Adam Ozimek will get the reference.
Hopefully Anonymous thinks we should all be atwitter about Obama’s picks for ambassadors. He was too lazy to make a front-page post at his own blog about it and I thought the OB open thread was a poor location to focus discussion, so I’m putting it here.
My impression from years back was that ambassadorships were cushy jobs where you get to travel and don’t have much responsibilities (Carol Moseley Braun was from my state). H.A views them through a more technocratic lens where we want the most competent people there (with caveats about comparative advantage). H.A’s link indicate that usually they go to career foreign service officers and so Obama is deviantly engaging in patronage for campaign donors. I remarked earlier that the standards for FSOs seem to have dropped a lot recently, so maybe we’re not missing out on any George Kennans. The State Department in general is in bad shape, with Defense having gobbled up many of its former duties. In “Bureaucracy” James Q. Wilson writes that State has one of the vaguest missions – representing and advancing the interests of the United States abroad – which is a major factor in its perennially disappointing performance.