Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Does The Obama Cabinet Need To Be "Diverse"?!?

Wow, talk about a "diverse" cabinet. And here I was thinking Obama didn't really mess with rap music like that. Surprise of all surprises, he goes out and appoints Jim Jones National Security Advisor.


First Joe Biden Budden, now The Capo.


Huh? What's that you say? Wrong Jim Jones? Oh. My bad.


My bad to all my LCD-rap illiterate members of AverageNation™ I just lost with that one.

Goonie Goo Goo.

Still, as the faces of The Obama Admin are assembled, I'm wondering what we should read into the relative absence of black and brown faces in the high profile appointments. Sure, there's Clinton holdovers like Eric Holder and Bill Richardson, and ChicagoLand weedcarriers stalwarts like Valerie Jarrett and Desiree Rogers[1], but most of the big name gigs are going to familiar, and melanin deficient faces. Both Clinton and Bush Jr. prided themselves on cabinet appointees who "looked like America", rather than their usual weekend golf buddies. Many expected Obama to follow suit. The question is, in a "post racial" America, does even this matter?

My thought is no, the main man at the top of the ticket is all the "diversity" that's needed. In the current dire times, hiring experienced folks to run the most important positions is a must. And as the lower profile positions are filled, we'll see lots of younger, less familiar faces, many of whom like Maryland Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown (rumored as the head of Vets Affairs) will be black and brown, filling out the roster.

Besides, what's most important isn't color, it's competency. I've long argued that affirmative action is still necessary because it allows qualified minorities and women entrance into venues they might otherwise be excluded from. The Obama appoinments aren't and shouldn't need to be affirmative action hires. Over Obama's time in office, he's undoubtedly come to know enough people of all walks of life to be able to appoint quality people to help him run the country. The appointment of brilliant minds like Dr. Susan Rice and Melody Barnes shows this to be the case.

It's quite unlike Clinton and Bush Jr's exaggerated efforts at "building a diverse cabinet". Clinton reached for people he didn't know enough about (Lani Guinier), only to kick them to the curb when inconvenient. Bush's idea of "diversitification" was hiring every brown person he'd ever met at the country club. Thus, we got losers like Rod "No Child Left Behind" Paige. Then again, Bush's picks were just generally unqualified anyway. Michael Brown, anybody? So, Obama's "best man for the job" mantra is alright by me. By simple virtue of the black and brown folks in his Rolodex, it'll all pan out.

One final note: If I hear one more "pundit" talk about how his cabinet of Clinton refugees "doesn't look like change to me", I am heading to New York to kick some arse. The "change" is at the top. It was evident in the campaign he ran. The people he is hiring work for him not the other way around. Disciplined, dedicated leaders can get the people under them to buy into their vision and carry out their ideas. I don't see anything about Obama that says he won't be this very sort of leader. So enough of that "Hillary and Bill are sabotaging the Presidency" nonsense. As if Obama was smart enough to go to Harvard and Columbia, yet isn't smart enough to know how to manage the occasional difficult employee? Wigga Please!

Still, I guess I'll run this by you guys for good measure.

Question: Does the Obama Administration need to be "diverse" or is it merely "diverse" by virtue of the man making the hiring decisions? For a guy who ran on the platform of "change", do you think the Obama cabinet is "more of the same"? Would Jim Jones make a good Secretary of Ballliiinnn?

Obama faces less pressure for diverse Cabinet [Politico]

James L. Jones Is Obama’s National Security Advisor [RightPundit]

[1] Since we're loading up on middle aged sistas, how about we bump Rahm Emanuel, and name Christine Beatty CHIEF OF STAFF while we're at it? It worked out pretty well for Detroit. I'm just sayin'.

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