Opinion

Obama ambassadorial nominee admits he's 'no real expert' on China

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Beltway Confidential,Opinion,The Weekly Standard,China,Max Baucus,Charles Hoskinson

Daniel Halper, from our sister publication The Weekly Standard, notes that Sen. Max Baucus, President Obama's nominee as ambassador to China, isn't quite as sharp on Chinese affairs as he needs to be.

"I'm no real expert on China," Baucus admitted at his confirmation hearing on Tuesday. "But it's my strong belief Chinese people are just as proud as we Americans are proud."

This is starting to become a trend. Obama's nominee as ambassador to Norway, businessman and campaign bundler George Tsunis, did not impress Norwegians at his Jan. 16 confirmation hearing, with one newspaper decrying his "total ignorance" of the country.

Baucus, D-Mont., chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, had already announced that he would retire at the end of this year and not seek re-election. Confirmation as ambassador would allow Gov. Steve Bullock, a Democrat, to appoint a replacement, who would presumably have a leg up in an election seen as pivotal to control of the Senate in 2015. Lt. Gov. John Walsh, one of the Democratic candidates, has been lobbying for the appointment.

Choosing ambassadors for political reasons didn't begin with Obama, but this is one moldy Washington tradition in which he isn't offering any hope for change.

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