fancy a career change for the most glamorous ambassadorships, and indeed, for a while at least, it wasn’t necessarily the worst system ever created. The idea was that certain countries might actually prefer someone who has the president’s direct ear rather than a career diplomat — but does President Obama really even know these guys in a useful way? The record fundraising level of his reelection campaign created quite the jockeying for position among his many mega-donors, and it definitely looks like the system has gotten more shady and transactional than ever under his leadership. By a long shot.

Addendum: Seriously, the whole thing is just getting painful. Go read this facepalm-worthy piece from Jeffrey Goldberg over at Bloomberg, but here’s an excerpt, emphases mine:

…I suspect that McCain decided to meet the press in Budapest mainly so that the delegation would be asked questions about a woman named Colleen Bell.

Who is Colleen Bell? Bell is a soap opera producer — “The Bold and the Beautiful” is her masterwork — who was nominated by Barack Obama’s administration to serve as U.S. ambassador to Hungary. Bell, one of Obama’s larger fundraising “bundlers,” bought this nomination with more than $500,000 of mostly other people’s money.

At her confirmation hearing last month, McCain asked Bell an exceedingly simple question: “What are our strategic interests in Hungary?”

She gave the following imperishable answer: “Well, we have our strategic interests, in terms of what are our key priorities in Hungary, I think our key priorities are to improve upon, as I mentioned, the security relationship and also the law enforcement and to promote business opportunities, increase trade– ”

McCain interrupted her: “I’d like to ask again what our strategic interests in Hungary are.”


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Change!

Good Lt on February 13, 2014 at 5:30 PM

The adults are in charge.

Lanceman on February 13, 2014 at 5:30 PM

Just shows how worthless the positions actually are. Looks like one area that could be defunded immediately.

airupthere on February 13, 2014 at 5:30 PM

The adults are in charge.

Lanceman on February 13, 2014 at 5:30 PM

…where?

KOOLAID2 on February 13, 2014 at 5:31 PM

This smacks of monarchy.

Charlemagne on February 13, 2014 at 5:31 PM

and it definitely looks like the system has gotten more shady and transactional than ever under his leadership.

The deuce you say!

rbj on February 13, 2014 at 5:31 PM

Just shows how worthless the positions actually are. Looks like one area that could be defunded immediately.

airupthere on February 13, 2014 at 5:30 PM

In this internet age, is there ANY reason to have ambassadors? I understand having embassies, but they can be run by anyone, maybe make it military run….

ledbylight on February 13, 2014 at 5:34 PM

I honestly don’t understand why this site has to jump up and down and squeal every time O-bot Stewart gets one right. He always goes for the low-hanging fruit, the corruption that is just so blatant even a democrat hack like Stewart can see it. And then he goes right back to smearing conservatives – until the next time his hero’s corruption becomes too challenging to gloss over. Stewart can go to hell. He owns those lousy ambassador appointments and every other bit of corruption from the clown he helped elect.

Rational Thought on February 13, 2014 at 5:37 PM

Yuppers!
———

Top Bundlers are already Locked in for 2012 Employment!!

Lets ReVisit!!
————–

Remember,Bundlers form 2008,are already going to get employment in 2012!!
——–—-

27 Obama bundlers have already topped $500,000
Updated: 8:49 am, July 28, 2011
*******************************

More than 40 bundlers from 2008 who received government appointments after Obama’s election have returned as major fundraisers.

iWatch News reported in June how many bundlers from the 2008 campaign had jobs or commission spots from the administration.

In total, 43 bundlers from 2008 later received government appointments and have returned as bundlers for 2012.

Of those, five were listed as giving $500,000 or more so far in 2012. They are:
===============

John Emerson, of Beverly Hills, who was appointed to the Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations, raised at least $100,000 in 2008.

Michael Kempner, Cresskill, N.J., was named to the Council for Community Solutions. He bundled $100,000 for the 2008 campaign.

Kirk Rudy, of Austin, Texas, was appointed to the United States Holocaust Memorial Council. He raised at least $200,000 for 2008.

Andy Spahn, a $50,000 bundler in 2008 who was appointed to the President’s Commission on Arts and Humanities, has raised more than $500,000 so far for 2012.

Jane Stetson, of Norwich, Vt., a $200,000 bundler in 2008, also has reached the $500,000 milestone for 2012.

She is a chair of the Democratic National Committee and her husband was appointed to the board of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
More……….)
=========

http://www.iwatchnews.org/2011/07/15/5241/27-obama-bundlers-have-already-topped-500000

canopfor on September 26, 2011 at 6:51 PM

canopfor on February 13, 2014 at 5:37 PM

Obama rewards big bundlers with jobs, commissions, stimulus money, government contracts, and more……

2:00 am, June 15, 2011
Updated: 5:09 pm, March 8, 2012
********************************

These “bundlers” raised at least $50,000 and sometimes more than $500,000 in campaign donations for Obama’s campaign. Many of those in the “Class of 2008” are now being asked to bundle contributions for Obama’s re-election, an effort that could cost $1 billion.

As a candidate, Obama spoke passionately about diminishing the clout of moneyed interests and making the White House more accessible to everyday Americans. In kicking off his presidential run on Feb. 10, 2007, he blasted “the cynics, the lobbyists, the special interests,” who he said had “turned our government into a game only they can afford to play.”

The iWatch News investigation found:
************************************

• Overall, 184 of 556, or about one-third, of Obama bundlers or their spouses joined the administration in some role. But the percentages are much higher for the big-dollar bundlers. Nearly 80 percent of those who collected more than $500,000 for Obama took “key administration posts,” as defined by the White House. More than half the ambassador nominees who were bundlers raised more than half a million.

• The big bundlers had broad access to the White House for meetings with top administration officials and glitzy social events. In all, campaign bundlers and their family members account for more than 3,000 White House meetings and visits. Half of them raised $200,000 or more.

• Some Obama bundlers have ties to companies that stand to gain financially from the president’s policy agenda, particularly in clean energy and telecommunications, and some already have done so. Level 3 Communications, for instance, snared $13.8 million in stimulus money. At least 18 other bundlers have ties to businesses poised to profit from government spending to promote clean energy, telecommunications and other key administration priorities.

Some bundlers trade on their campaign largesse for Obama to further career aspirations or business plans. Others, already successful, simply enjoy the exclusive stature bestowed by ties to the White House. Lena L. Kennedy, for instance, papers her Southern California consulting website with photographs of herself with Obama. She put out a press release announcing a June 13 fundraiser featuring Michelle Obama in Los Angeles; ticket prices ran from $1,000 to $10,000, the latter “allowing a photo opportunity and private time with the First Lady.” She declined to comment for this article.

“Some people just crave attention and some people just like getting the notoriety or attention of being a big player,” said Thomas M. McInerney, a San Francisco lawyer who bundled at least $100,000 for Obama. He said he didn’t ask for or get anything in return, though he knew others who did. “There was so much money this time, and there were so many people involved in raising the money, the number of people looking for something was exponentially more.”
Rewarding the donors

While the Obama administration tightened restrictions on hiring lobbyists, the deference it has shown major donors contradicts its claims to have changed business as usual in Washington, critics said.

Others said Obama strains credulity in claiming to bring reform to Washington while carrying on the patronage practices of past administrations. They added that many big donors aren’t shy about asking for specific favors, which gives candidates of both parties little choice but to keep patronage alive.(More…)
===================================================

http://www.publicintegrity.org/2011/06/15/4880/obama-rewards-big-bundlers-jobs-commissions-stimulus-money-government-contracts-and

canopfor on May 6, 2013 at 10:01 PM

canopfor on February 13, 2014 at 5:38 PM

Obama ‘bundlers’ hauled in more than $33 million last quarter
President’s friends have raised at least $106 million so far
By Aaron Mehtaemail
7:47 pm, April 20, 2012 Updated: 9:44 pm, April 20, 2012
********************************************************

President Barack Obama’s campaign raised $33.6 million last quarter from “bundlers,” supporters of the president who collect checks from friends, family and associates and deliver them to the campaign, according to a list released by the campaign Friday night.

A total of 90 new bundlers appeared on the list, bringing the total to 532 and the total amount of contributions to $106 million.
(More…..)

http://www.publicintegrity.org/2012/04/20/8711/obama-bundlers-hauled-more-33-million-last-quarter
===================================

The Looters,er,names:

Obama for America and Obama Victory Fund
2012 Volunteer Fundraisers
**************************

Amount Raised: $50,000-$100,000

http://www.barackobama.com/2012-first-quarter-volunteer-fundraisers

canopfor on July 16, 2013 at 3:53 PM

canopfor on February 13, 2014 at 5:38 PM

This smacks of monarchy.

Charlemagne on February 13, 2014 at 5:31 PM

and decadence

rob verdi on February 13, 2014 at 5:39 PM

This smacks of monarchy.

Charlemagne on February 13, 2014 at 5:31 PM

and decadence

rob verdi on February 13, 2014 at 5:39 PM

rob verdi: And Corruption:0

canopfor on February 13, 2014 at 5:39 PM

At her confirmation hearing last month, McCain asked Bell an exceedingly simple question: “What are our strategic interests in Hungary?”

She gave the following imperishable answer: “Well, we have our strategic interests, in terms of what are our key priorities in Hungary, I think our key priorities are to improve upon, as I mentioned, the security relationship and also the law enforcement and to promote business opportunities, increase trade– ”

When I read that I couldn’t help but recall Caitlin Upton- the 2007 Miss South Carolina Teen:


“Recent polls have shown a fifth of Americans can’t locate the U.S. on a world map. Why do you think this is?”

I personally believe that U.S. Americans are unable to do so because, uh, some, uh, people out there in our nation don’t have maps and, uh, I believe that our education like such as in South Africa and, uh, the Iraq, everywhere like such as, and, I believe that they should, our education over here in the U.S. should help the U.S., uh, or, uh, should help South Africa and should help the Iraq and the Asian countries, so we will be able to build up our future [for our children].

Happy Nomad on February 13, 2014 at 5:39 PM

I caught the show last night, and smirked,
and pondered, as this has been ongoing since
2009!!

The more you raise,..the better job you will get,
and the most maddening part,..”QUALIFIED OR NOT”!!

canopfor on February 13, 2014 at 5:43 PM

Which donor is being sent to Libya?

gwelf on February 13, 2014 at 5:46 PM

http://forums.hannity.com/showthread.php?2447155-Comcast-Time-Warner-Money-And-Obama

I can not become more disgusted with this administration. I am at the lowest point possible. Would it be wrong to show distaste for anyone, ANYONE who voted for this monster?

rottenrobbie on February 13, 2014 at 5:47 PM

When I read that I couldn’t help but recall Caitlin Upton- the 2007 Miss South Carolina Teen:

“I personally believe that U.S. Americans are unable to do so because, uh, some, uh, people out there in our nation don’t have maps and, uh,
…”

That’s true. My neighbor didn’t have a map, so I gave him my map, and now I don’t have one. — Jimmy Kimmel

SailorMark on February 13, 2014 at 5:47 PM

In this internet age, is there ANY reason to have ambassadors?

ledbylight on February 13, 2014 at 5:34 PM

Yes there is. But they’ve got to be individuals with credibility not political rewards for bundlers. You can’t credibly represent the United States in Oslo if you call a part of the ruling coalition a hate group. You can’t credibly represent the United States in Argentina when you’ve never been there and know nothing about that country. You can’t credibly represent the United States in any nation if you can’t articulate the US national interest vis-a-vis that nation.

These people are frauds.

Happy Nomad on February 13, 2014 at 5:47 PM

If you expect these Democrat politicians and political appointees to actually exhibit some level of competency you destroy the entire Democrat governing model. Competency is for staff, particularly lower level staff. In Democrat politics, staff compensation is directly proportional to fundraising ability or political clout and usually inversely proportional to competency. But any Democrat office staff is going to be top heavy with incompetent but politically useful tools usually doing political work on government time (or doing nothing), with just enough marginally competent people around to create the appearance that the work is being done.

novaculus on February 13, 2014 at 5:48 PM

…but does President Obama really even know these guys in a useful way?

What difference – at this point, what difference does it make?

Flora Duh on February 13, 2014 at 5:52 PM

Rational Thought on February 13, 2014 at 5:37 PM

I agree. I loathe him and hate people who suddenly think they might be part of a cool crowd if Stewart acknowledges them. I’m thinking Bill OReilly.

Marcus on February 13, 2014 at 5:55 PM

Happy Nomad on February 13, 2014 at 5:39 PM

DAM!!!! You beat me to it. I was just going to post that quote.

For the record – Miss Teen South Carolina would be at the top of the intelligence scale as an 0bumble nominee…

dentarthurdent on February 13, 2014 at 5:55 PM

Was Colleen Bell ever a Miss Teen USA contestant?

dentarthurdent on February 13, 2014 at 5:56 PM

Which donor is being sent to Libya?

gwelf on February 13, 2014 at 5:46 PM

Don’t be silly gwelf.

You don’t bundled hundreds of thousands of dollars to Obama to get to Lybia. That is what career diplomats are for. You give to Obama to get to Paris, London, Tokyo, and all the other cool (read industrialized) countries.

When I was in Slovenia this summer I happened to see the (career) US Ambassador was giving a media interview. It was all you could have wanted. Full of praise for Slovenians and emphasizing our common interests. You don’t get that with somebody whose only qualifcations is that they managed to raise money for the filthy animal in the White House.

Happy Nomad on February 13, 2014 at 5:57 PM

Which donor is being sent to Libya?

gwelf on February 13, 2014 at 5:46 PM

This time around, that position will go to a Romney donor.

dentarthurdent on February 13, 2014 at 5:58 PM

Guessing there are no Obama Bundler Buddies asking to be the ambassador to Libya….

albill on February 13, 2014 at 5:59 PM

I always thought Arianna Huffington or one of the other Gabor sisters would make perfect ambassadors to Hungary.

slickwillie2001 on February 13, 2014 at 6:00 PM

DAM!!!! You beat me to it. I was just going to post that quote.

For the record – Miss Teen South Carolina would be at the top of the intelligence scale as an 0bumble nominee…

dentarthurdent on February 13, 2014 at 5:55 PM

You snooze, you lose!

But yes, Miss Teen South Carolina (who has youth as an excuse) is far more qualified and intelligent than our future ambassador to Hungary whose only qualification giving Obama money.

Happy Nomad on February 13, 2014 at 6:01 PM

Frankly, I’d like to see more of Obama’s supporters shipped to posts overseas!

xNavigator on February 13, 2014 at 6:01 PM

You can’t credibly represent the United States in any nation if you can’t articulate the US national interest vis-a-vis that nation.
These people are frauds.

Happy Nomad on February 13, 2014 at 5:47 PM

Remember this from the Max Baucus for China thread?

Really? All of Bush’s appointments to the China post were political rather than career professional.
lexhamfox on January 28, 2014 at 1:45 PM

Really? Bush appointed ONE guy, Clark Randt, as Ambassador to China, and he stayed there for Bush’s entire 2 terms.
And you think this background is purely political:
From 1968 to 1972, Randt served in the United States Air Force Security Service, and in 1974 he was the China representative of the National Council for United States-China Trade.
Randt was a resident of Beijing from 1982 through 1984 where he served as First Secretary and Commercial Attache at the U.S. Embassy. He then lived in Hong Kong for 18 years, most recently as a partner with the international law firm of Shearman & Sterling where he headed the firm’s China practice. Randt was Governor and First Vice President of the American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong. He is a member of the New York and Hong Kong bars and is a recognized expert on Chinese law. He is fluent in Mandarin Chinese.
Randt was nominated U.S. Ambassador to China by President George W. Bush on April 30, 2001 and confirmed by the U.S. Senate on July 11, 2001. He was sworn in as U.S. Ambassador to China on July 17, 2001 and arrived in Beijing on July 23.
dentarthurdent on January 28, 2014 at 1:53 PM

Yes, it was a political rather than a career diplomat appointment.
lexhamfox on January 28, 2014 at 3:12 PM

So totally irrelevant that the guy Bush picked had decades of real world experience in and with China, a noted expert in their laws/legal system, and was fluent in their primary language?
Okaaaaaayyyyy – gotcha – if that’s what you consider a “political appointment”…..
dentarthurdent on January 28, 2014 at 3:42 PM

We never saw LHF again.

dentarthurdent on February 13, 2014 at 6:03 PM

Which donor is being sent to Libya?

gwelf on February 13, 2014 at 5:46 PM

gwelf: Thats a good one:0

canopfor on February 13, 2014 at 6:07 PM

Stewart throws the right a bone so later he can eat their lunch. Oldest ruse in the book. If you think this guy is on the GOP’s side you’re nuts.

rik on February 13, 2014 at 6:07 PM

Stewart throws the right a bone so later he can eat their lunch. Oldest ruse in the book. If you think this guy is on the GOP’s side you’re nuts.

rik on February 13, 2014 at 6:07 PM

Yep, just like Jay Lenno. His wife makes the political decisions.

slickwillie2001 on February 13, 2014 at 6:11 PM

Stewart is correct about Obungler’s ambassador joke nominees, which only goes to demonstrate what leftist bafoon Stewart is for supporting the amateur Socialist.

Whitey Ford on February 13, 2014 at 6:18 PM

Stewart throws the right a bone so later he can eat their lunch. Oldest ruse in the book. If you think this guy is on the GOP’s side you’re nuts.

rik on February 13, 2014 at 6:07 PM

Not at all.
Just a “comedian” who can no longer ignore the material thrown in his face.

dentarthurdent on February 13, 2014 at 6:18 PM

And the audacity of Obama talking about “income equality” on the other side of his mouth! “Money talks”….eh Obama!

Saints on February 13, 2014 at 6:37 PM

I honestly don’t understand why this site has to jump up and down and squeal every time O-bot Stewart gets one right. He always goes for the low-hanging fruit, the corruption that is just so blatant even a democrat hack like Stewart can see it. And then he goes right back to smearing conservatives – until the next time his hero’s corruption becomes too challenging to gloss over. Stewart can go to hell. He owns those lousy ambassador appointments and every other bit of corruption from the clown he helped elect.

Rational Thought on February 13, 2014 at 5:37 PM

THIS.

There should be no praising of any sort. Rather, widespread condemnation of the whole entertainment industry.

Myron Falwell on February 13, 2014 at 6:39 PM

Who is Colleen Bell? Bell is a soap opera producer — “The Bold and the Beautiful” is her masterwork — who was nominated by Barack Obama’s administration to serve as U.S. ambassador to Hungary.

I’m not sure I see the problem. This administration for the past 5 years has been nothing but a soap opera.

de rigueur on February 13, 2014 at 6:56 PM

Which donor is being sent to Libya?

gwelf on February 13, 2014 at 5:46 PM

I guess ambassador Stevens did’nt raise enough money. It became imperative to look for a more “qualified” nominee.

jya lai on February 13, 2014 at 6:59 PM

I don’t care how stupid she is, she’ll never beat “Ambassador Joe Kennedy”…

Khun Joe on February 13, 2014 at 7:21 PM

The more Daily Show on Hotair, the better.

Mmm...Burritos on February 13, 2014 at 7:29 PM

Just saw McCain’s questioning, which had been reported without noting the sarcasm in his voice when he said the group of nominees were ‘extremely well -qualified.’

Apparently the nominee to Norway doesn’t even know that Norway does not have a president. Ooof dah.
You’de think the nominee would at least have Googled “Norway” before appearing before Congress.

LASue on February 13, 2014 at 7:39 PM

O brave Jon Stewart!

tenore on February 13, 2014 at 8:55 PM

McCain was making a point with repeating that question, but it was entirely wasted on Ms. Bell. You have to have a passing awareness of national standards, basic diplomatic international relations, and the meaning of the term “Strategic interest” in order to answer the question. She clearly has none of that. McCain didn’t ask her what our social agenda was.

So, she is going to travel to Budapest and influence their government on behalf of ours regarding . . .

Security relationship
Law enforcement
Business opportunities
Trade

Pop quiz. How many of those subjects are reasonably in the purview of an ambassador? Hint, less than four.

Hmm, I wonder why the security relationship was the first thing on her mind? Benghazi anyone?

Freelancer on February 13, 2014 at 8:57 PM

Did anyone else notice that when Stewart was cracking on the Dems early in the clip (“Dems are immune to corruption, according to Pelosi”), audience response was nervous & light laughter? What gets the largest positive response by far from the audience? A cheap shot at a nationally known conservative (Hannity).

And they accuse the Right of dog whistle politics.

mdenis39 on February 13, 2014 at 10:41 PM

Does Stewart have the right to criticize the man he used his show to help elect, without looking like a hypocrite?

Stewart’s “Daily Show” is practically an Obama 501c PAC…or was now that Obama isn’t up for reelection anymore.

OxyCon on February 13, 2014 at 11:56 PM

These people are not the embarrassment. It is that we elected a President who is so inept an administrator that he cannot understand that being a supporter gets you to the head of the line if you are otherwise qualified. Money never substituted for appropriateness, but it get you to the front…in the past.

Of course, in the past a great campaigner stopped campaigning when elected and began being an executive and administrator. And, in the past, we tended to elect people from a selection that was vetted to insure that they could do the job, even if you didn’t like how they did it. This is the first time that we have elected a master campaigner who, once elected, stayed with what he did best…campaigning, and avoided almost altogether even the appearance of staying in the office and administrating.

It is bad enough that our country and our citizens suffer(s) from our error at the polls, but now our country is being embarrassed around the world by such ineptness. The testimony of the proposed Ambassador to Norway has gone viral on U Tube in Europe as well as Norway. The World is laughing at Mr. Obama…and also angry…and that includes us. It makes me blush with shame.

TKPedersen42 on February 14, 2014 at 11:22 AM