by MONITOR
IT is an interesting commentary on discussion of political fund-raising that rumours in Washington DC suggest one of Barack Obama's biggest fund-raisers is about to be nominated as Ambassador to Britain -- one of the most prestigious diplomatic appointments at the president's disposal. Louis Susman, a banker, is a Chicagoan who talent-spotted Barack Obama some six years ago and has promoted his presidential prospects ever since; from various sources he raised a total of $500'000 for Obama's election campaign. Wealthy and supportive businessmen are often appointed to desirable diplomatic posts such as London and Paris; the previous incumbent in London, appointed by George W Bush, had been a prosperous car-dealer in California. Little has been seen or heard of him - the permanent diplomatic staff take on the responsibility. However, during his election campaign Obama gave the impression that ending senior appointments based on financial contributions would be one of the reforms he had in mind as part of his commitment to “change in Washington”. It is, of course, for every country to decide how to select its ambassadors but there is a strong argument for the advantages of fully trained diplomats. If the 71-year-old Mr Susman is indeed the President's choice to take possession of the 12 acres ambassadorial property adjoining Regent's Park in London only the process of Senate approval will stand in his way.