Newpaper Loses Mind over Millionaires’ Jobs Ending

You too can be an Ambassador. Just drop this off… and hope your candidate wins.

One of the plums available to political donors, at least, at the nosebleed level, is the ambassadorship. Not to a hardship post like Burkina Faso or a country lacking in all mod cons, like Guyana, or even to an impoverished old dowager like Bolivia. And certainly not to a country where ambassadors get whacked, like Afghanistan or Pakistan. But to a country with a good symphony, and a 72-room ambassadorial residence full of liveried servants, like the Czech Republic, or a country that you dimly remember hearing of while checking the boxes at Pater’s old prep school, such as Belgium or (for the three-generation legacies) France. Those ambassadorships are traditionally for sale, although the “diplomatic protocol” is to cloak the transactional nature of the assignments in diplomatic — what other kind would be fitting? — euphemism.

The New York Times is losing its mind in general over the incoming Trump administration — but one of its wailings and gnashings stems from the plight of those poor, impoverished megamillionaire donors, who, alas! have to leave their plum ambassadorships because their boy was term limited out, and his chosen successor, who might have retained them for some weeks or months, or longer with the right Global Initiative donation, didn’t rise to the throne after all. To put it in the language of diplomacy, Quel horreur!

Of course, French is also the language of l’amour, and the moneybags feel like they just got amoured without getting kissed. So they take to the Times, the Newspaper of Record for Wealthy Manhattanites and Those Who Wish They Were, and describe how twaumatizing the whole thing has been to a sympathetic reporter or three:

Mr. Trump… has taken a hard line against leaving any of President Obama’s political appointees in place as he prepares to take office on Jan. 20 with a mission of dismantling many of his predecessor’s signature foreign and domestic policy achievements. “Political” ambassadors, many of them major donors who are nominated by virtue of close ties with the president, almost always leave at the end of his term; ambassadors who are career diplomats often remain in their posts.

But these Unique and Special Snowflakes™ are entitled, you see.

The directive has nonetheless upended the personal lives of many ambassadors, who are scrambling to secure living arrangements and acquire visas allowing them to remain in their countries so their children can remain in school, the diplomats said.

In Costa Rica, Ambassador Stafford Fitzgerald Haney is hunting for a house or an apartment as his family — which includes four school-age children and his wife, who has been battling breast cancer — struggles to figure out how to avoid a move back to the United States with five months left in the school year, according to the diplomats.

A man with three last names. What odds his family tree looks like a poplar, and his chin, if he has one, is an implant? Waaaah! Gotta move in mid-schoolyear. Welcome to the soldier’s world, or one small aspect of it, Stafford old boy, not to mention normal life for anyone working for a large and widespread firm, who doesn’t have the good fortune to be in the golden-parachute blocks on the org chart.

You’re breakin’ our heart. Take two listens to Gloomy Sunday, and do what the song is famous for:

We kept expecting the story to break into what it really is: comic relief. But they don’t get their own joke, and the Times doesn’t lighten up at all, as one megamillionaire after another whines and whinges:

In the Czech Republic, they said, Ambassador Andrew H. Schapiro is seeking housing in Prague as well as lobbying his children’s Chicago-based school to break with policy and accept them back midyear.

He doesn’t want to give up his .gov-paid 72 rooms, and more servants than George III had. But it’s all about his precious spawn — riiiiight. We’re sure that generation of Schapiros will produce a cure for cancer more entitled, spoiled moneybags who are only fit to be ambassadors-to-a-place-where-the-ambassador-isn’t-critical.

In Brussels and Geneva, Denise Bauer, the United States ambassador to Belgium, and Pamela Hamamoto, the permanent representative to the United Nations, are both trying to find a way to keep daughters from having to move just months before their high school graduation.

These people had millions to give to the Obama and Clinton campaigns. If they can’t bear to come back to the America that elected Mr Trump, and it seems like they can’t, they can do what millions of Americans do every day and rent a freaking apartment. And if the nation won’t give them a visa, however unlikely that is? They can do like millions of Mexicans, and sponge off their host nation as illegal aliens.

They’re still breakin’ our heart (severely NSFW):

The President (outgoing) had a soirée for these high-end welfareniks:

At a White House farewell reception that Mr. Obama held on Wednesday night for noncareer ambassadors, many of them commiserated, attendees said, comparing notes about how to handle the situation.

At which the named individuals unburdened themselves to the crack Times reporting team. And others sniveled that this means, egads! The End of Diplomacy™!

W. Robert Pearson, a former ambassador to Turkey and a scholar at the Middle East Institute in Washington, said the rule was “quite extraordinary,” adding that it could undermine American interests and signal a hasty change in direction that exacerbates jitters among allies about their relationships with the new administration. …

In fact, no diplomacy is going to end because these figureheads give up their mansions, motorcades, and minions. In nations with rich, connected inbreeds in diplomatic posts, the actual diplomacy is carried by down-ticket Embassy staffers who are career diplomats, especially the #2 guy or girl, normally titled Chargé d’Affaires. While the Chargé is nominally #2, and the State Department is nothing if not protocol-bound, one of his or her major responsibilities is keeping the donor-Ambassador from stepping on the national reproductive tackle. The donor-Ambassador seldom knows the language of the nation in question, let alone the first thing about the nation, its issues, or its historic and current relations with the United States. The donor-Ambassador may have run a business, or at least had a big office, before. But he or she has never run an Embassy; has never had to deal with a embedded CIA Chief of Station; has never dealt with foreign press who operate under different expectations and laws than their US counterparts; doesn’t know what the consular staff does and what the GSA officers do. All these fields of ignorance are kept from blowing up relations by the career Foreign Service Officers on staff, and generally, they can do it better when not babysitting some jerk whose only quaification is having given his and his friends’ inherited wealth to a political campaign (often in a conditional quid pro quo for the Ambassador gig).

Sure, they’re Ambassadors, but they’re hollow figureheads — Potemkin Ambassadors. And that is not a partisan issue, both parties produce these drones in profusion, depending on who’s got the keys to the White House.

The Times’s meltdown isn’t just over the State Department’s nosebleed-rich Potemkin Ambassadors. They’re also flipping out over other Trump appointments, like Attorney General nominee Jeff Sessions. Because he advocated for the death penalty for rebarbative murderers, they call Sessions the Grim Reaper of Alabama; he will replace AG Loretta Lynch, who with her predecessor Eric Holder generally favored criminals, including murderers, over victims.

Hat tip: Elizabeth Harrington at the Washington Free Beacon, who has some of the details of the perks these .001%er Ambassadors don’t want to let go of, and of what they paid to buy their posts, and did to get their money (mostly, inherit it, or shuffle other moneychangers’ gelt on Wall Street, although one was a CBS producer).

31 thoughts on “Newpaper Loses Mind over Millionaires’ Jobs Ending

  1. Jim Scrummy

    Interesting. Twenty years ago the Czech Republic Ambassador gig was for State Dept. careerists. In my misspent yute years, one my ex-gfs was an embassy staffer at US embassy in Prague and the Ambassador was a careerist (he spoke Czech as did the ex-GF). I had a great time visiting her in Prague and traveling around the CR (along with Austria and Germany). The beer was EXCELLENT in the CR. The food was very meh. The ambassador rotated back stateside when she did in August 1997. So, now I guess the Czech Republic is a political ambassordorship?

    Oh, and boo freakin’ boo hoo for the “hardships” the chillins’ will have to undergo when changing schools in the middle of the school year. My sibling and I did it twice when we were kids and still managed to survive and thrive. The wussification of the West continues unabated.

      1. Boat Guy

        Y’all are showing your lack of experience. There are some really good places to eat IF you’re not a tourist.
        Bride and I were jusdt remarking that the very best home-cooking we’ve EVER had was from a CZ colleagues wife.
        You might wanna get out more…

        1. John M.

          One swallow doesn’t make spring.

          I won’t claim to even be in the top 50% of well-traveled patrons of this blog, but I’ve eaten in a Chinese restaurant in Pakistan and an Indonesian restaurant in Paris. Have you ever seen a Czech restaurant?

          -John M.

          1. Boat Guy

            Quite a number of them, actually. Many in and around Prague, some in Brno, a couple in Karlovy Vary.

          2. Kirk

            LOL… Ran that one past my Czech neighbor. His take?

            “Eh… Czechs leave the home country with skills… We don’t need to open restaurants when we come to America, we all have trades already…”.

            And, I have to say this: Czech home cooking is pretty damn good. Restaurants? I’ve never seen one, either, but I’d roll most of that cuisine in with what they call “German” here in the US. Which, I suspect, a lot of Czech restaurant owners have done. See also “Bohemian”, which they’re also listed under.

        2. Jim Scrummy

          The food in Prague was okay (we didn’t hit many touristy places, the ex knew her way around Prague very well), and the food was definitely better out in the countryside in the smaller towns and cities. What was unique was touring around the little towns and villages and seeing some of the leftover stuff (such as big loudspeakers) from the communist era. What was also interesting was seeing the contrast of going from the Czech Republic into Austria and Germany, at that time.

          1. Pathfinder

            Traveled in CR quite a bit my last tour in Germany. The food was good, more like German that anything else. Good home cooked, stick to your ribs kind of meals.

            One of the best dishes we had we later found out that the meat was horse. It was pretty good. While I don’t think that I would eat it regularly, my MiL and FiL survived on it at the end of WW2 and had no complaints.

    1. Rick T

      Twice? Only twice? My family moved three times before I started HS and THREE times after. I split my freshman and junior years, and going from AZ to MA to PA are pretty big changes in climate AND culture..

      Let them pay for a housing overseas themselves….

      1. John Distai

        Hell, we were foreclosed on once AND evicted 3 times before HS! And then once more after that! All with 3 days notice!

        1. Loren

          That never gets old. Once you go hear the best of Brit comedy, it’s hard to go back to the NY/LA variety.

  2. ToastieTheCoastie

    The struggle is real! But you really have to hate news stories that cover routine stuff.

  3. Trone Abeetin

    saw a documentary about Nillsson, the record company lost their minds over that song, i laughed my ass off.
    love stinks, sometimes you get to immortalize that fact.

  4. John M.

    In other Times headlines, “Let Trump Voters Eat Cake.”

    One really has to be a special kind of insulated to run the show over there.

    -John M.

  5. joshua

    and yet… if any one of the political appointees had really dug themselves into the job, had built relationships where none had existed, had demonstrated (or picked up) a knowledge of the issues equal to that of the staff that briefs them, there is a chance they’d stay on. If a businessman was to see an incumbent manager getting it done, he’d likely leave him to continue. These folks have themselves to blame for the situation they are in.
    Trump isn’t going to get richer appointing replacements.

  6. S

    “Diplomacy is the art of telling someone to go to hell and leaving them looking forward to the trip.”

    1. Boat Guy

      It’s been demonstrated time-and-again that few political appointees are “diplomats”.
      I rank a career FS officer (former Army, VN Vet) as among my best three bosses EVER when i worked for him in his first Ambassador posting. His final post was in the garden spot along the Tigris and Euphrates cleaning up after another guy who shall remain nameless.

      1. Josey Wales

        Agreed, since I know who you’re talking about, and worked at said garden spot while he was there. All our ambassadors should be of his caliber and background.

        1. Boat Guy

          Would that they were. Unfortunately he’s a rare one. I was privileged to serve with him.

  7. Boat Guy

    Oh yeah…the last President to do such a thing was … (wait for it) … Barack Hussein Obama.

  8. Boat Guy

    The ” especially the #2 guy or girl, normally titled Chargé d’Affaires.” only carry that title WHEN they are acting for State; otherwise the #2 job is titled “Deputy Chief-of-Mission” aka DCM. Thus when our Ambassador died on station the DCM became Charge’ and served as such until the guy referred to above could be confirmed.

  9. Badger

    Fire up the oven & get out the mixing bowls! It’s been at least 2 weeks since I’ve had some Schadenfreude Pie. :)

  10. Roger

    I believe that Mr. obama terminated all of GB’s ambassadors just like Mr. Trump is doing.
    Not a whimper or whine from the lamestream media.
    The whining and crying we hear today certainly brings proof to the truism that
    “Things are different when you are a democrat”

  11. Keith

    The NYC MSM has had it in for Trump for literally decades. Nothing new here as far as I’m concerned.

  12. Aesop

    Funny, but thus far, their normal comment when State Department employees suddenly lose their jobs has been
    “What difference, at this point, does it make?”

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