— Domani Spero
[twitter-follow screen_name=’Diplopundit’ ]
This past August, we blogged about the social media campaign opposing the nomination of George Tsunis to be ambassador to Norway (see Opposition to George J. Tsunis Nomination as Norway Ambassador Now a Social Media Campaign). At that time we wrote:
Given the many challenges facing our country these days, we don’t think the White House appreciates this new kind of headache. I mean, who would? But we also suspect that it would not withdraw the nomination on its own. Once it nominated Mr. Tsunis, the WH is bound to stand by its nominee. The only way we think the WH would withdraw this nomination is if Mr. Tsunis , himself, withdraws his name from consideration. That might be the most prudent action for Mr. Tsunis to do here. That would give President Obama a fresh start.
It took a while but today, it finally happened.
“It is over,” Tsunis said in a telephone interview with Newsday’s Tom Brune. He did not withdraw his nomination, the Senate clock simply ran out, but he did say he would decline to be nominated again for the 114th Congress. President Obama now has an opportunity to pick a new nominee as ambassador to the Kingdom of Norway.The White House Office of Personnel needs to find a new nominee, and hopefully that will happen fairly quickly and with more thought put into it.
A Senate aide confirmed Tsunis was out. Senate Democrats had attempted to wrap many unconfirmed nominees into a package for approval, Tsunis said, but the final measure left out his nomination.
Tsunis said he was grateful to be considered and went through a “tremendous life-learning experience.”
Tsunis said he would decline to be nominated again in the next Congress.
“I don’t think anybody would think it’s a good idea,” he said. “Norway has been without an ambassador for two years and the overarching thing should be: Let’s get them a first-rate ambassador.”
Read in full here.
Among the three most controversial nominees this cycle, two had already been confirmed. The one difference with the Tsunis nomination is that unlike the Mamet and Bell nominations, there were people who active lobbied Congress not to confirm this nomination. It turned out that the Norwegian-Americans in Minnesota and the Dakotas were pretty hard headed once they got their mind on one thing. And they nagged their elected representatives. Once the entire congressional delegations of Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota went on the record to oppose this nomination,this was on life support.
The most recent ambassador to Norway, Barry White departed post in the fall of 2013. We should note for the record that we haven’t had a career ambassador appointed as US Ambassador to Oslo since President Lyndon Johnson appointed Margaret Joy Tibbetts, a career FSO sent there in 1964 and served until 1969.
There’s a lesson here somewhere, pay attention.
* * *
- 15 Former AFSA Presidents Urge Senators to Oppose Confirmation of Ambassadorial Nominees to Norway, Hungary, and Argentina
- SFRC Clears Barber, Bell, Tsunis, Harper, Talwar, Rose, Gottemoeller, Chacon, Carroll (diplopundit.net)
- Norwegian-Americans Petition For Withdrawal of Tsunis Nomination as Ambassador to Norway (diplopundit.net)
- US Embassy Norway: Emergency Message on Foreign Fighters Returned From Syria Threat (diplopundit.net)
- US Embassy Oslo: Clueless on Norway, Murder Boards Next?(diplopundit.net)
Several lifetimes ago when I was an FSO much of my time was spent preparing briefing materials on countries for various officials. Has that stopped in the case of Ambassadors-designate, or was this guy just to arrogant to sit still for a half-day and get read in on the country he to which he supposedly wanted to be the personal representative of the President of the United States of America?