July 05, 2011
NYC Letter: Dziękujemy Panie Prezydencie! -- "Petty Partisanship"
Day 896 of CHOPE
Chas Fagan's big statue of Ronald Reagan was unveiled yesterday outside the U.S. Embassy in London. This was followed by a gala dinner at Guildhall for 700 invitees. Two conspicuous absences diminished the festivities. Lady Thatcher could not attend because of her frailty. Not so the American ambassador to to the Court of St. James's, who skipped the gala.
RONALD WILSON REAGAN
February 6, 1911 – June 5, 2004
Grosvenor Square, London, England
July 5, 2011
July 5, 2011 (LES) - It was one of the most glittering events of the year, attracting some of the greatest names in American and British politics...[but] one notable absence was the hottest topic among guests at the Guildhall dinner in honour of Ronald Reagan's centenary.
Where was the American ambassador to London, Louis B Susman?
He had, it soon transpired, been invited. But despite a guest list that boasted four British Cabinet ministers, ex-Prime Minister, nine US congressmen and a senator and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, there was no sign of President Obama's* representative in London. And in a warm atmosphere evoking the closest days of the special Anglo-US relationship of the Eighties, the surprise at Mr Susman's absence turned to annoyance.
"Our ambassador should be here," said Lynn de Rothschild, the American entrepreneur who is married to Sir Evelyn de Rothschild and was one of Hillary Clinton's key fundraisers in 2008 as well as a supporter of several Republican presidential candidates. "This was an historic dinner to mark Reagan's centenary and to celebrate him as the man who ended the Cold War. What could not be more important?
"Why is our ambassador not here on Independence Day? No excuse. How is it that America is not represented in this room by our ambassador? It is appalling that no representative of our government is in this room. This has the feel of petty partisanship."
Ambassador Susman is, of course, a long-standing Democrat fundraiser, nicknamed the vaccuum cleaner for his skill at sucking donations out of the wealthy. And his efforts to fill Obama's campaign pockets was said by many to be his main qualification to come to London.
According to the US embassy spokesman: "Ambassador Susman was pleased to be invited to the dinner but was unable to attend." ... And where was he? The embassy won't say.
One of the burdens of ambassadorships is to represent the country that appoints you. This often fills the calendar with fancy-dress galas, where the ambassador is required to scarf tons of buffalo Wellington in puff pastry with mushroom duxelle, strawberry brie bruschetta, smoked trout mousse in cucumber boat, chipotle shrimp won tons, and that hardy perennial, the cocktail wienie. Add to these hardships boozing into the night on Schramsberg blanc de blancs and cutting that sour mouth gargling with Cristal 2002. It's hell. [Pause.] But that's the job Mr. Susman signed on for and he should have put in an appearance.
Too busy for ambassadorial duties.
* Ironically Mr. Susman was also a Reagan appointee, nominated by Mr. Reagan to the United States Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy. So much for the enduring affection from political favors.
The other morning I wandered down to Grosvenor Square to see the July 4th unveiling of a statue of President Ronald Reagan, despite reports that only a handful of people would be there. That invaluable piece of intelligence was handed down by the the Hon. Louis B. Susman, our ambassador... Actually, the crowd Monday morning numbered in the thousands and many had to be turned away. There were hundreds more who turned out in the evening at an elaborate black tie tribute to the 40th president at Guildhall that was more than a tribute to Reagan. ... I liked the Hon. Susman’s crowd estimate. It shows how attuned to the times he and all his Liberal friends are. They are now predicting an Obama victory in 2012, and when it fails to take place they will change the subject.Posted by Damian at July 5, 2011 11:45 PM