Thursday, April 24, 2008

Two for the price of one

A new twist in George Bush's wheeze of appointing his former ambassador to the EU, C. Boyden Gray, who was never confirmed by the Senate, as Special Envoy to the EU (after the clock on his unconfirmed appointment ran out): he has now nominated an actual ambassador to the same job, who presumably will serve alongside the "Special Envoy" --

The President intends to nominate Kristen Silverberg, of Texas, to be Representative of the United States of America to the European Union, with the rank and status of Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary. Ms. Silverberg currently serves as Assistant Secretary of State (International Organization Affairs). Prior to this, she served as Deputy Assistant to the President and Advisor to the Chief of Staff at the White House. Earlier in her career, she served as a law clerk to Justice Clarence Thomas and Judge David Sentelle. Ms. Silverberg received her bachelor's degree from Harvard University and her JD from the University of Texas.

Thus she will be unusual as one of Bush's nominees for a junketeering ambassadorship, which usually go to campaign donors, in that she may have some actual foreign policy qualifications. She may even be, as Dan Froomkin of the Washington Post reported, a nice person. But make no mistake about the connections: the clerkships with two of the loony Right's favourite judges (here's more about Sentelle) and the stints in the White House (sitting, as Froomkin points out, in Karl Rove's old office).

Once the European Union people sort out whether they deal with Gray or her on particular issues, they can take consolation in the fact that Bush has sent two of his inner legal/foreign circle to do the job.

UPDATE: Bush has formally withdrawn Gray's 16 month old nomination for the ambassador job.

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