Can you guess what it is? Remember, this is the administration of Hope and Change … and diversity:
President Obama brought his top Pentagon and Central Intelligence Agency chiefs together Monday with their potential replacements, and some critics noticed one thing that stood out: Each of them was a white man.
Obama, who made women’s issues a core of his reelection bid, has nominated men to serve in three of his most prominent national security positions, including secretary of state, where Sen. John F. Kerry (D) was named last month to replace Hillary Rodham Clinton. The president on Monday announced former senator Chuck Hagel for the defense job and counterterrorism adviser John O. Brennan to head the CIA. …
The pattern is particularly striking for a president who was elected with majority support from women and racial minorities and focused heavily during his reelection campaign on women’s health concerns and equal pay in the workplace. Obama won 55 percent of the female vote to Republican rival Mitt Romney’s 44 percent.
Second look at “binders full of women“? Mitt Romney got roasted for that turn of phrase, which was amazing in itself, since it was a pretty clear example of his demand for diversity in his gubernatorial Cabinet (which ended up with 50% women). Team Obama ran ads in the final week of the election hammering Romney on this phrase, claiming it demonstrated his inability to relate to women despite his track record in Massachusetts.
That’s why this article from the Washington Post is worth noting. It’s not that I particularly care for identity politics, but that was the game imposed by Obama and the media just a couple of months ago, so … goose, gander, sauce, some assembly required. Normally I’d be much more inclined to agree with Jay Carney on this point:
Obama is committed to “finding the very best people for each job,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said Monday, when asked about the lack of women among the second-term appointments. “And that’s what he’s done today, and that’s what he’ll continue to do.”
And one can make the argument that Obama did that with John Kerry — especially after the White House ended up leaving Susan Rice holding the bag on their Benghazi fantasy. Kerry has served for years on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, chairing it for last three-plus years, and has understudied for this role in clear expectations of becoming Secretary of State at some point.
But in what universe is Chuck Hagel the most qualified candidate for Secretary of Defense? Apart from two terms in the Senate, and an inclination to tweak his fellow Republicans, it’s mystifying. Hagel never even sat on the Senate Armed Services Committee during his tenure — he served on Intelligence, Banking, and Foreign Relations committees. And as David Nakamura reminds readers, there was an eminently-qualified female candidate for that slot, too:
Among those passed over to lead the Pentagon was Michele Flournoy, who became the highest-ranking woman to serve in the Defense Department when she was confirmed as undersecretary of defense for policy in 2009. Flournoy, 52, resigned from the role last February, citing a desire to spend more time with her family. But she also served as an adviser to Obama’s reelection campaign and was considered a top candidate.
Instead, Obama chose Hagel — who got to know Obama when he was a senator — though the Nebraska Republican has been criticized by GOP leaders and some Democrats for statements on Israel.
“I think he’s blowing a huge opportunity here for reasons I don’t even get,” said Rosa Brooks, a professor on national security at Georgetown University who spent two years working for Flournoy at the Pentagon.
Well, if Obama was a Republican, the conclusion would be obvious, no? It would be a war on wimminses. At least the Post bothered to notice the issue in a Democratic administration.