Saturday, December 15, 2012

Diversity for Me, But Not For Thee

    Andrea Mitchell recently reported about internal Obama adminstration reaction to Susan Rice's withdrawal from consideration for Secretary of State:
ANDREA MITCHELL: A lot of Democrats are saying that the president did not show enough loyalty. A lot of women in the administration are very angry tonight, and I'm saying this at a very high level. Angry because they feel that she was not treated with respect, she was not given the support she needed and she was left to twist in the wind.
    Are the men in the administration angry too?  Just the women?  Why?  Because this president, who doesn’t need binders to pick qualified women, decided to accept the decision of a women to withdraw her name?  Should he have refused and nominated her against her wishes?  Or do these “angry women” think she was told to remove herself from consideration?  Are these women saying that if Rice was a man, Obama would have stood behind her?  After all this time of telling us Republicans are the ones waging a war on women, are they accusing their own president of waging a war on Susan Rice?

    Instead, why aren’t these women saying, “This President has shown great leadership in putting both men and women of all races in places in his administration on the basis of their qualifications for the job.  It’s ridiculous to say that Barack Obama treated Susan Rice differently because she’s a woman. Susan Rice made her decision to withdraw, and the president treated her like an adult and accepted it.”  Can these “angry women” not say that because they don’t believe it? Because they are so used to reacting to everything in terms of sex and/or race?  They’ve spent weeks accusing Republicans of sexism and racism for opposing Rice and criticizing her for her now infamous Benghazi comments on those Sunday talk shows. Is it possible – is it just remotely possible – that neither the Republicans criticism nor the president’s decision to accept Rice’s choice to withdraw have NOTHING TO DO with her sex or race?

    The Republicans have a long history of criticizing Democrats of both sexes and all races, and those Barack Obama has thrown under the bus are also the picture of diversity (Obama’s own grandmother,
 Van Jones, Tony Rezko, Rod Blagojevich, and Ludacris, to name a few – someone has compiled a helpful if somewhat outdated list here.)  Have we lost the ability to look at political issues without resorting to a demographic analysis of all the individuals involved?  

    Or can we blame the media - like Andrea Mitchell - for introducing this element.  Here's another example.  At the White House Press Briefing Friday, the following exchange took place between Jay Carney and an unidentified reporter:
Q    Now that Susan Rice is out of the running, the President's -- 
MR. CARNEY:  Do you want to know who is in the running? 
Q    Well, yes, if you care to respond to that.  But the President is losing someone who would have brought diversity to his Cabinet.  So how important is it to the President now that his Cabinet with her out of the running reflects the sort of diversity that we see throughout the rest of the country?  
    “[T]he President is losing someone who would have brought diversity to his Cabinet”? Is someone’s race and sex the most important factor in determining diversity?  Would not John Kerry, now the presumptive nominee, bring diversity to the Cabinet?  John Kerry’s background is certainly quite diverse: married to an extremely wealthy woman; Vietnam veteran and harsh, vocal critic of the same war; long-time Senator; former presidential candidate.  How many other people in America can match that demographic?

    For all the left's talk about Republicans and conservatives being sexist and racist, more often than not it is they who focus on the external.  But on the other hand, maybe this incident shows progress of a sort.  In addition to the "good ole boys" network of old white men we hear so much about, this may be evidence of the emergence of a "good ole girls" network who look out for each other.  As the saying goes, you've come a long way...

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