12.11.2012 - 3:45 PM
As Michael Rubin wrote
last week, President Obama’s potential nomination of top donor and Vogue
editor Anna Wintour as ambassador to either the UK or France is problematic for a number of reasons. Jake Tapper examined one major reason–it would be the latest example of Obama’s broken 2008 promise
to get rid of the political spoils system in Washington–in a video today (h/t HotAir
ABC News asked White House Press Secretary Jay Carney if it is important for a diplomat to be, well, diplomatic?
“We had one of the greatest diplomats of his generation pass away not long ago, Richard Holbrooke, and I think everyone who knew him or who sat across the table from him would agree that he was not by anyone’s traditional definition particularly diplomatic,” said Carney.
“So they come in all types and sizes and approaches.”
At the state department, a comparison of Wintour with the late Ambassador Richard Holbrooke — a Vietnam War veteran, former assistant secretary of state, UN ambassador, and chief architect of the Bosnia peace accords — raised some eye brows.
No kidding. The practice of giving ambassadorships to top donors isn’t new, but it’s a sharp deviation from Obama’s vow to choose political appointments based on merit as opposed to fundraising ability. Obama has appointed donors to these positions in the past, but giving such a high-profile position to someone who is so obviously unqualified highlights how far he’s strayed from his 2008 “change” theme.
The Daily Mail reports
that the news is already ruffling feathers in the UK:
British journalist Toby Young – who satirised his five-year stint in New York with Conde Nast, the magazine company that publishes Vogue, in the book and film How To Lose Friends And Alienate People – said: ‘She presides over the fashion business with the imperial hauteur of a Prussian general and expects instant, unquestioning obedience.
‘It’s hard to imagine a personality less suited to the world of international diplomacy. She left school at 16 and has been working in fashion ever since. Obama’s chauffeur probably knows more about international relations than her. It’s like Caligula making his horse a senator.’
The Caligula comparison isn't entirely fair. After all, Caligula did appoint the whole horse to the senate, not just the back end.