It’s a queasy chinstroker in the PostScript bunker today, with commenters musing about Ruth Marcus’s piece on being disappointed but not outraged about the buncha white guys nominated for President Obama’s cabinet. It’s a strange 21st-century phenomenon. If a woman and/or minority candidate getting a traditionally white-man, powerful job is a sign of progress, does a white man replacing the demographic outlier represent regression? Not exactly. But it gives Marcus pause. She wouldn’t want to be a Post Opinions columnist purely on the strength of her ovaries, but neither would she feel good about an all-white-guy slate of Post Opinions columnists.
The commenters are a little uneasy too, but right off the bat delivered one of PostScript’s most favorite comments of the literally months she has been PostScripting:
The comments for this Op-ed will go down as the stupidest in history on the aggregate, I predict.
And indeed, some weird commenter obsessions and grossness returned in fullest force since the election: assertions about Valerie Jarrett’s strange powers over the president, strained sexist name-calling (“Clueless in She-attle”), and arguments that the root of Obama’s problems with women is his “Moslem” upbringing. PostScript told you the chinstroker would be queasy.
But commenters also argued whether all the male whiteness was bearable in Obama’s second-term cabinet.
jeffdc1 argued that it’s a problem because Obama has so often praised ethnic and gender diversity, and because many commentators made a big deal about things like when the Republican Party polled as 90 percent white:
The issue is two-fold. One, the President ran a campaign against Mitt Romney based in large part on the allegation that the Republican Party declared a “war on women,” and after winning re-election he affirmatively chose not to appoint a woman to any of those three most-senior positions. (Not even to mention that the President is willing to fight for Chuck Hagel, but not Susan Rice.). Two, the President has repeatedly championed diversity (in gender and race) as a laudable policy goal, but these picks not only don’t advance that goal, they obviously make that goal harder to achieve in the short-term by taking three positions off the table. One might — just might — expect the President to live up to his rhetoric with his second term appointments — at least as much as with his first term appointments when he had to worry about reelection. Do you doubt for one minute that, if he had won the election, Romney would be taking withering heat for choosing white men to lead State, Defense and Treasury?
jlri says media perception is biased here, because of the President’s race:
One is tempted to say that maybe it takes a black president to rise above the trivial quota politics that the left and this column advocate (while saying it doesn’t).
linda d bryant thinks that the election showed how important women and minorities should be to the President:
I would like to see his cabinet made up of more of the people who were responsible for his re-election (women of color, hispanics, gays). He needs more diversity in his “White House.”
thelaw11 finds another angle curious:
Why are all the women quitting?
Centsorsense argues that the current nominees were not all Obama’s first choices but compromises, so their makeup can’t be blamed fully on him:
Since Washington has been irrational about nominations for this whole administration, every citizen of D.C. bears some culpability here. If you see someone who is holding up the progress of the United States government, you should tell them so, every time you see them.
PostScript is dreadfully sorry, on behalf of her fellow citizens, to keep failing to elect real voting members of Congress. She guesses we were all just busy that day. Also for avoiding the subject when she and John Boehner hit the clubs every Wednesday evening, for politeness’ sake. No longer.
Others argue there is more diversity at work here than there seems to be:
It is more important that Obama keep continuity going in these jobs that are critical to national security, winding down military intervention and cutting the bloated Pentagon budget. You’re disappointed because white males filled these jobs? I’m delighted that there may finally be some action in reforming the way Bush/Cheney turned us into warmongers.
Of course, by far his most important appointments to date (Supreme Court justices) have both been women. Just saying.
Besides, Michelle is really his chief of staff.
And DTD4 holds the mirror up to the Post Opinions page:
I seem to have missed the column where you took your colleagues, Dana Milbank and Jennifer Rubin et al, to task for trashing Susan Rice before she could be nominated. By the way, how many people of color serve on WaPo’s editorial board and board of directors? Will WaPo be hiring more black, Latino and Asian opinion writers and reporters, especially for foreign policy?