Foreign Policy Blogging at OTB

by Dave Schuler on February 27, 2014

I’ve just published a foreign policy-related post at Outside the Beltway:

AFSA Reviews Obama Appointments

For the first time in its history the American Foreign Service Association, the professional organization for foreign service professionals, is considering a protest of a president’s ambassadorial appointments. The minimum requirements for political appointments have changed over time and it may be time for ambassadorial appointments to receive more scrutiny.

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

jan February 27, 2014 at 9:47 am

What a shocker! You mean that President Obama is appointing unqualified people — people having no prior experience to the post he is giving them!

Dave Schuler February 27, 2014 at 10:05 am

Over in the comments thread at the post at OTB, some are effectively making the argument that since such appointments were a commonplace during Grover Cleveland’s administration the only possible explanation for looking at such appointments more closely now is the race of the president. Basically, they’re accusing me, the other OTB bloggers, and the retired diplomats of AFSA of racism.

... February 27, 2014 at 10:34 am

Come on, Schuler, no one can criticize Obama without being racist. Obama is to his supporters what Hitler was to Franz Liebkind. (I’ll bet that Hitler was better at painting apartments, though.)

jan February 27, 2014 at 10:55 am

I think the social progressive clan is going way overboard in their racial animus claims. In fact, what they are doing is actually racially counter-productive, in reassuring people that a minority president can be treated equally harsh when people don’t like the policies under their administration. Ironically, it’s these liberal leftist who are keeping unequal treatment and racism alive and festering.

Dave Schuler February 27, 2014 at 10:58 am

Ah, Ellipsis, but nobody conceptualizes an apartment like Obama can.


I wish it were that easy. I think that there are plenty of racists and racism around, a lot of them are social conservatives, and white social conservatives are mostly Republicans these days. What progressives are in denial over is that there’s plenty of racists and racism in the Democratic Party, too. We’ve come a long way over the last 70 years but there’s still a long way to go. The critical question is how do we get there? I don’t think we’ll improve the situations of black Americans, the descendants of Southern slaves, by importing workers from Latin America and the Caribbean.

PD Shaw February 27, 2014 at 10:59 am

My twelve-year old daughter’s reaction upon listening to one of the prospective ambassadors (non)answer a question: You mean she didn’t even cram?

TastyBits February 27, 2014 at 11:03 am

@Dave Schuler

The OTB comments section is a sewer. It is not to the DailyKos level, but it is getting there.

I was following one thread where they were fighting because one sounded more Republican. They agreed that the substance may be correct, but it was wrong to help conservatives.

Dave Schuler February 27, 2014 at 11:04 am

It was a diplomat, Jean Giraudoux, who was credited with first saying “The secret of success in life is sincerity. Once you can fake that you’ve got it made.”

PD Shaw February 27, 2014 at 11:31 am

I knew Dave would have a good quote.

... February 27, 2014 at 11:36 am

Ah, Ellipsis, but nobody conceptualizes an apartment like Obama can.

You’ve got me there.

... February 27, 2014 at 11:40 am

You mean she didn’t even cram?

It seems like some of them haven’t even casually looked through the summaries they must have been given. Or thought to read a Wikipedia entry.

I don’t think we’ll improve the situations of black Americans, the descendants of Southern slaves, by importing workers from Latin America and the Caribbean.

But we might by electing a half-Kenyan half-white President and declaring him to be African-American – who can then import tens of millions of workers from Latin America and the Caribbean. (The white side of Obama’s background probably puts him in closer kinship with African-Americans than does the Kenyan side.)

jan February 27, 2014 at 11:51 am


I partially agree with your racism comment, in that it’s present across the political, social, racial spectrum. Prejudice, though, is a by-product of ignorance. And, ignorance is difficult to ameliorate, especially when people are often not even aware of it.

However, I think as a country we should be a little more complimentary of the distance already traveled in cultivating racial blindness, especially when comparing our diversity with that of other countries. I also think we would find walls of prejudice, between people with or without color, would be softened if we actually treated people equally, instead of defaulting to walking around on politically correct egg shells, dabbling in special treatment legislation, racial quotas, etc. which, IMO, only provide permanent barriers and even foster resentments between the races.

I also think using race as a political wedge issue is selfish and self-serving. People of color have plainly become pawns of one party. Their poverty, high UE, incarceration numbers, nuclear family problems have been blamed almost solely on the R party, which is disingenuous based on historical facts. Nonetheless, the misinformation leading to a one- party affiliation bias has stuck, and the poverty, high unemployment, nuclear family problems persist, under this party’s guidance and policies. That to me is like a failed clinical trial that has somehow been approved by a false analysis of the data.

As for whether easing immigration into this country will make the situation better or worse for the AA community, I think the problems with Black American go far deeper than having to compete for jobs with Hispanics. To fully assimilate oneself into society (no matter what color you are) one has to develop enough personal glue to believe in themselves, their family, their ability to change their own circumstances, developing habits, attitudes, lifestyles that are productive rather than destructive, which also means dropping the heavy burden of blaming others.

PD Shaw February 27, 2014 at 2:45 pm

So, of the 25 response posts at OTB, 17 of them are from two people on my ignore at all costs list, including that jerk Stonehill that wrote that PD Shaw is a racist that believes Trayvon Martin deserved to be killed. I’ve not been called a racist by Clavin as Dave has, but almost the first thing he ever posts is an insult (stoopid; so Fox Nuus says), often followed by something more substantive. I doubt he understands the implication of what he wrote, so why bother with him?

steve February 27, 2014 at 5:27 pm

I think there is merit to this criticism. I would like even political appointees to have some relevance to the appointments. Better yet, have them go away entirely. What I thin is valid is the complaint that this is being focused upon Obama when other presidents were even worse.

steve February 27, 2014 at 5:28 pm

Oops. Wrong button. Anyway, this should be seen as a systems problem and fixed so that there is not so much discretion in the appointments.


Andy February 27, 2014 at 6:13 pm

I’ll just reiterate that I have no problem with political appointees. I just wish that the appointment criteria was about competence in something besides raising political money.

jan February 27, 2014 at 7:43 pm

I just wish that the appointment criteria was about competence in something besides raising political money.

Isn’t demonstrating some kind of competence in the post they are being recommended for the reason behind the AFSA’s concerns, rather than taking issue specifically with the appointment process?

TastyBits February 28, 2014 at 12:34 pm

People who think that the first black president is being treated so badly should fire up the newsreels from the Clinton Presidency. Ambassadorships were being given to political donors. The country was being turned socialist. Blah, blah, blah.

Then, there were the extras: the impeachment over a blowjob, the investigation over a real estate deal prior to his running for election, the accusations of murdering Vince Foster.

Until President Obama exceeds this level, he is not being treated unfairly.

TastyBits February 28, 2014 at 1:10 pm

@PD Shaw

It is an intellectual wasteland over there. The DailyKos became a sewer, and OTB is not close.

I noticed that most of the commenters went to ground after the Obamacare rollout debacle, and only President Obama’s hardcore supporters remained. The only point to reading the comments is to see what level of nonsense they have reached.

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