Sunday, December 21, 2008

Gays only major minority not welcome in Obama's cabinet

John Aravosis (DC), Even Republicans got two seats. Gays, zero.
Steve Elmendorf, a former deputy campaign manager for John Kerry and senior adviser to Dick Gephardt, called it “very disappointing” that a number of high-quality LGBT candidates had been passed over. “It’s a very diverse and inclusive cabinet for every community except for the gay and lesbian community,” he said.
Not that anyone’s counting, but the cabinet as announced/projected at present includes three Latinos, two Asian Americans, one African-American, three women, and, yes, two Republicans.
Elmendorf observed that the top-tier White House staff doesn’t appear to have any LGBT people in it either. “That just makes the Rick Warren thing an extra kick in the stomach,” he said.
Though Elmendorf sympathized with Obama’s big-tent argument about wanting to reach out to evangelicals through Rick Warren, he added, “but I don’t think [the Obama team] has sent any signals to the gay and lesbian community -- who voted for him overwhelmingly -- that they want to include them.”
The inaugural committee is touting the participation of the Lesbian and Gay Band Association in the inaugural parade as a symbol of inclusion.
Hey, they gave us a band.
"Anybody but the gay," John Aravosis (DC): My friend Chris, who's been involved in DC politics for probably as long as me, is starting to see a larger, more disturbing, pattern. He just wrote me the following:
You know that I’m less likely than you to read bad signs into things, but I have to say that the last couple of days have been pretty bad on the Obama front.
Rick Warren was disturbing, but potentially a tactically useful move, so I was willing to cut Obama some slack. But it’s worrying to me that neither one of the unambiguously qualified potential gay appointees actually got an appointment.
I can’t speak to Mary Beth Maxwell because I’ve never met her and our paths haven’t crossed. I’m sure she’s terrific; I just can’t personally vouch for that.
The fact that John Berry got passed over for Interior really bites – he’s the best there is, knows the Interior Department like the back of his hand and has already been through Senate confirmation previously. I’m sure Ken Salazar has his good points, but somebody needs to tell him it’s rude to wear a hat at a press conference. If you have to have a straight Secretary of the Interior, couldn’t he at least avoid being tacky?
But the one that gets me is SBA. Fred Hochberg has worked his ass off for Obama, he’s on the transition team, and he’s the former Deputy Administrator at SBA. The nomination that got made – well, I’m sure she’s fine, and I hope she does well, but there’s nothing compelling about her appointment.
It’s the same with Salazar – with Solis’ nomination, especially, there was no compelling need for another Latino appointment, but I acknowledge the political benefit. But that’s not true with SBA, and what happened there makes me question the Interior appointment, too. I can’t think of any common reasoning on these appointments except “anybody but the gay guy.”

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