I’m pretty sure that if George Tsunis were the ambassadorial nominee of a Republican president, you’d know his name by now. As it is, he is the nominee of Barack Obama to represent the United States as ambassador to Norway, and you probably have never heard of him.
Tsunis’s sole qualification for the job is quantitative. He contributed large sums to the Democratic Party and Democratic causes; he also bundled an even larger amount of contributions to Obama’s 2012 presidential campaign.
Tsunis is an adaptable kind of guy. In 2008 he also contributed large amounts to Republican causes.
Tsunis’s qualification for the position is in part traditional (though Obama may be raising the practice “to a new level”). It is probably not traditional, however, for the ambassadorial nominee to know as little as Tsunis does about the country to which he is headed.
In case you missed it, here is a nice set of video highlights from Tsunis’s testimony. Stick with the video for Tsunis’s response to what he characterizes as “a seminal question” posed by John McCain. It turns out that Tsunis’s answer too is “seminal” in its own way. It is comically seminal.
Nina Berglund captures the Norwegian reaction to Mr. Tsunis’s testimony in “New ambassador stumbles at the start.” Here’s the summary at the top of Berglund’s article:
As Norwegian media put it, the wealthy Greek-American businessman who’s been nominated to be the next US ambassador to Norway “tråkket i salaten” (trampled through the salad bowl) at his recent US Senate confirmation hearing. George J Tsunis’ confusion over Norway’s form of government and who’s actually in it was sparking reaction in Norway on Thursday.