While he has received little or no criticism from the media, President Barack Obama has continued the practice of awarding major donors with plum diplomatic postings. Now, his ambassador to Luxembourg, Cynthia Stroum, has resigned after an investigation showed such poor management and conduct that embassy staff are in need of emotional counseling.
Obama picked Stroum who is a major democratic donor. He picked her after she helped him collect $500,000 in contributions. That is the equivalent of one dollar for every inhabitant of Luxenbourg.
The Seattle businesswoman was accused by staffers of becoming the Marie Antoinette of the diplomatic corp.
According to an internal State Department report, Stroum abused the staff and spent excessively on wine and comforts. Four staffers reportedly quit and others are in need of counseling.
Staffers accused Stroum of immediately informing them that she put great “importance [on] the perquisites of” being an ambassador. She demanded a suitable house while the ambassador’s residence was being renovated — a search that consumed the staff and its time. She reportedly flew to Switzerland to hire a proper chef from the leading school in Europe. My favorite, however, was her reported objection to the king-sized bed in the residence. She prefers a queen, so she ordered its replaced. I can understand wanting a big bed, but (if you really like a small bed) couldn’t you just sleep on one side of the bed?
What I really find remarkable is the total absence of criticism of Obama for basically selling diplomatic posts to major donors — a practice that he certainly did not invent but he most certainly has continued. I have long found this practice obscene. I actually respect the amount of charity that Stroum has given and her success in life. However, our ambassadors should come from the State Department where they are trained to represent this country.