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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Friday, April 5, 2019

The Best People, Continued

In Defying the Odds, we discuss Trump's approach to governing The update  -- just published --includes a chapter on the 2018 midterms.

Trump is reportedly considering sexual harasser Herman Cain for the Fed.  During the 2012 campaign, he was comically uninformed on issues.  Catherine Rampell writes at WP:
Cain is a longtime inflation hawk, which could put him at odds with Trump’s calls for looser money. As recently as December 2017, Cain was even defending higher interest rates. But perhaps Trump assumes that Cain will dutifully flip his views, just as the once-hawkish Moore has done.
In fact, in January, when Cain was already rumored to be in contention for a Fed seat, he told Bloomberg he was concerned about recent Fed rate increases and said the real thing to fear was not inflation but nonexistent “deflation.” This is Moore’s boogeyman du jour, too.

But perhaps the bigger issue is that Cain has saidrepeatedly — that the United States should return to the gold standard.
This stance is one Moore has also intermittently espoused, and it has been roundly rejected by actual economic experts. That includes, for instance, every single economist surveyed by the University of Chicago’s IGM Economic Experts Panel.

Then there’s the fact that Cain spent the years following his failed presidential campaign spamming his email followers with snake-oil scams, promising “weird tricks” that would make his followers get rich quick or “naturally” cure their erectile dysfunction. Of course, such grifting might enhance Cain’s candidacy in Trump’s eyes, but it hardly bodes well for a man seeking to join an institution with consumer protection duties.
Emily R. Siegel, Andrew W. Lehren, Brandy Zadrozny, Dan De Luce and Vanessa Swales at NBC:
An NBC News review of those who donated to the Trump inauguration found at least 14 major contributors to its inaugural fund who were later nominees to become ambassadors, donating an average of slightly over $350,000 apiece. Though the Trump administration says the business acumen of these nominees qualifies them to represent the U.S. abroad, six of the 14 nominations have languished for months in the Republican-controlled Senate. One nomination has stalled for about two years.
...
Since the 1950s, roughly two-thirds of confirmed ambassadors have been career foreign service officials and one-third have been political appointees. Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush kept within that range, according to the American Foreign Service Association (AFSA), which is comprised of current and former diplomats.
The Trump administration is different. Of its confirmed appointees, around 50 percent are career foreign service diplomats, and 50 percent are political appointees, according to AFSA.
There are also 52 vacant ambassadorships out of about 250. Two years into their presidencies, Obama had 11 and Bush had 15. There are also a large number of vacancies in critical countries like Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
The rate of confirmation is also quite different for Trump nominees. Two years into their presidencies, Presidents Bill Clinton, Bush and Obama had 96, 84 and 89 percent of their nominees confirmed. Trump is currently at 66 percent, according to a senior congressional staffer.