A string of blunders by President Obama’s ambassadorial picks and growing frustration from Republicans and the diplomatic corps are creating new momentum for reforming the long-standing U.S. practice of rewarding big donors with plum posts.
The custom has repeatedly been in the news over the past few weeks as Senate Republicans have used nomination hearings to highlight nominees’ shortcomings.
The public shaming comes after the minority was stripped of its ability to hold up nominees on the Senate floor last year, infuriating Republicans who lost their main tool for getting their questions and concerns addressed.
“It’s kind of entertaining and amusing how ignorant these people are, never having seen the country,” Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) told Fox News on Thursday. “But it’s also really disturbing because it’s a disservice to our country to send that kind of unqualified candidate to represent us and our interest there in these countries.”
McCain has been leading the charge, with his interrogation of Obama’s nominees to Norway and Hungary last month going viral after the candidates – both bundlers to Obama’s re-election campaign – failed to answer basic questions about their postings.