Fashion Editor to Ambassador?

Posted: Dec 04, 2012 11:00 AM

In the last couple of days, names have been floating around for possible replacements for an ambassador to the U.K. or France. One of the most popular is the editor-in-chief of the women’s fashion magazine, Vogue, Anna Wintour. It seems that President Barack Obama is looking to reward his biggest fundraisers with embassies across the globe. The current Ambassador to the U.K., Louis Susman, was a Chicago-based investment banker and bundler for Obama’s 2008 campaign before being appointed to his current seat. Unlike many of Obama’s other appointees, Susman is not expected to stay on for the second term.

Anna Wintour is currently among the top two names for the post in England alongside Matthew Barzun, the finance chairman of the Obama 2012 campaign. Both of these potential appointees were among the biggest bundlers of donations for the campaign, each raising over half a million dollars to help the President’s re-election campaign.

The most troubling part of this possible appointment is that Wintour was editor-in-chief at Vogue when they did a profile on the Syrian first lady, Asma al-Assad. The article called the woman a "rose in the desert". Yes, a desert of violence being created by her husband. This piece was a flattering view of the woman who is married to the dictator who initiated a brutal crackdown on political opponents that has led to the death of an estimated 10,000 Syrians. Instead of concentrating on the serious violence happening in Syria, the article chose to focus on the woman's slender physique and Christian Louboutin heels. It's one thing to be an uninformed fashion editor, but to now put this woman in an Ambassador's seat seems completely irresponsible.

The appointments to both the U.K. and France are among the most important decisions the President must make about the future of the national security team. We are still watching potential nominations for secretary of state and defense, which could be made as early as this week. We are expecting these nominations to also be reflective of his political organization. All of these appointments come after announcing yesterday that he will re-instate Florida Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz for another cycle as Chairwoman of the DNC.

But we must wonder whether a woman who has devoted her life to fashion is really qualified for this position. Although she is originally from London, is the editor-in-chief of a fashion magazine really who we want to represent the United States there? England is our closest ally, shouldn’t this nomination be more about who can raise the most money for a re-election campaign? And she obviously was not aware of the current events in Syria when she helped publish a piece in her magazine promoting the dictator's wife and her fashion.