Friday, December 12, 2008

Few Blacks and Minorities In Obama Administration (Thus Far)

OK, So the American people seem to be happy with Barack Obama's appointments thus far.

Get this, President-elect Barack Obama approaches the White House with a deep well of public support, according to a new Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll. they report that nearly three-quarters of those surveyed felt positive about Obama's election as president. I do too, but

I must say, "I'm still concerned that Barack Obama has failed to reach the bar created by Bill Clinton who promised to change the government's complexion. Bill Clinton did a great job at it." Black Americans waited in long lines to vote for Change. African-American voters waited more than twice as long as others to vote in last month's presidential election, and Hispanics were asked to show identification more often-More HERE. Bill Clinton appointed blacks into his administration in great numbers, Why can't Barack Obama?

Voters line up outside Rosemont Middle School in Norfolk, Va., on Election Day. African-American voters reported waiting for an average of 29 minutes to vote on Nov. 4, compared with an average wait of 13 minutes for others.

Photo: Eileen Blass, USAToday

Last week I posted on how many blacks and other minorities are in Barack Obama's Cabinet? In the post I noted that "Black folks, yes Blacks and Latinos Americans, like all Americans, are watching the new Obama administration closely regarding his Cabinet appointments. Many are wondering if diversity will be an issue in Obama’s Administration? In fact, many are wondering, will Obama's Cabinet favor whites? Black folks are even wondering if will get better Access to the White House."

I pointed out that US Today noted a number of years ago, until Bill Clinton, Presidential Cabinets were overwhelmingly the province of white Anglo men. They made up 85% of the appointments by President Reagan, who over eight years had only one African-American and one Hispanic in his Cabinet. White Anglo men made up 71% of the first President Bush's Cabinet. (The Cabinet statistics in this story reflect those offices designated by law as Cabinet posts. Some presidents have chosen to give other officials comparable Cabinet-level status.) More HERE

Clinton promised to change the government's complexion. "My commitment is to give you an administration that looks like America," he said during the 1992 campaign. "I would be astonished if my Cabinet and my administration and my staff ... is not the most fully integrated this country has ever seen."

Over eight years and 29 appointments, Clinton had in his Cabinet five women, seven African-Americans, three Hispanics (one of them named to two posts) and one Asian-American.

Over four years and 24 appointments, Bush has named to his Cabinet five women, four African-Americans, three Hispanics and two Asian-Americans.

Before Bush, no person of color had been named to any of the four most prestigious Cabinet jobs — at the departments of State, Treasury, Defense and Justice. Now he has named two blacks as secretary of State and a Mexican-American as attorney general.

When Clinton was elected to his first four-year term in 1992, one of the first things he did was appoint Blacks to his Cabinet. Among the Black Cabinet appointees during his two terms in office were Ron Brown, U.S. Secretary of Commerce; Mike Espy, Secretary of Agriculture; Alexis Herman, Secretary of Labor; Hazel O'Leary, Secretary of Energy; Rodney Slater, Secretary of Transportation; Jesse Brown, Secretary of Veterans Affairs, who was succeeded by Togo West, and Dr. Jocelyn Elders, U.S. Surgeon General, who was succeeded by Dr. David Satcher.

Clinton also appointed nine Blacks as assistants to the president--the highest rank in the White House. Among those appointments were Ben Johnson, director of the President's Initiative for One America; Maggie Williams, the first lady's chief of staff; Alexis Herman, director of public liaison, White House, who later became labor secretary; Minyon Moore, director, political affairs; Terry Edmonds, director of speech writing; Thurgood Marshall Jr., director of Cabinet Affairs; Mark Lindsey, director of administration, and Bob Nash, director of personnel. Source

In Clinton's first term, 47% of those he appointed to the Cabinet were women or people of color. Bush had precisely the same percentage in his first term. By the end of Clinton's second term, his figure had risen to 52%. Source

As part of the post I asked a question: what will Barack Obama do?

Well let's take a look at the Obama administration, which appears to be the province of white men and women.

President’s office/staff:

-- Chief of Staff: Rahm Emanuel (Deputies: Jim Messina, Mona Sutphen -Woman)

-- Senior Advisers: Valerie Jarrett Black, Peter Rouse, David Axelrod

-- Political Director: Patrick Gaspard

-- Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs: Phil Schiliro

-- White House Counsel: Greg Craig
-- Press Secretary: Robert Gibbs
-- Communications Director: Ellen Moran- Woman (Deputy: Dan Pfeiffer -- Director of Scheduling and Advance: Alyssa Mastromonaco Woman
-- Staff Secretary: Lisa Brown Black
-- Cabinet Secretary: Chris Lu Minority
-- Special Assistant to the President and White House Social Secretary: Desirée Rogers Black Woman-- Director, White House Military Office: Louis Caldera

Vice President’s office:
-- Biden’s Chief of staff: Ron Klain
-- Counselor to the Vice President: Mike Donilon
-- Domestic Policy Advisor to the Vice President: Terrell McSweeny
-- Assistant to the Vice President for Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Liaison: Evan Ryan

First Lady’s office:
-- Michelle Obama’s Chief of Staff: Jackie Norris Woman (Deputy: Melissa Winter-Woman)

-- Commerce: Bill Richardson Latino
-- Defense: Robert Gates
-- Homeland Security: Janet Napolitano Woman
-- Justice (AG): Eric Holder Black
-- State: Hillary Clinton Woman (Jim Steinberg-deputy
-- Treasury: Tim Geithner
-- Veterans Affairs: Eric Shinseki Minority
-- HHS: Tom Daschle
-- Energy: Steven Chu

Read More HERE

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