Clinton to ambassadors: Don’t move!


U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton at the airport in Cartagena, Colombia, on Sunday en route to Brazil. (Jacquelyn Martin/AP)

And even if your family doesn’t think you’re so cool, everyone else is bowing and scraping and calling you “your excellency.”

But after a while, even that apparently gets old. And we’re told that the excellencies tend to get antsy about coming home after their three-year assignments in Rome, London and such.

Despite the perks, some apparently want to leave their $160,000-a-year government jobs and resume lucrative careers. Many were preparing to do that during the summer or around election time.

Not so fast, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told the 60 or so political ambassadors in town for a meeting last month for all ambassadors.

In what, as far as we can tell, is an unprecedented “request,” Clinton told them to stay at their posts until “the Senate has confirmed a replacement.”

Sure, there’s an election, she told them, but “the foreign policy of the United States . . . does not stop for elections. It requires consistent direction and management. So it is important that our ambassadors work to remain at their posts until either the Senate has confirmed a replacement or specific departure instructions are given.”

“We don’t know if we will get people confirmed in the current political climate,” Clinton said, “so we very much encourage you insofar as possible to stay.”

The pronouncement, one former Bush administration ambassador observed, may be “the first time in history ambassadors are urged to stay versus the good old days when they were encouraged to leave so that others can get a chance to ‘serve’ and the White House can take care of yet another donor.”

Of course, if Romney wins, all of them will be “freed” to come home no later than Jan. 20. If Obama wins, they could be imprisoned in those mansions for a long, long time.

Well, worse things can happen.

Al Kamen, an award-winning columnist on the national staff of The Washington Post, created the “In the Loop” column in 1993.

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