It’s a well-known fact that many ambassadors who are political appointees often receive their positions because they’ve donated to the president’s campaign. After all, who could forget the uproar last year when it was believed that Vogue Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour was being considered for the British ambassadorship?
But President Obama may have reached a bit too far into the world of political favors with his latest appointment. It is believed that the campaigner-in-chief will nominate Patrick Gaspard, the executive director of the Democratic National Committee, to be the next Ambassador to South Africa in the next few days. If confirmed, Gaspard would replace Donald H. Gips, another political appointee who assumed the ambassadorship in 2009.
Gaspard is probably best known for tweeting “it’s constitutional. B***hes” when the Supreme Court ruled that Obamacare was constitutional last June. At last year’s Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C. he compared 2008 Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin to Lord Voldemort, the villain in the Harry Potter book and movie series. In the same speech he called 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney “one of the of the most extreme right-wing candidates to ever have the Republican nomination.”
Born in the Democratic Republic of Congo to Haitian parents, Gaspard is the epitome of a true political pick. He previously served as one of Obama’s political directors at the White House and before that made his name in New York City politics working on former Mayor David Dinkins’ campaign. Gaspard has also worked as a political organizer for the SEIU.
Gaspard does have some ties to the former British colony, however. He was actively involved with the efforts to topple the apartheid regime in South Africa during the 1980s and 1990s.
Ironically, Gaspard is no stranger to the world of donors vying to be ambassadors. According to a source at the DNC it is Gaspard’s job to deal with the donors who attempt to ‘fudge the numbers’ of what they’ve raised for Obama to make them more attractive as a candidate for an ambassadorship.
The president has a penchant for nominating Hollywood celebrities to serve as ambassadors, having already appointed more diplomats from the movie capital of the world than any other president in history. According to the New York Times approximately 30 percent of the ambassadors Obama has nominated since assuming office in 2009 have been political appointees.