Money can buy love. And ambassadorships. In the fall of 2009, Avant was appointed ambassador to the Bahamas. The State Department inspector general, alas, didn't have the same warm, tingly feelings for Avant that the Obamas do. The IG's scathing report blasted her jet-setting tenure, which the watchdog described as "an extended period of dysfunctional leadership and mismanagement." Avant, true to the Obama way, blamed problems "inherited" from the previous administration.
But Avant, and Avant alone, was responsible for her chronic absenteeism. She was gone from the office 276 days between September 2009 and November 2011. The IG concluded bluntly: "Her extensive travel out of country and preference to work from the ambassador's residence for a significant portion of the workday contributed to a perception of indifference. ... The frequent absences of the ambassador contributed to poor mission management."
And it was Avant's neglect of basic office maintenance and core mission work, not George W. Bush's, that led the IG to conclude that the post had produced "little political reporting or analysis on international crime, drug smuggling and illegal migration or on prevention of terrorism" under her reign. Avant chose instead to tout her "success" in hosting former basketball star and fellow Obama booster Magic Johnson on the islands to promote "business development."
It's more political patronage as usual in the era of Hope and Change. Remember when Obama the candidate once inveighed: "We need a president who will look out for the interests of hardworking families, not just their big campaign donors and corporate allies." Or when he pontificated: "It is no coincidence that the best bundlers are often granted the greatest access, and access is power in Washington." As I've chronicled throughout Obama's tenure in my columns and in "Culture of Corruption," Avant is the rule, not the exception among his class of incompetent, feather-lining bundler appointees.
No doubt the complainer in chief will dismiss any criticism of his celebr-ambassadorships-for-sale embarrassments as more "phony scandals." But the phoniest phony of them all doth protest too much.