The practice of sending top fund-raisers to prestigious embassies is nothing new for presidents of either party. But that is what makes Mr. Obama’s nominations so noteworthy. For a candidate who made grand promises to bring change to a capital where power and position are greased by money, the latest selections are a reminder that there are limits to just how much change the new president intends to bring.
For all his generalized message of change, Mr. Obama made clear when pressed even before becoming president that he would wall off the ambassadorial spoils system from his vows of reform. During a news conference 11 days before his inauguration, Mr. Obama said flatly that he would continue to tap political allies for at least some diplomatic posts.