Washington is such a “me too” town. Once the professional pundits and news makers decide what the story de jure is going to be, they pound it home with all the quiet subtlety of a jack hammer breaking up concrete.
This week the story was someone looked around and said, “Hey! President Obama sure is picking a lot of White guys for his Cabinet vacancies.”
Looking to shape his second term support team, the president announced his choices of Senator John Kerry as his new Secretary of State, John Brennan to replace the disgraced David Petraeus as head the C.I.A., elevated his White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew to Treasury Secretary and tapped former Senator Chuck Hagel, a Republican to be the Defense Secretary.
Out came the long knives.
Margaret Carlson, Bloomburg News columnist: At the rate he is going, Obama is going to have a Cabinet that looks more like the Augusta National Golf Club than America.
Congressman Charles Rangel (D-NY): “It’s embarrassing as hell. We’ve been through all of this with [2012 GOP presidential nominee] Mitt Romney. And we were very hard with Mitt Romney with the women binder and a variety of things and I kind of think there’s no excuse with the second term.”
Rosa Brooks, Foreign Policy columinst: To use one of President Obama’s favorite phrases, “Let me be clear”: I have nothing against white guys. I have a white guy for a father, two white guys as brothers, and a white guy husband. I love them all. But all the same, it sure would be nice to see a few more girls in the club. In particular, President Obama missed a historic opportunity to be the president who appoints the first female secretary of defense.
John Dickerson, CBS News politics contributor: “If the president is being judged quickly on race and gender issues, it may be because he taught people to do that. In his campaign there was not a race or gender issue that the Obama campaign didn’t jump on when it came to Mitt Romney and the Republicans, and so now he’s feeling a little bit of that heat himself.”
Mike Huckabee, former Republican governor of Arkansas: “Now a lot of those females who supported Barack Obama are scratching their heads, and they’re saying, ‘Whoa! How come there is so much testosterone in the Obama Cabinet and so little estrogen?’” Because if you look around, all of these high-powered appointments that he is making are all white guys.”
A loser like Huckabee is as White as a Kleenex and he’s taking pot shots at the president over “diversity?” Oh, hell no.
Take a moment to soak in the sublime hypocrisy of the overwhelmingly White and predominantly male mainstream media criticizing the Black man who happens to be the President of the United States for not having enough diversity in his appointments. Like everyone else, I would like to see more women, more people of color and more than White guys sitting around Obama at Cabinet meetings. Lisa Jackson is leaving the Environmental Protection Agency and Hilda Soltis has stepped down as Secretary of Labor. There’s two more chances for an infusion of diversity.
However, it shouldn’t make eyes roll every time Obama chooses testosterone over estrogen. Sometimes the best man for the job happens to be a man and a White one at that. Isn’t that what a colorblind society is striving for? Content of character over the color of skin and all that jazz?
I do wonder how many of the self-styled experts on diversity were around when Susan Rice (who is still U.N. Ambassador) was looking to replace Hillary Clinton at the State Department. Were they equally outraged then when the Republicans smeared her without mercy over the Benghazi debacle?
Maybe, just maybe, all the critics should withhold judgment until Obama finishes filling the vacancies in his Cabinet before ripping him for hiring too many White guys.
When you get right down to it, Obama isn’t obligated to select who he wants in his Cabinet based upon whether it includes all the proper colors of the rainbow. What matters most are these are the guys the president wants carrying out his initiatives and that trumps the grumbling Obama isn’t putting enough non-White men out in the open where everyone can see them.
Sometimes the best man for the job actually is a man and even a White man at that.
- America’s first black president criticized for white male cabinet (reuters.com)
- Obama’s staff are ‘too white and male’: President comes under fire from his own party over key appointments (dailymail.co.uk)
- Where Are the Women and Minorities in Obama’s Cabinet? (blogher.com)