With the addition of retired Gen. Alexander M. Haig Jr. and Raymond Donovan to his Cabinet lineup, President-elect Ronald Reagan has appointed 10 white men to Cabinet or cabinet-level jobs and no women or minorities. Another white male, Denver attorney James G. Watt, is believed to be the unannounced choice for secretary of the interior.
The leading contender for secretary of agriculture -- former assistant USDA secretary Richard Lyng -- is a white man. And while no clear favorite for secretary of energy has emerged, the best possibilities have their gender -- male -- and their race -- white -- in common.
Transition director Edwin Meese III told a conference of conservative black Republicans in San Francisco last weekend that there would "undoubtedly" be blacks in the Cabinet, but in "nontraditional roles." That was widely interpreted as meaning that the housing and urban development secretary would not be black, though the leading contenders for that spot -- Jewel Lafontant, a Chicago lawyer, and Thomas Sowell, a conservative economist and senior fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution -- are black.
Betty Southard Murphy, who lost out to Donovan for the labor secretary's post, was considered most likely to be the first woman nominated by Reagan. It now appears that, if a woman is named to a Cabinet position, it will be secretary of education. Two women, Wisconsin education official Barbara Thompson and transition adviser Elizabeth Dole, have been prominently mentioned, though some educators now are leaning toward former commissioner of education Terrel Bell as a better choice, or are looking for an alternative candidate.