What makes the Editor of Vogue qualified to be the Ambassador? Hundreds of thousands of dollars, to start.
President Obama is reportedly considering appointing Vogue Editor-in-chief Anna Wintour as the U.S. Ambassador to either Great Britain or France, according to ABC News.
Wintour, who was born in England, was a major fundraiser for the President during the campaign, hosting multiple fundraising events.
She’s considered a “bundler,” an individual who uses their connections to raise huge sums of money for a candidate.
Wintour has been a longtime Obama fundraiser.
She raised between $100,000 and $200,000 from her friends for his 2008 run for the presidency, and this time raised at least a half of a million dollars for the re-election bid, according to the centre for Responsive Politics.
Personally, Wintour has given $99,250 to Democrats since the 2008 cycle.
Bundlers frequently wind up with diplomatic posts like these.
Telecom executive Thomas Gips was named ambassador to South Africa after bundling money in 2008. OpenSecrets has a big list of other donors/bundlers who got ambassadorships in 2009.
This is far from an exclusively Democratic Party thing.
Gov. Chris Christie got his job as U.S. Attorney for the State of New Jersey after being a Bush bundler in 2000, and appointing bundlers to easy ambassadorships is very common.
Representative-elect Anna Wagner of Missouri was a Republican fundraiser for Bush, and that got her the Ambassadorship for Luxembourg.
One thing to bear in mind is that the ambassador to France does not need to be a particularly adept foreign policy professional. It’s not hard to maintain good relations with France. That being said, as the chief of a major publication, there’s no reason Wintour wouldn’t be as qualified as anyone else.
This isn’t the ambassadorship to China, Iraq, Libya or any sort of country where diplomatic relations requires training.
Rewarding high profile donors with these positions is a classic way to reward well connected supporters. Indeed, a lot of the skills needed to raise that kind of scratch — graciousness, charisma, personality — are the exact kind of skills needed to serve as Ambassador to a friendly nation.
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