Obama diversity disappoints again
By JENNIFER EPSTEIN, Politico
5/5/13 7:04 AM EDT
There were, after all, just eight women among the 23 Cabinet-level officials in Obama’s first term. And that number will be even lower in his second.
After picking an all-white, all-male slate to fill departures at key departments including State and Treasury, Obama urged critics to be patient. Given time, he promised just before his second inauguration, he’d erase concerns sparked by an entirely white and male group of top picks.
“I would just suggest that everybody kind of wait until they’ve seen all my appointments – who is in the White House staff and who is in my Cabinet – before they rush to judgment,” he said. “Until you’ve seen what my overall team looks like, it’s premature to assume that somehow we’re going backwards. We’re not going backwards, we’re going forward.”
Now the second term Cabinet is complete, with final selections that include both Pritzker and Anthony Foxx, an African American, for Transportation secretary. Still, Obama’s put together a less diverse Cabinet than in his first term, when his picks were criticized for being too white and male. And quite a few of the people Obama had asked to hold off until the picture was complete say they they’re not so sure it was worth the wait.
(O)verall, there’s no denying the group he wound up with isn’t just less diverse than the current demographics of the country, and far less representative of the coalition of voters that got Obama reelected. It even falls short in virtually every category of the marks he set in his first term.
If Foxx is confirmed, there will be three African Americans in the Cabinet, one fewer than before. The number of Asian Americans has dropped from 3 to just 1: first-term holdover Eric Shinseki, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs. And if Labor Secretary-designate Thomas Perez is confirmed, the number of Latinos will have officially made an identical slide.
“I at least expected that more than a third of the jobs would go to women,” NOW’s president, Terry O’Neill told POLITICO. “Women should be half the Cabinet. We’re 51 percent of the population, and more than half of us voted for the president’s reelection.” Instead, women have been picked for just seven of 23 Cabinet posts.
The numbers speak for themselves.