Saturday Morning Cartoon – Obama’s Cabinet Diversity

Who doesn’t love Saturday Morning Cartoons? No one, that’s who! Well, as adults we’ve grown out of what we’d normally be watching Saturday Mornings (Recess, anyone? … anyone?), but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy a nice political cartoon!

Obama's Cabinet Diversity

I chose this one, because it seems to be the prevailing critique of the day from both the media and the right, partially in response to this picture. Obama has nominated a few white guys as of late. He’s put forward Chuck Hagel, a nice white Nebraskan man, and the boring New England politician caricature John Kerry for Secretary of State. Pretty white there, too. There’s also the squiggly signatured Jack Lew, put forward as Treasury Secretary.

So, what gives, Obama? Why all the white guys? Well, for one, he did float Susan Rice, a black woman, to replace Hillary Clinton. Unfortunately, though, Rice was forced to withdraw, due to Senator McCain and Senator Graham’s apprehension (see: lunacy) about Benghazi. They may have had actual apprehension, but I think many saw this as at least partially a political move. Throughout the debate, many Republicans pointed to John Kerry as someone who could sail through the confirmation. Now, who’s being less diverse here, the guy that put forward a black woman, or the guys who said that woman was “not very bright,” and pointed to a white man that would get no resistance? To be truthful, blocking Rice was at least partially political move, and some speculate Kerry’s absent seat could go to Scott Brown, the recent loser to Elizabeth Warren in Massachusetts. He’s already said recently that running would be “awfully tempting.”

We dont’t know much more about his 2nd term cabinet, but we do have evidence from his first term. As mentioned before, Hillary Clinton was one of the most seen and heard of cabinet members (and not just because she’s Hillary Clinton). Overall, 8 out of the total 23 positions were held by women. That’s 34%, not an astounding number, mind you, but not really one from a guy that doesn’t like diversity in his cabinet. The New York Times reported that “the White House itself employs almost exactly the same number of men and women, and administration officials said they hoped to even out the ratio across the government and help ensure that future Democratic administrations have a diverse and deep bench of candidates for high-level jobs.” That’s a great sign, because these high level appointments have to come from somewhere. As I pointed out in my post about term limits, politicians tend to play musical chairs. What this means is that filling up lower level positions with women and minorities will help give a diverse crowd for future administrations to choose from. If previous administrations weren’t that diverse in their lower level hiring, there just may not be that many women vying for those chairs as men. I realize that’s not a great excuse, but it does shed some light on the situation. Further comparing to previous administrations does put Obama in a good light, too. According to Diversityinc, “the Obama Administration has improved the number of women appointees by 10 percent to 43 percent, up from 33 percent in George W. Bush’s administration and about the same ratio as Bill Clinton’s (41 percent).”

Obama is going to have to work hard for those upper level positions, though, because in addition to Clinton’s departure, Labor Secretary Hilda Solis and EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson will both be gone, too, leaving him with a larger much larger diversity hole to fill.

As Jay Carney said on the 9th, “I think it would be useful to wait and make judgments about this issue after the president has made the totality of appointments that he will make in the transition to a second term.” And wait we shall. I know I personally hope for more than 34% women, seeing as they make up 50.8% of the population and 53% of the electorate. As well as Obama has done, he could always do better, and as well as women have done as of late they can always do better.

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