The political irony of Obama’s situation has got to tickle Republicans. They may be having trouble winning the votes of minorities and women, but they are doing noticeably better than Democrats when it comes to diversity in the jobs that typically lead to bigger things. High on the GOP roster are two Hispanic senators (Marco Rubio of Florida and Ted Cruz of Texas) and two Hispanic governors (Brian Sandoval of Nevada and Susana Martinez of New Mexico).
Prominent Latinos in the Democratic fold include Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey, Rep. Xavier Becerra of California, former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. Some are more feasible Cabinet prospects than others. Menendez, the only Hispanic Democrat in the Senate, is in line to become chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee within weeks or even days. Becerra was just elected chair of the House Democratic Caucus and is the only Latino in his party’s House leadership.
Richardson, a former U.N. ambassador and Energy secretary, has been the subject of several investigations, one of which prompted him to withdraw as a prospective Commerce secretary in 2009. Villaraigosa, who got his start in the labor movement, has been mentioned as a potential pick for Labor or Commerce secretary, though his tenure has been rocky.