Even though I thought that reports of a possible Anna Wintour ambassadorship were wishful thinking, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney's unwillingness to quash the rumors when they came up at a press conference a few days ago makes it seem quite possible.
So now people are asking the question: Would the Vogue editor make a good ambassador? Not easy to come up with an answer.
On the "pro" side, it seems clear that the British-born editor has strong ties to the European establishment (her father was a newspaper magnate in the UK), business acumen (so, presumably, she has the ability to negotiate and be discreet), and loyalty to the President (she was one of Obama's top bundlers in the 2010 election).
On the "con" side, she already has a job, she doesn't have immediate experience in diplomacy, hers is not the cuddliest public image, and (maybe most importantly) it's not clear what kind of message it sends to appoint someone whose power lies in dressing very young, very thin, mostly white women in clothing most U.S. citizens can't afford to one of our most prominent diplomatic posts.
Skepticism about Wintour's qualifications and experience have been labeled as sexism, but I think there are legitimate reasons to be wary of an Anna ambassadorship.
First: on the level of optics, Wintour is maybe not the best face for an America that's struggling to remain a place of opportunity for all kinds of different people.
Second: the Vogue editor might be great at selling ads and magazines, but the glossy has sometimes struggled to anticipate controversy when it dips its toe into even the shallowest political waters. Last year's profile of Asma al-Assad, Syria's First Lady, caused such an uproar, Vogue had to take it down from the Internet.
But most importantly: Donald Trump has come out in support of the possible appointment. The businessman's success is very mysterious to me (presumably he was a touch sharper when he was young), because today he is the polar opposite of good judgment. If you needed confirmation that an Anna Wintour European ambassadorship would be a bad idea, Trump's endorsement is it:
- Possible Consequences of an Anna Wintour UK or French Ambassadorship
- The Obama Campaign Panders to SATC Diehards with a SJP Fundraiser, TV Spot
- How Anna Wintour Got Wrangled Into 'Bark for Barack'
Image via WENN