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These are not the Reditioned Canadiens your looking for
December 27, 2005 11:33 AM   Subscribe

What you get when a Cars Salesman is your Ambassador Do you get the idea that this whole administration is new to this whole diplomacy thing It seems the only way the truth is admitted is under glaring pressure by our allies.
posted by Elim (48 comments total)

 
It's so weird that the Neocons have such a hard-on for invading Syria, and yet the Syrians are apperantly doing our bidding w.r.t torture.
posted by delmoi at 11:37 AM on December 27, 2005


Well, no, I get the idea that this administration doesn't honestly give a shit about the whole diplomacy thing. It's only foreigners who are yelling at them for not being reality-based, after all. So when their creativity is criticized in one of those foreign countries, they issue a clarification. Or an airstrike.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 11:41 AM on December 27, 2005


Why the heck does the article end with this comment:

Speaking to students in Manchester after Hurricane Katrina, Tuttle criticised the Mayor of New Orleans and rejected claims that the aftermath revealed America's racial problems, saying: "It's not a race issue at all."
posted by dios at 11:45 AM on December 27, 2005


more here - self link - about his last cock-up.

and to think he came here with high expectations - or at least the hope that he wouldn't be as much of a disaster as the last one.
posted by quarsan at 11:47 AM on December 27, 2005


Sounds familiar: the US proposed to send Roland Arnall, billionaire (106 on Forbes list), owner of Ameriquest, as US ambassador to the Netherlands. No political experience at all but donated at least 12 million dollars to the Republicans.
posted by jouke at 11:55 AM on December 27, 2005


Why the heck does the article end with this comment...?

Probably because it was originally sidebar text in the print edition. Online editions of various publications often include the sidebar after the end of the main article, and generally do this fairly haphazardly. The Independent's method, while clearly lacking, is pretty good by comparison to the total mess in which sidebar text often appears on some papers' websites; your clue in this case is the new headline and byline.
posted by kowalski at 12:03 PM on December 27, 2005


Dios I saw that too. I though it was a hold over from a previous edit. I ignored it...
posted by Elim at 12:03 PM on December 27, 2005


Sounds familiar: the US proposed to send Roland Arnall, billionaire (106 on Forbes list), owner of Ameriquest, as US ambassador to the Netherlands. No political experience at all but donated at least 12 million dollars to the Republicans.

I thought that was the way ambassadors were assigned, honestly, especially to countries where relations will always be mild. Ambassador to Israel or Egypt has to have a lot of regional experience, but wouldn't the ambassador to the Netherlands or Luxembourg or whatever just need to hang out and go to parties and stuff?
posted by b_thinky at 12:13 PM on December 27, 2005


i would have no problems with a car salesman being an ambassador , if the abovesaid car salesman was as good as a well experienced diplomat. Which is possible, but not probable..indeed an experienced car salesman would probably say there's a limit to social skills, then it's all about what you're selling...or proposing, or negotiating.

From the abovelinked article

He served as director for presidential personnel in Ronald Reagan's White House. He was given the rank of "Pioneer" in President George Bush's re-election campaign last year, signifying that he had raised more than $100,000 in contributions.

Pioneer ? That sent a shiver down my spine... giving ranks to donators ? Little boy scout, senior little wolf or whatever ? Is there a hierachy like Balilla, Avanguardista and Fascist ?
posted by elpapacito at 12:29 PM on December 27, 2005


I happen to know Mr. Tuttle. He is an extremely smart man, and very capable in all aspects. He may not have extensive diplomatic service, but he does have lots of ties to England in addition to personal connections with British power brokers, which is probably why he's serving there despite the lack of experience.

He may not be doing a great job, but having worked with him I can say that he is definitely capable, and not there JUST because of political donations.
posted by cell divide at 12:29 PM on December 27, 2005


cell divide: Do you think Mr. Tuttle may have some strong conflict of interest when dealing with a country in which he may have some relevant interest ? Just making an hypothesis.

Could that be a problem ?
posted by elpapacito at 12:32 PM on December 27, 2005


What you get when a front page post is worded like a text message from a twelve year old is something close to unintelligible and devoid of any punctuation at all oh and not to mention the run on sentence.
posted by damnthesehumanhands at 12:38 PM on December 27, 2005


cell divide: Do you think Mr. Tuttle may have some strong conflict of interest when dealing with a country in which he may have some relevant interest

That kind of leads into an interesting question. Is it better to have a diplomat who has a strong history with a country, and therefore may have biases, or one with little knowledge of the country, and therefore little ability to relate to the people he's talking with?

Incidentally, wasn't Gerald Ford much worse for making Shirley Temple an ambassador? :)
posted by unreason at 12:39 PM on December 27, 2005


elpapacito: in the case of the UK or most G8 nations I would think not. it actually would give him an edge, (although inthis case you couldn't tell) as he would have an Idea or the Moral Norms and mannerisms ahead of time, or at least be forgiven any Fuax Pas, due to his freindship and familiarity with those in the same social circle in the host country.
posted by Elim at 12:39 PM on December 27, 2005


As a liberal, I don't think it's justified at all to purposely mislead this post with that kind of title. He's not a car salesman - he was a partner in a car dealership. He was an assistant to Regan starting in 1982. Does this mean I like the man or need to defend him? No, but I'm stating the facts in the article.

Coming out and trying to shoot down someone's character by implying he's a snake-oil used car salesman type is not the approach that we need.
posted by MJ6 at 12:57 PM on December 27, 2005


unreason:

There could also be a diplomat that spent lots of time in a without developing particularly severe biases and a diplomat that spent little time in a country yet be very socially competent, refreshing and able to open relations with emerging sectors of economy and finance.

I think that time spent in a country can't be taken alone as the most or the only significant factor when evaluating which diplomat is better ; indeed one could sit years in a private company or in a embassy and learn nothing..or too little to be of any use.

Indeed diplomats may function as channels for private companies, but I'd rather have them work for sectors and coalition of interests (national interest) instead of single points of excellence , as the likelyhood that an otherwise fine diplomat is replaced because he doesn't favour any particular interest in the group increase exponentially when there's a few big players.

Of course when your ambassador runs a company..well the other one better, as they say in the elite circle, shut the fuck up because nobody is listening.
posted by elpapacito at 12:58 PM on December 27, 2005


damn: yes it was missing two periods, but the proper capitalization made it clear where they belonged. To say it was "close to unintelligible" speaks more to your literacy than his. Also, your statement reveals you are not familiar with either text messages or 12 year olds. Possibly both. So in the interest of education may I submit the following:

omg car dealr n uk wtf bush y not sum1 betr?

He may not be doing a great job, but having worked with him I can say that he is definitely capable

Mind to expand on this? Why do you think it is he is doing a bad job even though he is capable? Wouldn't that pretty much mean he was incapable, basically by definition? Do you think that being a good businessman is a substitute for diplomatic ability or knowledge?

Could it be that you are impressed with his ability to gather wealth rather than his intellectual ability?
posted by Ynoxas at 1:01 PM on December 27, 2005


Sounds familiar: the US proposed to send Roland Arnall, billionaire (106 on Forbes list), owner of Ameriquest, as US ambassador to the Netherlands. No political experience at all but donated at least 12 million dollars to the Republicans.

b_thinky: I thought that was the way ambassadors were assigned, honestly, especially to countries where relations will always be mild.

To me as a european it is just extremely strange that one may buy a position in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Here only people of exceptional skills get selected for these kind of roles.

I guess there's nepotism in the Netherlands too, but not that unabashedly.
posted by jouke at 1:04 PM on December 27, 2005


For god's sake, the man's name is Tuttle. Doesn't anybody see the connection here?
posted by SteveInMaine at 1:17 PM on December 27, 2005


damnthesehumanhands so I have a typing impedement. So what? Besides your mom is so -insert insult here- that she -insert rest of insult here-, SO THERE! NYAH!
posted by Elim at 1:22 PM on December 27, 2005


Interesting that US readers would think the spoils system of ambassadorial appointments was the norm. My expectation would be that in most nations it is professionalised via the Civil Service. Am I wrong?
posted by A189Nut at 1:26 PM on December 27, 2005


I'm disappointed.

I thought this was going to be a story about Mel Sembler and his penis pump.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 1:27 PM on December 27, 2005


yes it was missing two periods

Actually, I thought the post was missing a period and a question mark. But, whatever.

omg car dealr n uk wtf bush y not sum1 betr?

Wow. Just...wow.
posted by damnthesehumanhands at 1:30 PM on December 27, 2005


Mind to expand on this? Why do you think it is he is doing a bad job even though he is capable?

I said, "he may not be doing a great job". Two incidents in what ought to be a few years on the job is not horrendous, or maybe it is? I don't know all that much about how to judge a diplomats term in office. I was merely countering the assertion that he was a 'car salesman' and thus incapable of doing the job.

Wouldn't that pretty much mean he was incapable, basically by definition?

Uh, no. Capable means able to do the job and has little to do with the actual performance. As has been mentioned, he doesn't have a huge area of expertise in diplomacy, so perhaps he's learning on the job? I'm definitely not trying to excuse his glaring errors (which may be more errors of his bosses, in any case), but only to chime in that I know him, worked with him, and was impressed by his mind.

Could it be that you are impressed with his ability to gather wealth rather than his intellectual ability?

At the time I worked with him, I didn't realize the extent of his wealth. Obviously I knew he had money as he was one of the funders of the project, but I genuinely thought he was a smart, capable person who had an enormous apprecition for art, culture, politics, finance, etc.
posted by cell divide at 1:30 PM on December 27, 2005


Why the heck does the article end with this comment:

Presumably, Dios, because that was the only other thing he's said or done that had any impact whatsoever on the British news media, so it's included as a kind of aide memoir.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 1:30 PM on December 27, 2005


so I have a typing impedement. So what? Besides your mom is so -insert insult here- that she -insert rest of insult here-, SO THERE! NYAH!

I must have come off more harsh than I intended. My main gripe is that when I read a phrase that's obviously a question like: "Do you get the idea that this whole administration is new to this whole diplomacy thing" which doesn't end with a question mark, it makes my brain hurt. My apologies for the sarcastic tone.
posted by damnthesehumanhands at 1:33 PM on December 27, 2005


No worries, I have a grammer and spelling problem. most here know it. I am thick-skinned about it, and could not help the little dig (which I hope was taken as the snarky pointless aside, that was intended).

I know I must learn proper grammer, but english is a second language to me "and I forgot the first".
posted by Elim at 1:39 PM on December 27, 2005


apologies cell divide, but the evidence is that he isn't capable.

not at all.
posted by quarsan at 1:42 PM on December 27, 2005


My expectation would be that in most nations it is professionalised via the Civil Service. Am I wrong?
With regard to most nations, probably you're not wrong. With regard to the U.S. of A., sad to say, you are. Our government does have a civil-service apparatus, but ambassadors are typically not picked from within it.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 1:43 PM on December 27, 2005


Presumably, Dios, because that was the only other thing he's said or done that had any impact whatsoever on the British news media, so it's included as a kind of aide memoir.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 3:30 PM CST on December 27


So his comment that the New Orleans clean up was not a racial issue was somehow controversial or impacted British media? How? Does such a comment effect anyone's view of him? Of course, some of my confusion might stem from the fact that I am operating under the assumption that all reasonable people view the Kanye West way of looking at Katrina as sheer poppycock, so his statement seems relatively benign to me.
posted by dios at 1:43 PM on December 27, 2005


I'm not sure what a person's previous career really has to do with their ability to be a good ambassador. I mean, look at Shirley Temple, for crying out loud.
posted by JekPorkins at 1:50 PM on December 27, 2005


Interesting that US readers would think the spoils system of ambassadorial appointments was the norm. My expectation would be that in most nations it is professionalized via the Civil Service. Am I wrong?

I dunno, but this is the way it's always been here, at least for ambassadorships that don't really matter.

I am operating under the assumption that all reasonable people view the Kanye West way of looking at Katrina as sheer poppycock, so his statement seems relatively benign to me.

That's quite an assumption to make.
posted by delmoi at 2:03 PM on December 27, 2005


delmoi: I dunno, but this is the way it's always been here, at least for ambassadorships that don't really matter.

Are you suggesting Mr.Tuttle is just a conference room human heater ? Doubt a man with a long experience in business is accepting a useless position..I'd rather have refused while thanking profusely for the offer.
posted by elpapacito at 2:10 PM on December 27, 2005


I think the point is that the ambassador to England is a pointless position. The countries are extremely closely allied. There is no real cultural divide. The leaders speak on a consistent basis and have direct lines of communications with each other. What does the ambassador of England do when Blair can call Bush whenever he wants to and vice versa?
posted by dios at 2:13 PM on December 27, 2005


Dios, I would agree until he says something embarrassing like this chap did. If he was appointed to have a quiet cushy job, then the least he could do is not make waves, Heck "RAINMAN" could have done at least that.
posted by Elim at 2:35 PM on December 27, 2005


Dios : Of course, some of my confusion might stem from the fact that I am operating under the assumption that all reasonable people view the Kanye West way of looking at Katrina as sheer poppycock

I would say that operating under that assumption would lead to all manner of confusion. Cheers for the "poppycock" thing though, Mr Van Dyke.
posted by fullerine at 3:12 PM on December 27, 2005


The US also has a car salesman as ambassador in Romania, too.

He's a Pioneer too. He apparently raised $456,000 for Bush.
posted by Masi at 3:24 PM on December 27, 2005


Dear United Kingdom and Romania:

Sorry about the Ambassador. We tried to get his boss out of office, but it didn't work out.

Sincerely,
The Blue States.
posted by ilsa at 3:45 PM on December 27, 2005


Of course, some of my confusion might stem from the fact that I am operating under the assumption that all reasonable people view the Kanye West way of looking at Katrina as sheer poppycock, so his statement seems relatively benign to me.

So, Dios, any thoughts on the preceding 98% of the article? You know, the part that constitutes the entire point of the post?
posted by Armitage Shanks at 4:38 PM on December 27, 2005


Of course, some of my confusion might stem from the fact that I am operating under the assumption that all reasonable people view the Kanye West way of looking at Katrina as sheer poppycock

West was only partially wrong. George Bush doesn't care about POOR people. The poor people in NO just happened to be black.
posted by Ynoxas at 4:40 PM on December 27, 2005


What does the ambassador of England do when Blair can call Bush whenever he wants to and vice versa?

The ambassador may be doing whatever else, Bush and Blair are just two "leaders" while ambassadors represent countries . Certainly an ambassador can be changed to please whatever political current is in power, but it shoud be done in the best interest of the country as a whole , NOT in the interest of that or the other party.
posted by elpapacito at 4:51 PM on December 27, 2005


I think the headline is somewhat misleading, because it assumes that the White House did not approve the lie.
posted by clevershark at 8:07 PM on December 27, 2005


Welcome to the american political system. If you're rich & you can raise vast pantloads of cash for the running candidates' campaigns and your candidate happens to win, so do you. Ambassadorship is the carrot at the end of the political stick, no more no less.

It's really fucking sad...
posted by whozyerdaddy at 8:14 PM on December 27, 2005


I dunno, but this is the way it's always been here, at least for ambassadorships that don't really matter.

We here in New Zealand love the constant reminder that we don't matter, having had a string of such ambassadors from the US. I'm sure all the other countries that don't matter love it too.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 8:45 PM on December 27, 2005


If you're rich & you can raise vast pantloads of cash for the running candidates' campaigns and your candidate happens to win, so do you.
Exactly whoz. I just can't imagine that american voters accept this since it leads inexorably to large corporations buying influence.

I think it is wrong that only millionaires and people who make promises to large corporations should be able to run for president.

But then I'm not an USian, I'm a Dutchlander.
posted by jouke at 10:16 PM on December 27, 2005


Yes i_am, so you guys in Nieuw Zeeland like it just as much.
posted by jouke at 10:22 PM on December 27, 2005


since it leads inexorably to large corporations buying influence.

Again, welcome to American politics. We have the best politicians that money can buy; we're the envy of the world, actually. The corporate world.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 6:24 AM on December 28, 2005


A little off-topic, but hypothetical questions don't require question marks. They do, however, require some sort of punctuation.
posted by maxsparber at 6:43 AM on December 28, 2005


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