January 11, 2013

Jack Lew to Treasury. Chuck Hagel to Defense. And it looks as if we’re to have Denis R. McDonough, or possibly Ron Klain, as the new White House Chief of Staff. 

That’s three more missed opportunities for Obama to break one of the remaining barriers and select a woman for a high administration post. He’ll have missed two chances each at Treasury and Defense, and if reports are right he’ll be zero for four for the chief of staff position.

In fact, McDonough or Klain will be, by at least one count, the 26th Chief of Staff since White House staffs began to grow after World War II. All of them have been male.

There’s no indication that Obama has even had any woman on a short list for the job in any of the four times he’s made a selection for that crucial position. 

With John Kerry nominated for State, it also means all four of the most important cabinet positions will be male, at least as long as Eric Holder sticks around at Justice. 

Now, Obama’s gender record on judicial appointments has been very strong; he has, of course, nominated two of the four women to ever make it to the Supreme Court, and he has a good record at lower levels. But he’s going to get some criticism for an unbalanced slate for his second term, and he deserves it. Most notably, it’s far past time that a woman held the key White House Chief of Staff position.