Er, is Anna Wintour looking for an ambassadorship in a second Obama term?
posted at 4:01 pm on June 11, 2012 by Erika Johnsen
An article in Saturday’s Guardian mused that Anna Wintour might be rewarded with a political appointment in return for all the money she’sraising for Obama’s reelection campaign. Namely, that she’d be named the U.S. ambassador in England, a post that’s expected to open up later this year.
At first blush, the possibility of Wintour leaving Vogue for a jaunt back to her native London seems absurd, but the Guardian makes a good case for it. The post in question is traditionally reserved for deep-pocketed “friends” of the president, as it’s a cushy job that doesn’t require much heavy lifting when it comes to diplomacy. Recent history supports this: The position is currently occupied by 74-year-old Louis Susman, a retired vice-president of Citigroup, whose fund-raising abilities during Obama’s 2008 campaign earned him the nickname “the vacuum cleaner.” During the Bush administration, the spot was held by wealthy supporters William Farish and Robert Tuttle.
Here’s an interesting sidenote, whatever it may mean: In March of 2011, Vogue ran a glowing profile of Syrian first lady Asma Assad, helping out with the Syrian government’s public-relations push to make Assad and his wife seem chic and glamorous. They’ve since removed the profile from their website, but in an NYT piece about that whole affair today, Anna Wintour issued a statement finally coming out strongly against the Syrian regime.
In a phone interview, Ms. Buck said that shortly after the profile was published, she began “steadily speaking out against the Assad regime,” including in an interview with Piers Morgan on CNN and elsewhere. In April, on National Public Radio, Ms. Buck said she regretted the headline that Vogue put on the article. But she said Mrs. Assad was “extremely thin and very well-dressed, and therefore qualified to be in Vogue.”
This spring, the magazine removed the article from its Web site. On Sunday, Anna Wintour, the editor of Vogue, issued a statement about the article saying, in part: “Like many at that time, we were hopeful that the Assad regime would be open to a more progressive society. Subsequent to our interview, as the terrible events of the past year and a half unfolded in Syria, it became clear that its priorities and values were completely at odds with those of Vogue. The escalating atrocities in Syria are unconscionable and we deplore the actions of the Assad regime in the strongest possible terms.”
Trying to demostrate a little diplomatic acumen, perhaps? It looks like the ambassadorship-bid is just an unsubstantiated rumor right now, although Anna Wintour is supposedly well aware of the rumors and declining to quell them. Apparently, however, this kind of thing happens with ambassadorships all the damn time in the ranks of the most transparent administration, evah:
The current U.S. ambassador to England, Louis Susman, was a fundraising machine for Obama’s 2008 run. In April, Obama nominated Timothy Broas, who also raised more than a half-mil for Obama, to be the next ambassador to the Netherlands. Last year, iWatch News reported that many of the so-called bundlers who funneled millions of dollars to Obama in 2008 have been rewarded with nice jobs and access, like the telecommunications executive Donald Gips who became the ambassador to South Africa.
Before his 2008 election, Obama spoke out against the practice of wealthy donors being rewarded with prestigious ambassadorships. In early 2007, the candidate derided special interests who he said “turned our government into a game only they can afford to play.”
Huh. More examples of hypocrisy and broken promises from the Obama administration. The mind reels.