Obama Appoints More Friends and Donors to Ambassadorships than Did Bush, Clinton and Even Reagan

Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Vinai Thummalapally and Barack Obama. Like George W. Bush, Obama chose his college roommate to be ambassador to Belize

For someone who campaigned on the ideal of not succumbing to the politics-as-usual ways of Washington, President Barack Obama has embraced patronage and cronyism with real zeal when it comes to appointing ambassadors.

So far, President Obama has awarded a higher percentage of ambassadorships to political friends and supporters than any president in the last four decades, according to data collected by the American Foreign Service Association, the union for U.S. diplomats.
After only a year and a half in office, President Obama has given 45.7% of his ambassadorships to political appointees, and 54.3% to Foreign Service officers. Compare these rates to those of the five previous occupiers of the Oval Office:
George W. Bush
Political Appointments: 30.02%
Career Appointments: 69.98%
Bill Clinton
Political Appointments: 27.82%
Career Appointments: 72.18%
George H. W. Bush
Political Appointments: 31.30%
Career Appointments: 68.69%
Ronald Reagan
Political Appointments: 36.5%
Career Appointments: 63.5%
Jimmy Carter
Political Appointments: 26.73%
Career Appointments: 73.27%
-Noel Brinkerhoff
AFSA Statement on Ambassadors (American Foreign Service Association)
AFSA Ambassadors List (American Foreign Service Association)
Ambassadorial Nominations (American Foreign Service Association)


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