Over the last week, I have heard complaints from the news media about a lack of diversity in President Barack Obama’s Cabinet and inner circle. However, this is just something for the media to complain about in order to fill space in newspapers and newscasts, because it is not a big deal in a practical sense.
The New York Times ran a Jan. 8 article titled, “Obama’s remade inner circle has an all-male look, so far,” which commented on the fact that although Obama appointed more women than George W. Bush did, he has been unable to surpass Bill Clinton’s administration. The piece highlighted the white men recently selected for Cabinet positions and mentioned the women who were passed over.
Why does the race or gender of the Cabinet member matter?
It doesn’t. What matters is performance, the ability to put in the time, experience, position on relevant issues and relationship with the president, among other things.
I am not trying to compare the genders and races; I just think there are more important issues to worry about when nominating Cabinet members. Being a woman or a racial minority should not give you a leg-up when being considered for any job, including one as important as director of the
CIA or secretary of state.
The individual is doing the job, not the gender or race, so it is the individual who should be evaluated.
This isn’t necessarily about quantitative issues such as experience, but also about trustworthiness and dependability. Even though I am not a fan of Obama, I want him to be able to depend on his staff to do their job if there is a crisis.
The last thing our government would need if there were a natural disaster, or if we were attacked, is to have an executive branch that is fractured because the most experienced, trusted nominee was passed over due to gender or racial considerations. The job of the president, whoever holds the office, is stressful enough without having internal issues with people who are supposed to be top advisors.
I heard this “issue” brought up by The New York Times, which desires a greater diversity in the Cabinet, and FoxNews.com, which brought up Obama’s comments on former candidate Mitt Romney’s “binders full of women” statement in a Jan. 10 article. Even Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., called the lack of diversity “embarrassing as hell,” in the FoxNews.com article—although it probably isn’t as embarrassing as his ethics violations.
At this point, the issue has become a political one. Rather than picking a qualified individual who he feels comfortable with, the president is expected to pick a certain number of people in the name of diversity. And, in the end, all this artificial controversy does is help perpetuate the issues that many people, regardless of political affiliation, have with our modern federal government.
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