A very crony Christmas
Merry Crony-mas! It's time to pass out the goodies. While President Obama champions the middle class, his administration's old hands are preparing to lavish rewards on the creme de la campaign creme: his wealthiest political donors.
Several media outlets reported last week that the White House is considering fashion doyenne Anna Wintour for a possible appointment as U.S. ambassador to Great Britain or France.
The rumored short list also includes Obama campaign finance chairman Matthew Barzun and investment banker Marc Lasry. The three share one common “qualification”: Each raked in more than $500,000 for Team Obama 2012.
Wintour held multiple million-dollar fundraisers for Obama in Hollywood, New York, London and Paris — raking in the fourth highest amount for the Man of the (Glamorous) People. Wintour's $40,000-per-plate dinners attracted Hollywood's biggest leftist celebs.
Before Election Day, the fashion world buzzed over the British-born Vogue editor's behind-the-scenes campaign to intimidate designers into spurning GOP women. Such Chicago-style diplomacy will fit in perfectly with the brass-knuckle-wielder in chief.
If Wintour snags the plum British ambassadorship as rumored, she will succeed another top Obama bundler known as “the vacuum cleaner.” Chicago lawyer and banking mogul Louis Susman (who worked for Salomon Brothers and retired as a Citigroup vice chairman in February 2009) had no diplomatic experience. But he vacayed and sashayed with the Kennedys and the Kerrys in Hyannis Port and Nantucket, siphoned up a total of $240 million for Democrats over the past several decades and bundled upward of $500,000 for Team Obama.
Ambassadorships have long been used as patronage rewards for deep-pocketed donors, of course. Clinton did it. The Bushes did it. And Hopey McChangey immediately followed suit.
In his first term, Obama awarded ambassadorships to California bundler John Roos, who was dispatched to Japan; California bundler and campaign finance co-chair Charles Rivkin, who took up the ambassadorial post in France; law partner and bundler Laurie Fulton, who was sent to Denmark; and Boston money man Alan Solomont, who won the appointment to Spain.
Moreover, a recent investigation by the Government Accountability Institute found that more than half of the most politically active 50 campaign bundlers for Obama won appointments to presidential councils, committees, boards or other White House posts.
Shameless defenders of Obama's business as usual are now floating the sexism card to defend Wintour's possible appointment. It would be sexist not to heap deserved scorn onto the naked back-scratching at play here.
“It is no coincidence that the best bundlers are often granted the greatest access, and access is power in Washington,” a vocal critic of the practice once said. “Special interests,” the critic thundered, have “turned our government into a game only they can afford to play.”
Who said it? Candidate Barack Obama, circa 2007-08.
Forget the “forward” rhetoric. Cut the populist crap. Retro access peddling never goes out of style in Washington. To the victor's elitist bundlers go the spoils.
Michelle Malkin is the author of “Culture of Corruption: Obama and his Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks and Cronies” (Regnery 2009).
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Nearing season’s midpoint, Steelers still have issues to sort out
- Rossi: Fleury is, and will remain, Penguins’ soul
- McKeesport lawmaker’s bill would fund more police by upping fines
- Munhall officials miffed at ex-manager for leaving town
- Clairton residents share concerns over sewage bills
- Police seize phones of some Norwin High School students
- Testing legs, giving backup goalie a chance are Penguins’ priorities
- Ross brothers ordered to pay fine, remove debris from Christmas display
- 2 stores robbed in Alle-Kiski Valley
- W. Mifflin backs drilling at airport
- Steelers film session: Watt kept under control