Who would have guessed that the Obama White House still possessed enough lingering innocence regarding gender politics to release such a red flag to the media, apparently under the misimpression that the image simply recorded a meeting of the president’s inner circle rather than provide a searing portrait of the patriarchy in action? The administration and its successors will never make such a mistake again. …

The Times offered no examples of a patently superior female candidate being rejected for a second-rate male, beyond citing Michèle Flournoy as a plausible candidate for Secretary of Defense (Obama has nominated Chuck Hagel) and three other names for chief of staff and Treasury Secretary. Flournoy was a think-tank defense wonk whose appointment as—sound the trumpets—the first female Under Secretary of Defense for Policy in 2009 may or may not have been the product of the same gender-quota pressures that the Times is now exerting. In the era of bean-counting, you can never know (except when you can). …

Absent a showing that gender discrimination is causing the selection of inferior leaders, the sex of politicians and government officials is of no public import. And feminists’ cherished conceit that women today face a wall of overt or unconscious bias rests on deliberate blindness to the facts. No elite organization today fails to incorporate oppressive gender and race consciousness into its every hiring and promotion decision.