Come, I will hide nothing from you: it would be blatantly unfair for me to mock the President for choosing Chicago bundler Louis Susman to be the ambassador to the Court of Saint James. You see, unlike a certain subset of the population I know how the game is actually played; certain ambassadorships are considered prestigious, and some aren’t. The ones that are prestigious – and I don’t think that they get much more prestigious than the one for Great Britain – are going to be filled for political reasons, which means that generally they will not be filled by a professional diplomat. The last four were, in fact: a retired admiral, a senior government official/financial guy; a financial/oil guy; and a senior government official/car dealership owner. An investment banker who raised 500 grand for the President is not particularly surprising, in other words… unless you happened to be one of those people who actually believed that line of Obama’s about how he was going to do things differently. As I didn’t and don’t, I really can’t see how I can go off on this, so I won’t.
Besides, the Brits are already doing it for me.
The selection of Mr Susman, a lawyer and banker from the president’s hometown of Chicago, rather than an experienced diplomat, raises new questions about Mr Obama’s commitment to the special relationship with Britain.
American commentators denounced the selection of a rich friend to the plumb post, regarded as one of the most prestigious in the president’s gift, as worthy of a “banana republic”.
They said it was proof that Mr Obama has turned his back on his campaign pledge to end politics as usual.
Read the whole thing, particularly the bit where the Daily Telegraph compared the Susman pick to that of Rod Blagojevich’s pay-for-play scandal (the Telegraph has apparently come to its own conclusions over whether Burris bought his seat). They’re partially upset that the ambassadorship is going to somebody who isn’t a diplomat in a time when “there are fears in British government that Mr Obama is not as attached to the special relationship as his predecessors.” Yeah, that had me scratching my head, too… until I realized that the passage translated to “the Americans elected a Democrat again.” You can’t really assume foreign affairs awareness with that party, you know what I mean? Don’t get me wrong: many of them have it, but you can’t count on any one Democrat being checked out on the subject.
And, of course, the Brits are also personally disappointed that President Obama is playing politics as usual. If that sounds contradictory, hey, talk to them.
PS: The same article suggests that Obama is sending Caroline Kennedy to be the ambassador to the Vatican. Pity: I was hoping for Doug Kmiec, mostly because watching Pope Benedict XVI drag him by the ear to the nearest confessional would have officially been the Greatest Vatican YouTube EVER.
Crossposted to Moe Lane.