CNN White House reporter Jim Acosta wanted to know whether a campaign “bundler” for President Obama is the best person to represent the United States at its embassy in Paris.
Well, what difference does it make? Ambassadorships are political prizes. Always have been. Republican presidents dole out these gifts and so do Democratic presidents.
Acosta’s question came while wondering whether U.S. Ambassador to France Jane Hartley questioned the White House about the “optics” that might occur if we didn’t send a high-ranking emissary to the unity rally.
Then came the query about Hartley’s role as someone who gathered up campaign cash from contributors to the Obama campaign; she and her husband had hosted a high-dollar campaign dinner at their New York home for conributors, which apparently earned her an ambassadorial appointment to Paris.
With few exceptions, ambassadorships go to political allies and those who have contributed tangibly to the winning presidential candidate’s political effort.
Take the time George W. Bush appointed the late Teel Bivins to be our ambassador to Sweden. Was the state senator from Amarillo an expert on Sweden? Did he have keen insight into the geopolitical relationship between the nations? No on both counts.
He was a longtime friend of the Bush family and he worked tirelessly to get President Bush elected in 2000.
Thus, he got himself a ticket to Stockholm.
I wish it weren’t that way. Jane Hartley is no different than the vast majority of ambassadors representing this country at overseas posts.
This issue, though, does make me wonder: What does someone have to do to get an ambassadorial appointment to a hellhole of a country?