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Obama Tells Bush-Appointed Ambassadors to Go Home

Politically appointed US ambassadors will be unemployed starting Jan. 20, joining their fellow Americans also on the job hunt. Ambassadors picked by George W. Bush received notice this week that their services will not be needed even for the usual administration transition period.

As the Washington Post points out, Obama's decision does not impact all ambassadors, as many are foreign service officers heading up America's outposts in less crucial countries. But the embassies in places like London, Tokyo, or Paris (located right by the Champs Élysée!) will soon be led by those who have shown loyalty to Obama's candidacy and worldview.

Considering US embassies act as a powerful symbol of America abroad, and sometimes as the sites of anti-American protests, it makes sense that Obama wants to appoint new faces that represent his vision. Does that sound fair to you?


Join The Conversation
Winston22 Winston22 8 years
Big mistake! Ambassadors historically have served for many years over several presidents. Their qualifications are not political. Their qualifications have to do with a speaking and writing command of the language of the country, their knowledge of the culture and political system, their reputation and character, and the esteem and respect with which the leaders of the country hold the ambassador. It is so much more complex than politics and foreign leaders tend not to trust "politically" appointed ambassadors. You need a person in that office who will place our countries best interests above all else and can advise our president based on experience, knowledge and strong relationships with the foreign government. First big mistake of this rookie world leader-placing politics first. How do I know this? I have been personal friends with two former ambassadors and their spouses and I have a pretty darn good understanding of this problem.
Ginger Ginger 8 years
That looks like the photo of Amnesty International's demonstration last January 11, calling for the closure of Guantánamo Bay on the 6th anniversary of the first prisoners arriving. The orange jumpsuits and kneeling position are meant to be representative of the 300+ prisoners still held. They had people dressed as guards, and dogs too. It's just a peaceful expression of their views. Thousands of people around the world held protests that day, including Rome, Sydney and quite a few on the steps of the US Supreme Court. I didn't see much about it in the US media, but it was a world-wide event directed at the US.
venuscat venuscat 8 years
I think the picture you posted is unfair... other than that... of course it's fair to have ambassadors that is in line with the change of the tides.
Jude-C Jude-C 8 years
Sounds fine to me. It makes sense that a drastic change in worldview and international relations philosophy would require a change in our representatives abroad.
stephley stephley 8 years
It's not common policy to keep the last president's political appointees - Obama may be moving up their last day, but these guys knew they were going to be out of work as soon as the votes were counted. And none of them are going to be on the streets begging for work.
Mykie7 Mykie7 8 years
That's a good point nyara, I don't think it's cynical at all. In my thought though, and I don't know the statistics on this, if it's the general policy for the ambassadors to stay on during the transition, then that's what should happen. I think the unceremonious releasing of these ambassadors just points to Obamas lack of experience. If he really knew what he was doing, he'd have looked at the statistics himself, seen that the team is usually left in tact, then that's what he should have done. Again, I don't know the statistics, so if it's not "common policy" for them to stay, then he's perfectly fine in doing what he did. If not though, I really question it.
nyaradzom2001 nyaradzom2001 8 years
It's the truth people are complaining about ambassadors who have more money than the average man ont he street yet people are being laid off everyday yet noone is asking the companies to keep them on while they transition or to help them get new jobs, people get fired everyday and people need to deal with it.
StolzeMama StolzeMama 8 years
Why so cynical nyara?
nyaradzom2001 nyaradzom2001 8 years
What makes ambassadors better than other people who have been fired, if they don't get help finding new jobs why should ambassadors being fired be anymore special??
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 8 years
This is what is usually done its not "BO Change" like its some brand newfangled policy made up by him. bye ambassadors thanks for your service to this country!
kranky kranky 8 years
pequena (sorry, don't know how to do the tilda, but would love to learn) - I *think* the photo is of the US Embassy in London (hideously ugly building, IMO). Looks to me like those might be Amnesty International folks kneeling in front of it... must be protest of the War or something. :? I find it kinda shocking that Obama is not allowing ambassadors to stay on during the transition. One of the main jobs of the diplomatica corps is to establish relationships in the countries in which they work. Just because Obama and Bush have different foriegn policies doesn't mean that old and new ambassadors wouldn't work with the same people, and the old ambassadors could help the new transition smoothly. But hey - it's Obama's amdinistration, so he gets to call the shots.
bellaressa bellaressa 8 years
When I was looking at the jobs of the New Administration, the jobs specifically say you will only have the job for the term of the President; I figured most jobs are like this as new administration comes in, the old one moves out and the new one takes control. Yeah, it would be nice for them to keep their jobs a little longer but this is the reality, people get fired and laid off and must move on. Must be horrible for companies that are laying off people now without even helping them find a job and they are trying to network or even apply places.
beavis667 beavis667 8 years
Seems to me there were a bunch of folks on the left who were up in arms because Bush fired a bunch of Clinton appointed lawyers at the Justice Department. Is it only okay to fire prior appointees if you are the Messiah?
bsglrok132 bsglrok132 8 years
It's fair if he appointed new ambassadors according to their knowledge of diplomacy and the culture/language of the country they are in, because U.S. diplomats are almost always seriously lacking in those areas.
gbychan gbychan 8 years
:puzzled: Why doesn't Obama allow them to go through "the usual administration transition period"? Gee, what's the rush? Let them serve the rest of their appointed terms like everyone else. He'll have a chance to replace them soon enough.
StolzeMama StolzeMama 8 years
Why are people so heartless? These people were not Bush. Get over you "change we need" slogan. It's lame. These are people just like you and me, and you have to admit losing your job right now stinks. But, you know it's all about change!!!!
StolzeMama StolzeMama 8 years
AI don't have a problem with it as it would have happened eventually. But I agree in these rough times, even having a job for 2 more months would be a help. Not even a month after christmas and you lose you job. Just stinks. I hope Obama will help them find other jobs as most good employers do.
Captivate Captivate 8 years
There's some of that change we've been looking forward to.
moosie moosie 8 years
smart move
janneth janneth 8 years
Can't wait to see who gets France.
stephley stephley 8 years
From the article: "Political ambassadors sometimes are permitted to stay on briefly during a new administration, but the sweeping nature of the directive suggests that Obama has little interest in retaining any of Bush's ambassadorial appointees."
UnDave35 UnDave35 8 years
Isn't this what every President does? You call for the resignations of all "staff" from the previous administration, and then either reappoint those you like, or replace them with someone you do.
ilanac13 ilanac13 8 years
this is typical for the changing of the guard so you can't really think that this is out of the blue. i'm sure that they knew that their time in their role was going to come to an end eventually. it does suck that it's in these rough financial times, but what can you do right? all of Bush's supporters should have been sending out their resume for a while.
pequeña pequeña 8 years
That's actually what I expected him to do. Where is the picture from?
Lilie Lilie 8 years
The US embassy in Paris is not on the Champs Elysées, but at the Place de la Concorde, at the end of the Champs actually :) Pretty impressive place though, probably one of the safest and most guarded in Paris. The FIA is just next to it, and the Palais de l'Elysée (our "White House") is one block away. I can't wait to see who Obama will name to those jobs. Sure to be pretty interesting !
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