Let me begin by noting my early perplexity (to put it mildly) regarding the Obama-Kmiec political relationship. Kmiec took a lot of heat from (former?) friends for his high-profile support of Obama.
The Malta posting was a nice reward, in some ways no different from the other more-or-less anodyne postings given to political supporters. But the gestures accompanying Kmiec’s appointment indicated that there wasin the eyes of some, at leastmore to it than just a standard political thank you note. Kmiec was apparently led to believe that he had a mandate to foster interreligious understandingan apparently important part of Obama’s “new and improved” faith-based initiative.
But when he acted in the ways in which you’d expect a law professor/public intellectual-turned-diplomat to act on this belief, some people in Foggy Bottom apparently were unhappy with him . Hence the criticism and, finally, the resignation. (That doesn’t mean Kmiec is blameless, only that there were probably other agendas at work here.)
The more things change, the more they remain the same. We’ve all heard stories about how, in the Bush Administration, some (many? all?) of the political people didn’t take the faith-based initiative seriously. As in so many other ways (some good, some bad), the Obama Administration has failed to distinguish itself from its predecessors.
Update: I guess I didn’t dig deeply enough and connect the dots. It turns out that Kmiec was the victim of his erstwhile conservative friends, who played political hardball and got him turfed from his Ambassadorship. The real puppet-masters in the Obama Administration are those pesky religious conservatives.