Jim Geraghty sent out a warning this morning that the lame duck Senate was getting down to the people’s business and was going to vote on confirmation of two more Obama nominees, this time ambassadors.
Today the U.S. Senate votes on two of President Obama’s ambassadorial nominees: Noah Mamet, the nominee to be U.S. ambassador to Argentina and Colleen Bell, the nominee to be ambassador to Hungary.
You may recall Noah Mamet admitting in response to a question to Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., he has never traveled to Argentina.
Bell is perhaps best known as producer of soap opera “The Bold and the Beautiful.” She, too, had difficulties during her confirmation hearing.
Well, it didn’t take all that long at all. Given the rather, shall we say… dubious credentials of these two candidates, and the already tenuous state of trust in the competence of the White House, I assume that they were both declined and more suitable nominees can be sought. Right?
The Senate confirmed the nominations of two former Obama campaign fundraisers on Tuesday despite objections.
The Senate voted 50-43 to confirm Noah Mamet’s nomination to be U.S. ambassador to Argentina and voted 52-42 to confirm Colleen Bradley Bell to be U.S. ambassador to Hungary.
Some criticized Mamet and Bell for showing a lack of knowledge during confirmation hearings about the countries they’ll be serving in.
That last quote was from The Hill, and reading the final sentence they probably deserve some sort of award for achievements in understatement. Some criticized? I’m more interested in the collective brain trust that wouldn’t criticize these choices. They were both donors to Obama’s election, raising more than a half million dollars. They clearly knew as much about the countries they would be dealing with as your average elementary school student. (And that might be insulting to sixth graders, so I apologize in advance.)
John McCain was unbridled in his response, particularly in the case of Colleen Bell.
“This is a very important country where bad things are going on. Ms. Bell’s experience have been largely relegated to producing television soap opera, The Bold and the Beautiful,” McCain said ahead of the vote. “This nominee is totally unqualified for this position.”
So we now have an ambassador to Hungary who – literally – is a soap opera executive. Given the state of American politics, some might say that’s an ideal qualification, but obvious jokes aren’t going to make this situation any brighter. As to Argentina, we might has well have sent Madonna. She at least played someone from Argentina in a movie once, and a few background facts may have rubbed off.
Geraghty reminds us that Barack Obama entered office promising to end the practice of handing out ambassadorships to well heeled donors with no diplomatic experience. I suppose there was a point sometime in the past when this would have made for a shocking headline. Today it’s just another page in a very long book.