Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Secretarial Help

Word is that Obama may choose Mary Beth Maxwell to be Labor Secretary in his Cabinet. Quoting the WSJ, the Huffington Post reports on the "possible pick for Labor Secretary, Mary Beth Maxwell: For the rainbow cabinet of the nation's first African American president, Mary Beth Maxwell is the perfect labor secretary you've probably never heard of: a gay woman, community organizer and labor leader with an adopted African American son. And this founding executive director of American Rights at Work is about to get the full-court press." Mary Beth Maxwell, Labor Secretary?

I suppose this is another variation on the theme expressed, in his inimitable way, by Chris Matthews, commenting on the makeup of the Obama Cabinet, Obama's Diverse Cabinet Like "Many Faces Of Benetton," "Clearly Representative Of America":

Matthews said that Obama "is very aware of the picture he's offering as well as the words" and that his picture Monday morning — three women, three African Americans, one Republican (and someone who has worked with Republicans, in Gen. Jones) — sends a clear message.

"Clearly it has the picture we're looking for, many faces of Benetton or whatever you want to call it," Matthews said, "but clearly representative of America more than previous administrations."

See also, President-Elect's Picks Prove Diversity Is More Than Skin-Deep.

The fact that she's gay may be the main focus for some, as part of the overall diversity of the Cabinet. That may be all well and good, but I have to say that this direction by Obama gives me pause. I never subscribed to the claims that were raised by some during the primary (especially supporters of Hillary Clinton) that Obama engaged in sexist behavior.

However, I may have to rethink that position in light of his recent behavior.

Is there a reason that he's named so many women to positions of Cabinet Secretary? Think about it:

Secretary of State -- Hillary Clinton

Homeland Security -- Janet Napolitano

U.N. Ambassador -- Susan Rice

Domestic Policy Council -- Melody Barnes

And in similar positions:

Counsel of Economic Advisers -- Christina Romer

White House Senior Advisor -- Valerie Jarrett

What is it about women always being delegated to positions such as secretaries? Can we ever get past that? Is he going to expect these Secretaries to pour the coffee at Cabinet meetings? Is that what this is all about? I just have to wonder!

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