Ambassadorships = political payback

Kelly Knight Craft’s nomination to become the next U.S. ambassador to the United Nations has drawn the expected criticism from those who are indignant about the very nature of ambassadorial appointments.

To be honest, I believe Craft will be a superior envoy to the world body than the individual who pulled her name out of consideration. Heather Nauert brought next to zero qualifications to the job; Nauert’s experience consisted of a year as State Department spokeswoman and her time as a Fox News morning show co-host.

Craft is our nation’s ambassador to Canada. She also worked as an alternate U.N. delegate during the George W. Bush administration. I am concerned about her waffling on climate change and I wish she were committed to the idea that human industrial activity is a major contributor to the changing world climate.

OK, but what about her political ties. She and her husband, Joe Craft, are big GOP donors. They’re big-time allies of Donald Trump.

But in fact, their political involvement is no more involved than many of our nation’s ambassadors who serve around the world. Many of our ambassadors get those jobs as a form of political payment for the work they do to elect the presidents who appoint them.

There have been exceptions to that formula. Recent examples are former Vice President Walter Mondale and former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield, both of whom were our envoys to Japan. Our current ambassador to Russia is former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, who once campaigned for the presidency.

The late Teel Bivins got appointed our nation’s ambassador to Sweden in 2004. Do you think President Bush appointed the Texas state senator because of his expertise on Scandinavian issues? No. He picked Bivins because the Amarillo Republican worked hard to elect Bush president in 2000. He raised a lot of money for the former Texas governor. Indeed, Bivins had never set foot in Sweden before he landed there as our nation’s ambassador.

Is Kelly Craft the perfect nominee to lead our U.N. delegation? No, but she’s capable enough.

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