During the presidential campaign just ended, or as it will become known in history as the presidential campaign about nothing, one of the silly issues that erupted was when Mitt Romney clumsily addressed the issue of pay equity by responding, ‘I had the chance to pull together a cabinet, and all the applicants seemed to be men… I went to a number of women’s groups and said, ‘Can you help us find folks?’ and they brought us whole binders full of women.’
This became a cause celebre in the campaign with Democratic interest groups quick to demean Romney for his statement. The following day (presumably after Obama was provided with a suitable retort), the President said while campaigning, “I’ve got to tell you, we don’t have to collect a bunch of binders to find qualified, talented, driven young women”. Well, apparently, he does need a binder.
Many of Obama’s cabinet appointees in his first term have chosen to leave; this is typical for a second term. However, he has decided to nominate series of old white guys to replace them. Thus far, he has named John Kerry as Secretary of State, Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense, Jacob Lew as Secretary of the Treasury, and John Brennan to run the CIA. For his senior advisors, Obama has also surrounded himself with white guys. The photo above was published by the New York times with the caption, “President Obama on Dec. 29 with senior advisers in the Oval Office. The only woman facing the President was (look very closely) Valerie Jarrett, whose leg is just visible in front of the desk.”
As well, two minority women Cabinet officers have announced their pending departures: Hilda Solis at Labor at Lisa Jackson at EPA. It should be noted that Susan Rice was initially considered for Secretary of State; when a few Republican Senators stated that they would oppose her nomination, she was thrown off the bus.