Will the Lack of Diversity in Obama's New Cabinet Affect His Term?
2 months ago
Few female faces, or those of color, appear among president's picks
As examples of the diversity of the cabinet in Obama's first term, Watson points to his appointments of Hillary Clinton, Solis and Jarrett, as well as Department of Homeland Security chief Janet Napolitano, and Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius. He also brings to attention Attorney General Eric Holder, an African American (who will stay on for an "unspecified time" in Obama's second term) and reminds critics that, "beyond the cabinet," both former campaign adviser David Axelrod and former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel are Jewish.
Still, though Obama's priorities no longer lie in targeting determined demographics for votes, representatives of certain demographics may feel slighted when they see his cabinet picks. New York Times writer Maureen Dowd wrote, "It’s passing strange that Obama, carried to a second term by women, blacks and Latinos, chooses to give away the plummiest cabinet and White House jobs to white dudes."
Rebecca Hannagan, professor of political science at Northern Illinois University, also says that underrepresentation of these groups in the cabinet will influence Obama's last term in office.
"There is plenty of research to suggest that a more diverse decision-making group makes different, if not better, decisions," said Hannagan. "A study found that groups that make more 'collectively intelligent' decisions are those with more women because when a group is comprised of all men, they tend not to listen to each other or suggest alternative solutions to solve problems. There tends to be more convergence, and that is not necessarily what a president needs from his closest advisers."
"Although the men in Obama's cabinet may appear to be homogeneous, it is extremely possible that they bring completely different mental models to governing and thus would likely be able to achieve the same level of discussion and innovation that other diverse groups can achieve," he said.
So, hey, maybe not everyone's picking on the president. And if they are, the president doesn't find it to be warranted. In that same press conference where he said he hadn't completed his cabinet choices, he also reminded viewers that, during his first four years, it was women who had the most influence on his foreign policy, health care and domestic initiatives. He added, "My two appointments to the Supreme Court were women. And 50 percent of my White House staff were women."
Democratic political commentator Roy Paul is (one of the few) cutting POTUS some slack.
"The president takes an oath to do his job to the best of his ability," Paul said. "To do that he has to appoint the people he feels will help him the most in fulfilling that oath. Those people should never be selected because of their gender, race, religion or sexual orientation." (As Breitbart points out, that's called discrimination, folks.)
How soon we forget that change happened where it counted. Or, as Watson so eloquently put it, "Any conversation on this topic must include the obvious mention that Obama is African American, so we finally have diversity in the nation’s highest office."
Does the president need to choose more women, blacks and other people of color to join his cabinet? Tell us in the Comments!
Contributor, Site Visitor