President Obama is about to shake up his diplomats, and a couple of prized positions could be open, including ambassadorships to France and the United Kingdom.
According to a Bloomberg report out today, on the shortlist for both is Anna Wintour, the very influential editor-in-chief of Vogue magazine since 1988.
She has been criticized for a demanding personality, but praised for keeping Vogue relevant in the ever-changing world of fashion for almost 25 years. Of course, that's probably not the reason she's being considered for the jobs.
Ambassadorships are increasingly used as rewards for top-level political supporters. Anna Wintour was a very good financial bundler for President Obama during this campaign, hosting two fundraising dinners this summer that brought in tens of thousands of dollars per plate.
The President appreciates that sort of thing, having already appointed other big backers to top posts in 2009, including telecom executive Donald Gips, investment banker Louis Susman, and Pittsburgh Steelers Chairman Dan Rooney.
But it's not just this president. Over the years, a number of people who have donated their time and money to Democratic and Republican candidates have been tapped for high-profile posts after the election... but should they be?
There are a number of career diplomats who do wonderful work overseas, and with the attack on Benghazi still fresh in our minds, the job of Ambassador is more important than ever in establishing a secure American presence abroad.
Maybe it's time for us to decide what we think an Ambassador is. Is it a position designed to represent our interests around the world?
Or just a great way to say thank you to our friends?
Or you find more Chris Stevenses.
This kind of appointment is Okay. Ambassadors in major countries need to have an independent income. Career Foreign service seldom do. One of my classmates D'61 was getting ready for the culminating ambassadorship when he was elbowed aside by a big giver. It was disappointing. But big givers need recognition. And if they supported Obama against the oligarchs I am for them.