A mandatory addendum to Mary Katharine’s post last night. Rewarding rich hacks with ambassadorships is not, as MKH noted, a problem unique to Democrats, but it was a problem that the Unicorn Prince vowed to solve back when he was in slow-the-rise-of-the-oceans mode. How’s it going so far? Take five minutes for this righteously pissy critique from James Bruno and you’ll see. Why we bother with confirmation hearings for ambassadorships anymore, I don’t know. If we’re going to embrace late-stage imperial decadence as nakedly as this, let’s go the rest of the way and literally auction off diplomatic posts for fatcat morons who bankroll the party that’s currently holding the White House. Do a whole auction board and everything. The bidding for the Paris slot starts at $5 million, Rome $4 million, and on down the line. Given the fragility of regional relations there, Middle Eastern and Far Eastern posts would be reserved for people who actually know what they’re talking about, not rich benefactors. Wait, no they wouldn’t.
As Bruno notes, the Senate tends to rubber-stamp hack diplomatic appointees no matter which party controls the chamber because both Democrats and Republicans benefit from this patronage system. If/when the GOP is back in control next year thanks in part to anti-crony tea partiers, that practice should change. We’ll see how much grassroots pressure there is on them to reject unqualified nominees come 2015.