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Obama Hit For Lack Of Diversity In Reshuffled Cabinet

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As we get closer to Inauguration Day, President Obama has been well on the way toward the traditional Second Term cabinet reshuffle. He’s already essentially completely remade his foreign policy team with the selection of John Kerry for Secretary of State, Chuck Hagel for Secretary of Defense, and John Brennan for CIA Director. Later today, hell officially announce the selection of Jack Lew to replace Timothy Geithner at the Treasury Department, and there will be at least two more appointments coming now that Hilda Solis has announced her resignation as Secretary of Labor and Obama has set to name a permanent replacement for Secretary of Commerce after the June resignation of John Bryson in the wake of a bizarre driving incident in Los Angeles. Some members of the cabinet — Attorney General Holder, Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, and Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius — will be staying over at least for now, but it’s clear that the President’s Cabinet and inner circle will look much different from the one that entered office with him in January 2009.

There’s little doubt, I think, that the new Cabinet Members that the President has selected are all well qualified for their jobs. However, some are taking note of the fact that the President’s selections seems to lack racial or gender diversity:

WASHINGTON — In an Oval Office meeting on Dec. 29, 11 of President Obama‘s top advisers stood before him discussing the heated fiscal negotiations. The 10 visible in a White House photo are men.

In the days since, Mr. Obama has put together a national security team dominated by men, with Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts nominated to succeed Hillary Rodham Clinton as the secretary of state, Chuck Hagelchosen to be the defense secretary and John O. Brennan nominated as the director of the Central Intelligence Agency. Given the leading contenders for other top jobs, including chief of staff and Treasury secretary, Mr. Obama’s inner circle will continue to be dominated by men well into his second term.

From the White House down the ranks, the Obama administration has compiled a broad appointment record that has significantly exceeded the Bush administration in appointing women but has done no better than the Clinton administration, according to an analysis of personnel data by The New York Times. About 43 percent of Mr. Obama’s appointees have been women, about the same proportion as in the Clinton administration, but up from the roughly one-third appointed by George W. Bush.

The skew was widespread: male appointees under Mr. Obama outnumbered female appointees at 11 of the 15 federal departments, for instance. In some cases, the skew was also deep. At the Departments of Justice, Defense, Veterans Affairs and Energy, male appointees outnumbered female appointees by about two to one.

“We’re not only getting better than previous administrations, but we also want to get better ourselves as well,” Nancy D. Hogan, assistant to the president and director of presidential personnel, said in response to the Times analysis. “The president puts a premium on making his team representative of the American people.”

The White House itself employs almost exactly the same number of men and women, and administration officials said they hoped to even out the ratio across the government and help ensure that future Democratic administrations have a diverse and deep bench of candidates for high-level jobs.

But Mr. Obama’s recent nominations raised concern that women were being underrepresented at the highest level of government and would be passed over for top positions.

For instance, many Democrats had hoped that Mr. Obama would name Michèle Flournoy, a former under secretary of defense, to the Pentagon post. They had also hoped that he might name Alyssa Mastromonaco or Nancy-Ann M. DeParle, who are top White House aides, to the chief of staff job, or Lael Brainard, an under secretary at the Treasury Department, as secretary. But speculation about the chief of staff position now rests on Denis McDonough, the deputy national security adviser, and Ronald A. Klain, a former chief of staff to Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. For the Treasury position, most expect Mr. Obama to name his current chief of staff, Jacob J. Lew.

“It’s not so much about checking a box, like on a census form,” said Tracy Sefl, a Democratic political consultant in Washington. “It’s about the qualitative properties that the candidate takes to the position. In this case you’re talking about tremendous women, and then we get a whole bunch more white guys.”

Interviews with current and former members of the administration, both men and women, suggested that there was no single reason for the gender discrepancy in administration appointments, and several repeatedly spoke of the administration’s internal commitment to diversity and gender equity.

But several said that the “pipeline” of candidates appeared to be one problem. They said it seemed that more men than women were put forward or put their names forward for jobs. In part, that might be a result of the persistence of historical discrepancies: men have traditionally dominated government fields like finance, security and defense.

CNN repeats the same story today:

Washington (CNN) – As Democrats in Congress celebrate a historic number of women elected to their ranks, the White House’s top ranks reflect a very different picture — one that is largely male.

CNN has learned President Barack Obama is expected to nominate White House chief of staff Jack Lew as treasury secretary.

The likely contenders to replace Lew — including Ron Klain, who once served as Vice President Joe Biden’s chief of staff, and Denis McDonough, a deputy national security adviser — are all men.

Then there’s the president’s recent choice for defense secretary: former Sen. Chuck Hagel. The preferred choice to replace Hillary Clinton as secretary of state is another man: Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry.

The trend troubles those who study the role of women in government.

“What you’re hearing is that as new openings come up, there are missed opportunities to bring women in at that level,” said Debbie Walsh, director of Rutgers University’s Center for American Women and Politics, which tracks women in elective office.

“It is concerning at a time when you have a gender gap that put (Obama) over the top, and that gap was a diverse gender gap,” Walsh said.

Similarly, NBC’s First Read calls the lack of diversity issue part of the Administration’s disorganized cabinet shuffle, and Congressman Charles Rangel calls it “embarrassing as hell,” a phrase that he apparently doesn’t think applies to his multiple violations of tax laws an Congressional Ethics Rules. On the other side of the aisle, conservatives are taking no small amount of joy in pointing out the President’s alleged hypocrisy, which is ironic considering that these are people who have stood strongly against affirmative action and other similar programs.

One some level, perhaps, the President has set himself up for criticism here. After all, he had promised in the past that he would appoint a diverse cabinet and, while he achieved that to some extent during his Firs Term, there has been an undercurrent of criticism in Washington for the past four years about the White House being mostly a “boys club” where women were often shunted to the side when it came to significant policy decisions. In the end, though, it strikes me that there really ought to be only one relevant question when it comes to the selection of a President’s top political advisers, and that’s the question of whether or not they are qualified for the position to which they are being named. A secondary factor, of course, is the extent to which the President himself feels comfortable working closely with these people as his top advisers for the next and whether he trusts them to give him the advice and counsel that he needs. What race, gender, or ethnicity these people happen to be strikes me as being so far down on the list of relevant considerations when it comes to selecting high level adviser. Indeed, haven’t we gotten beyond the point where a person’s gender or the color of their skin should even be a relevant consideration. If Kerry, Hagel, Brennan, and Lew are the people that President Obama chooses to have closest to him in the final four years of his Presidency, why does it matter if they are white males at all? I can’t conceive of a single relevant reason, personally.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. al-Ameda says:

    Well, he wanted to appoint to Susan Rice, but the men in the opposition party had a problem with that.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 29 Thumb down 1

  2. Cd6 says:

    Obama really should be taking cues from the GOP, who has a long, storied proud history of promoting diversity. This started with Lincoln, a REPUBLICAN, and continued with the republican national convention where we put both prominent minorities in te party on the stage. Rubio 2016!

    We Could have had Romney as our president, and he would have a wide and diverse leadership team, including Paul Ryan and John Boehnor and Mitch McConnell and Tim pawlenty and Eric cantor and John McCain and Lindsay graham and Eric fehrstrom and dick armey and ruh Limbaugh and Charles kraut hammer and bill Kristol and James Joyner and rich Lowry and erick erickson and John Bolton and newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum and tagg and magg and dopey and sneezy and whatever the rest of the Romenys are called

    Instead, thanks to the treasonous in-the-tank MSM, America is saddled BO as our president, and we are les by nothing but white males. Well, there’s Obama himself, but he’s Kenyan and thus does my count towards diversity because he’s not American. I weep for our country.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 0

  3. Cd6 says:

    I tried to add that that GOP list I posted above was a veritable rainbow of patriotism but my treasonous iPhone posted before I was ready. I weep for the OTB commentariat

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  4. @al-Ameda:

    I had a problem with it too. Not because of her gender, not because of Benghazi, but because of her devotion to the ill-advised and ultimately disastrous “Responsibility To Protect” Doctrine.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 8

  5. al-Ameda says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    I had a problem with it too. Not because of her gender, not because of Benghazi, but because of her devotion to the ill-advised and ultimately disastrous “Responsibility To Protect” Doctrine.

    I’m currently somewhat agnostic on the “Responsibility To Protect” Doctrine.

    Do you characterize it as disastrous because of what happened in Libya (in general, not particularly in Benghazi)?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  6. Franklin says:

    @Cd6:

    Charles kraut hammer

    My only quibble with your list is that you’ve included a physically handicapped person. How can one be a true American patriot without first being whole???

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2

  7. mattb says:

    Actually, to some degree I see the nomination of Kerry for SoS as a diversity win — in so much as the position has become somewhat pigeon holed as the token “diversity” spot of the “upper” cabinet positions.

    As far as Michèle Flournoy for SoD, that seems to me to always have been a pipe dream, especially given what I suspect Obama is going to try to do in his second term. While she might have been an incredibly qualified candidate, if the goal is to try and make some significant cuts to defense, she’s not got the right qualifications. Plus I think her gender would have, sadly, worked against achieving that goal.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  8. Rob in CT says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Me too. But if the charge is “why aren’t you nominating some folks who aren’t white guyz” the answer of “well, he tried with Susan Rice” is a fair one. That response does not mean you like Rice or R2P.

    That said, I’m pleased to see those complaining about the composition of the cabinet have specific candidates they name as alternatives. I don’t know enough about the folks in question to argue for/against the proposition that they are more (or equally) qualified for the jobs.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  9. Ann Droid says:

    @Cd6: I weep for your iPhone…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  10. @al-Ameda:

    I would say that the general situation in Libya, specifically the extent to which the western and southern regions of the country have become fertile ground for insurgent groups. The people of Northern Mali, for example, haven’t exactly fared very well.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  11. mantis says:

    it’s clear that the President’s Cabinet and inner circle will look much different from the one that entered office with him in January 2009.

    Is that really clear, or is this just wanker journalists with not much to write about during a slow news week?

    Current Secretary of Defense: white guy
    Current Secretary of State: white woman
    Current Secretary of Treasury: white guy
    Current CIA director: white guy (acting; replaced another white guy)

    The only change here is the Sec. of State will be a white guy instead of a white woman. All of the other three positions will remain unchanged as far as gender and ethnic makeup is concerned. To pretend this is some dramatic shift belies reality. Not much has changed at all.

    Shall we look at the rest of the cabinet, to see how diverse it actually is?

    Justice: Eric Holder (black, male)
    Interior: Ken Salazar (Hispanic, male)
    Agriculture: Tom Vilsack (white, male)
    Commerce: Rebecca Blank (white, female – acting sec.; replaced white, male)
    Labor: Hilda Solis (Hispanic, female, outgoing)
    Health and Human Services: Kathleen Sebelius (white, female)
    Housing and Urban Development: Shaun Donovan (white, male)
    Transportation: Ray LaHood (white-half German/half Lebanese, male)
    Energy: Steven Chu (Asian, male)
    Education: Arne Duncan (white, male)
    Veterans Affairs: Eric Shinseki (Asian, male)
    Homeland Security: Janet Napolitano (white, female)
    Treasury: Timothy Geithner (white, male, likely to be replaced by same)

    So the new cabinet makeup, including those announcing they will step down but for whom no replacement has been nominated:

    Women: 4
    Men: 11
    White: 10 (including LaHood)
    Non-white: 5 (2 Asian, 2 Hispanic, 1 black)

    Is that as diverse as it could be? No, but will it be, based on the information available, any less diverse going forward? No, not really. So what exactly is new here?

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  12. al-Ameda says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    I would say that the general situation in Libya, specifically the extent to which the western and southern regions of the country have become fertile ground for insurgent groups. The people of Northern Mali, for example, haven’t exactly fared very well.

    Thanks Doug. To be clear, has the ‘doctrine’ been implemented in Northern Mali, that is are western governments supporting al-Qaeda?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  13. Cd6 says:

    You can tell Obama hates diversity because he HIDES his full name – Barack HUSSEIN Obama – and it makes you wonder “what else is he hiding?”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  14. Septimius says:

    I’m curious who Obama will pick to replace Richard Windsor as EPA Administrator?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  15. lankyloo says:

    @Cd6: His birth certificate of course.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  16. Moosebreath says:

    @Septimius:

    I’ve heard Christine Gregoire (Washington Governor) is most likely.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  17. mantis says:

    @al-Ameda:

    Thanks Doug. To be clear, has the ‘doctrine’ been implemented in Northern Mali, that is are western governments supporting al-Qaeda?

    I think his point is that the implementation of the doctrine in Libya has caused or at least contributed to the problems in Mali. Arguable that the doctrine is to blame, but the end of the Libyan conflict certainly helped to arm the Tuaregs much better, leading to a dramatic increase in the conflict there.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  18. gVOR08 says:

    The Republican veep candidate just cosponsored a personhood bill that would make at least some contraception illegal, make abortion murder, and any miscarriage at least suspect. The prez candidate had endorsed a similar bill. And the supposedly liberal MSM are talking about women in Obama’s cabinet?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  19. Gromitt Gunn says:

    I think it is clear that the Prez has binders full of white dudes.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  20. Tsar Nicholas says:

    Why would any of Obama’s 2nd term cabinet nominations be anything other than white men? Obama’s not running for another term and thus there is no need for him to gin up racial identity politics or to throw bones to his young and loopy base. QED.

    In any event, Hagel’s well qualified but obviously not too good of a choice, although ironically enough it could have been far worse. Kerry technically is well qualified but by the same token Dennis Kozlowski was well qualified to run Tyco and Ken Lay was well qualified to run Enron. Kerry will be an unmitigated disaster. Lew is a farce of a nominee and will be a complete train wreck. All part and parcel of the catastrophic U.S. decline.

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  21. john personna says:

    Seems tailor made for Saturday Night Live … “I’m a black President … whaddaya want?”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  22. Woody says:

    @Tsar Nicholas:

    A name-droppin’ non sequitur ad hominem salad to be proud of. Well played, sir.

    I’d like to add Charlie Weis well qualified to coach Notre Dame and Hayden Christiansen well qualified to portray Anakin Skywalker.

    All part and parcel of the American Decline.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  23. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @mattb:

    As far as Michèle Flournoy for SoD,

    Seeing as she left Gov’t less than a year ago (2/12) to spend more time with her family (be a stay at home mom for the next few years), I rather suspect she was never considered because she had already indicated she wanted to do something else.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  24. Gromitt Gunn says:

    @Tsar Nicholas: If I was as negative about the future of the US as you are, I’d be spending hours each day building up my savings so that I could emigrate to a better place as soon as possible, not writing anonymous jeremiads online.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  25. al-Ameda says:

    @mantis:

    I think his point is that the implementation of the doctrine in Libya has caused or at least contributed to the problems in Mali. Arguable that the doctrine is to blame, but the end of the Libyan conflict certainly helped to arm the Tuaregs much better, leading to a dramatic increase in the conflict there.

    Okay, I can see where one might argue that point. Thank you.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  26. mantis says:

    @Tsar Nicholas:

    Why would any of Obama’s 2nd term cabinet nominations be anything other than white men?

    Because some non-white, non-men might be qualified? Oh, I guess that didn’t occur to you. Shocking.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  27. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    The people of Northern Mali, for example, haven’t exactly fared very well.

    I know it doesn’t fit your preferred narrative Doug, but the fact is Al Qaeda has been in Northern Mali for the past 10 years:

    Al-Qaeda has based itself in northern Mali for 10 years, as part of an alleged secret agreement with Amadou Toumani Toure (ATT), the president of Mali who was deposed in a military coup in March 2012 as northern cities were falling to Tuareg rebels.

    During ATT’s presidency, AQIM amassed an outrageous fortune in Mali – collecting up to $250m in hostage ransoms from Western governments for more than 50 European and Canadian hostages kidnapped over the past decade, usually from neighbouring Niger.

    At this moment there are still European hostages being held by al-Qaeda in northern Mali pending delivery of a $132m ransom.

    The ransom negotiations, which were carried out under the auspices of the presidency, were confirmed by the Wikileaks cables to be a goldmine for the Malian VIPs involved – with each receiving his cut of the jackpot including, according to a former Malian official with knowledge of the deals, the president himself.

    Another powerful individual alleged to have enriched himself from hostage ransoms was ATT’s close political and business associate Iyad Ag Ghali who has been involved in nearly every al-Qaeda hostage negotiation since the first one in 2003.

    Iyad Ag Ghali is the head of al-Qaeda offshoot Ansar Dine, and the closest thing Mali has to a Mullah Omar.

    Go read the rest of the article for a fuller explanation of the situation in northern Mali.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  28. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @al-Ameda:

    Okay, I can see where one might argue that point.

    Go read the article, and you will see that you can’t argue that point, and be serious:

    This region has been dealing with Tuareg rebellions and Tuareg separatism for 50 years. Not a single country in the Sahel or Sahara supports the notion of a new state, especially not one that might fuel Berber aspirations in Algeria, or more seriously, spark Tuareg irredentism on the part of oil-rich southern Algeria’s Tuareg populace, or oil-rich southwest Libya’s Tuaregs, or uranium-rich northern Niger’s Tuaregs.

    The major existential threat to states like Mali, Niger and Algeria is Tuareg/Berber rebellion and separatism.

    Exclusive: Al Qaeda linked groups take over northern Mali

    The fact that Tuaregs are one of the world’s poorest and most isolated people living atop some of the world’s richest resources only fuels the fear, and the desire.

    It just isn’t that simple.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  29. mantis says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    Go read the article, and you will see that you can’t argue that point, and be serious:

    So one could not argue that the influx of weapons into Libya, which then flowed to the Tuaregs after the end of the Libya conflict, has contributed to the escalation of the conflict in Mali? Why not?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  30. Rafer Janders says:

    Indeed, haven’t we gotten beyond the point where a person’s gender or the color of their skin should even be a relevant consideration.

    Says the white man.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  31. Rafer Janders says:

    Indeed, haven’t we gotten beyond the point where a person’s gender or the color of their skin should even be a relevant consideration.

    No. No we haven’t. If you doubt this, just take a look at your own party and their outright hostility to African-Americans and women.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  32. C. Clavin says:

    isn’t the real problem that so many people are uncomfortable with all them white folk working for a negroe???

    our punditry…like a herd of cats chasing the reflection off a wrist-watch.

    Rice got booted by the Republicans…a party of old white guys.
    How many Hillary Clintons are there out there? One.
    Kagan and Sotomayer count for nothing in political correctness land?
    Doesn’t Biden count as a minority? How many other guys in the cabinet wear a “wife-beater” t-shirt and drive a ’78 Trans-Am?
    Brennan is a torture enthusiast…don’t BDSM practitioners count as a minority?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  33. C. Clavin says:

    Kerry is part of the .5%…a kept man for that matter…that is certainly a minority.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  34. Tyrell says:

    Sounds like Bill left a bunch of cigars in the desk drawer!!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  35. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @mantis:

    So one could not argue that the influx of weapons into Libya, which then flowed to the Tuaregs after the end of the Libya conflict, has contributed to the escalation of the conflict in Mali? Why not?

    Who gave the Tauregs the arms? Qaddafi. Who had been arming them for years? Qaddafi. Under that reality, removing Qaddafi cut off (some of) their arms flow. Not that it really matters. Like the Kurds, the Tauregs have been marginalized for decades. They did not get a seat at the table during the end of colonization. And they have been fighting for decades.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  36. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @mantis: A couple months ago (a year?) Nat Geo had a good article about the Tauregs. I tried to do a search at their website, but our subscription is under my wife’s name and I don’t have the necessary #’s at my fingertips. All I could find was a photo feature attached to the article.

    Sorry. If I was better at storing our Nat Geo mags, I could easily put my hands on the exact issue and tell you which one it is, AHHHHH… never mind, I got it. The article is not specifically about the Tauregs…. but it is the Tauregs who run the salt caravans and they do go somewhat into their culture.

    Also they have done some great work on Timbuktu. The most recent was this one on the “Scribes of Timbuktu”.

    Good stuff. About what used to be.

    No matter what, it is a tragedy what is happening there. You just can’t point your finger at Susan Rice and say, “She did it. She meddled in the wrong place. It is her fault.” That place was meddled in a long time ago.

    The events of today are just the shape history gave us.

    PS: Fog has rolled in and my satellite connect is for sh!t. Try try again.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  37. Sejanus says:

    @Tsar Nicholas: “Kerry will be an unmitigated disaster. Lew is a farce of a nominee and will be a complete train wreck. All part and parcel of the catastrophic U.S. decline.” I don’t know how you get the chutzpah to make any more predictions after the failure of your previous ones. In October 30 2012, you wrote the following tripe:

    “Even the loopiest, most slanted media polls clearly and uniformly indicate that Romney easily will win the total vote on Election Day itself. [...] in order to win the election Obama would have to win each and every one of those “firewall” states: CO, WI, NH, IA, NV, MN. Given the demographic and political characteristics of those states and the overall trend of this election cycle the chances of that happening are between zero and none.”

    The reality: Obama surpassed Romney in the popular vote by 4% and he also won all the states you mentioned plus Virginia, Ohio and Florida. At least Jan had the dignity or running away from this website with her tail between her legs after the Obama landslide. If you ask me you should do the same.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  38. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @mantis: One thing more Mantis, do not equate the Tauregs with Al Qaeda. They have different goals:

    That is one of the reasons why the secular Tuareg rebel movement – the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) – rose up in January 2012 and swept the northern two-thirds of Mali, declaring an independent state called Azawad.

    But the MNLA rebels were soon sidelined by al-Qaeda and its local offshoots, which pushed them from the cities and took over the region, imposing Sharia. The MNLA declined to fight al-Qaeda and beat a tactical retreat. They say their primary enemy is Mali, and until the world recognises them, they cannot lose blood and treasure opening a second front.

    “We should fight al-Qaeda in exchange for what?” asks Bilal Ag Cherif, the head of the MNLA and president-in-waiting of the Tuaregs’ hoped-for Azawad state.

    “Will they recognise Azawad?” asks Bilal. “Provide clear political, economic, security and military assistance to the Azawadis? Those are the requirements of war. So give us those things, recognise us as a state, and then we can talk about fighting terrorism.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  39. Franklin says:

    @Gromitt Gunn: Thanks for my Word of the Day.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  40. Neil Hudelson says:

    @Sejanus:

    Thank you for this, Sejanus. I think we should just post this prediction every time Tsar writes something.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  41. Tony W says:

    “The president puts a premium on making his team representative of the American people.”

    I see attempts at representation only from a race/gender perspective. Go to the mall some Saturday and look at the ‘real’ American People – it’s eye-opening! I am not sure that level of diversity would be advantageous.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  42. anjin-san says:

    his young and loopy base.

    I know a lot of people in their 40s-80s that consider themselves to be part of Obama’s base. A lot.

    So Tsar, is telling yourself these kind of stories what gets you through the night after the pasting Obama laid on Romney?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  43. bk says:

    @Tsar Nicholas: You know, your shtick is getting boring and tiresome. If you are (as I have at times suspected) a troll just goofing on us here, well… you need some new material. If, on the other hand, you believe what you write, well…let’s just say that if your brain was a stock, I would short it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  44. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    I’m gonna miss Geithner. Having a tax cheat in charge of the IRS was wonderful for my morale.

    And I’m starting to warm to Hagel. With his history on gays (fairly homophobic) and abortion (wanted to outlaw it, even in cases of rape and incest, leaving just “life of the mother” as legal justification), he’s JUST the guy to put the brakes on the “gays in the military” and “free abortions for women in the military” pushes Obama’s been working on. We can’t stop all the harm Obama plans to inflict, but this would be better than I expected.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3

  45. C. Clavin says:

    Indiana Jones…
    Sejanus’s comment on Thursday, January 10, 2013 at 18:09 applies to you as well.
    You are so wrong so often…I bet your onesy is on backwards right now.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  46. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @C. Clavin: Where am I wrong, Cliffy… Hagel’s position on abortion, or his opinions on gays?

    Oh, that’s right. Hagel’s greatest qualification for the job is people you don’t like oppose him. Right behind that is that he’s a Republican and a veteran, meaning Obama can hide behind him and use his credentials as cover.

    Did I miss anything?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  47. C. Clavin says:

    Yes, your onesy is still on backwards.

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  48. C. Clavin says:

    And you keep getting that orange cheeto dust all over it.
    Your mommy is going to be mad.

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  49. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @C. Clavin: Infantile commentary from a feeble-minded hack. I wonder why I expected anything better.

    But then again, considering how indefensible Hagel is, do you really have anything else you can use?

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  50. C. Clavin says:

    Indiana Jones…
    He’s only indefensible since Obama nominated him.
    When McCain was going to nominate him he was great.
    Republican cult members like you are just so full of shit.
    If you had an actual viewpoint there would be something besides infantile commentary to say about you. But there isn’t. Infantile commentary is actually too sophisticated for you. But to actually describe your mental capacity would violate comment policies.

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  51. wr says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: “Hagel’s greatest qualification for the job is people you don’t like oppose him.”

    Which, as you explained in a previous gun thread, is exactly the criterion you use when you need to pick a side on an issue. So what are you whining about this time?

    Oh, just to assure you that you are the only one around here dumb enough to define himself this way, for most of “the lefties” around here, Hagel’s greatest qualification for the job is the one person who really wants him in the job — the president, who should have a great deal of lattitude in his cabinet choices.

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  52. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @wr: Good god, Einstein was right. The difference between genius and stupidity is that stupidity knows no limits.

    @C. Clavin: When McCain was going to nominate him he was great.
    Republican cult members like you are just so full of shit.

    Just when did President McCain even float the possibility of a nomination? When did it ever come even CLOSE to being worthy of discussion?

    Go eff yourself with a rusty chainsaw, you infantile crap-flinger.

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  53. C. Clavin says:

    And then…Indiana Jones…pretend matinee idol…in a cheeto stained onesy…
    You name some well-known facts about Hagel…which he has changed his position on…then you turn it into Obama wants to destroy the country.

    “…We can’t stop all the harm Obama plans to inflict, but this would be better than I expected…”

    Do you really think Obama wants to inflict harm on the country? We are better off economically, and in terms of indivivual liberty than before he took office. So where is the harm inflicted?
    You are just a f’ing idiot. You are an imbecile. Period.

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  54. mantis says:

    @Jay Tea’s cowardly, stupid puppet Jenos Idanian #13:

    Just when did President McCain even float the possibility of a nomination? When did it ever come even CLOSE to being worthy of discussion?

    In 2006 when McCain was starting his 2008 run, he said “I’d be honored to have Chuck with me in any capacity. He’d make a great secretary of state.”

    Also, Hagel was on the shortlist to be Bush’s VP in 2000. Kristol was a big fan at the time.

    Anyone who tries to claim Hagel did not have broad and high level Republican support before Obama nominated him is lying, stupid, or both. Jay Tea is obviously both.

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  55. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @mantis: Toss around all the bullshit you like. Hagel’s positions on gays and abortion are public record, and would make him utterly unacceptable to Democrats if he was being nominated by a Republican.

    I do find myself wondering just what it is that makes him so popular with the left… but I don’t expect an honest answer. “Obama wants him, and some conservatives don’t, so that’s good enough for me” seems to be the extent of the thought process.

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  56. C. Clavin says:

    @ Mantis…
    What’s the matter with you…tossing around all that bullshit….I mean facts.
    Whether he/she is Jay Tea, or Jenos, or Indiana Jones…they are all idiots.

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  57. An Interested Party says:

    Hagel’s positions on gays and abortion Iran and Israel are public record, and would make him utterly unacceptable to Democrats neocons and many Republicans…

    His positions on these issues are a reason to support him…

    “Obama wants him, and some conservatives don’t, so that’s good enough for me” seems to be the extent of the thought process.

    Hmm, a thought process you should be very familiar with, considering…

    Which, as you explained in a previous gun thread, is exactly the criterion you use when you need to pick a side on an issue.

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  58. C. Clavin says:

    For the fact challenged Indiana Jones…here’s your public record”

    “…My comments 14 years ago in 1998 were insensitive. They do not reflect my views or the totality of my public record, and I apologize to Ambassador Hormel and any LGBT Americans who may question my commitment to their civil rights. I am fully supportive of ‘open service’ and committed to LGBT military families…”

    Note that Obama himself has evolved on the issue. Most of America has in fact evolved, and continues to evolve, on the issue. Idiots like you are incapable of change.
    He also changed his mind about Iraq. Idiots like you still have not.
    So while I do not agree with his position on abortion; 1) he’s clearly open to change, and 2) he’s being hired to enact someone elses policy not his own. If he was being hired to enact Romney’s policy, then yes, that would be different you f’ing idiot.

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  59. mantis says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Toss around all the bullshit facts that dispute my positions you like.

    FTFY. And I will, thanks.

    Hagel’s positions on gays and abortion are public record, and would make him utterly unacceptable to Democrats if he was being nominated by a Republican.

    On gays, perhaps, but I don’t think abortion really has anything to do with being Sec. of Defense. In any case, you may not have noticed because you are an ignorant dipshit who ignores everything that doesn’t confirm his preconceived notions, but there is quite a debate going on right now on the left as to Hagel’s appropriateness for the position, focusing especially on the issue of gay rights. Given his past positions, I for one am opposed to his appointment. I will let my senators know my thoughts on this. So sorry to not live up to your pigeonholing. Too bad contrary facts never penetrate your bubble mind.

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  60. C. Clavin says:

    To back up Mantis…
    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/01/09/why-rachel-maddow-is-right-on-hagel.html
    also see my own comment at 12:54 in this thread:
    http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/obama-to-name-jack-lew-as-new-treasury-secretary/
    Jay Tea/Indiana Joneses comprehension of reality is iffy at best.
    He/she really should take a cue from Jan and go running back from whence he/she came.

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  61. mantis says:

    @C. Clavin:

    Thanks. There’s more in the New Yorker, SF Chronicle, Advocate, and pretty much every popular liberal or LGBT-focused outlet. I see TPM is digging up more of his past statements.

    But as Jay Tea tells us, we’re all lockstep behind Obama on this one because hypocrisy! Rich coming from the guy who steadfastly supported Mitt Romney last year, a man who supported gay rights and universal health care and all sorts of other things Republicans and conservatives hate (until he decided to run for president, anyway), but self-awareness is not a trait that Jay possesses.

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  62. stonetools says:

    I think the President should get his/her Cabinet candidate, absent some overwhelming reason to contrary. I’m not a fan of Hagel, and I think the choice should have been some qualified Democrat . I see no reason why a high level Cabinet pick should go to a member of the opposing party (and the Republicans agree with me on this- they’ve never appointed a Democratic Sec Def).
    In the end, though, the President should get his pick. He has to work with him everyday, he has to trust him , he has to be comfortable delegating to him.What Rachel Maddow or Rush Limbaugh or anyone else thinks is interesting, but they don’t have to work with him.
    I think Obama’s pick, though, represents the remnants of his now thoroughly discredited “bi-partisan” approach. He is hoping to get points for picking a “centrist” Republican . While I’m sure David Brooks approves, I’m not sure it matters beyond the circle of a handful of Washington pundits.

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  63. mattb says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Hagel’s positions on gays and abortion are public record, and would make him utterly unacceptable to Democrats if he was being nominated by a Republican.

    As I’ve posted before, this argument fails for two reasons…

    (1) It somehow suggests that either party ignoring things they don’t like about an individual they support is somehow new or unique. There are plenty of cases of the right doing exactly the same thing (Support for Guiliani despite his liberal social views, pre-Sandy support for Chris Christie despite his anti-gun stance, love for the drug loving, multi divorcing Rush Limbaugh, or all the love for Ted Nugent despite his draft dodging and statutory raping).

    (2) The entire “if the Republican’s nominate Hagel” is absurd on its face because the positions that Hagel holds on the military and foreign policy are antithetical to the current Neocon bent of the Republican party. For the Republicans to nominate Hagel, he’d have to hold fundamentally different points of view, which probably would introduce a whole different slate of reasons for Democratic opposition.

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  64. mattb says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Oh, that’s right. Hagel’s greatest qualification for the job is people you don’t like oppose him. Right behind that is that he’s a Republican and a veteran, meaning Obama can hide behind him and use his credentials as cover.

    Actually you missed the entire 12 years of Senate experience and his history on the Intelligence and Foreign Services committee.

    Two points about this — first it means that Hagel already has more credentials than say Rumsfeld did when he became SoD for the first time. And as I pointed out to you when you raised this weak tea before, if one accepts the fact that Obama is going to attempt to reduce the size of the military/the military budget (as part of a larger attempt to bring down/control the debt), then it’s perfectly logical to get a Republican with legislative experience on board. And since it appears that, for the forseeable future, deals are going to be brokered in the Senate, a Senator makes sense.

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  65. bill says:

    @al-Ameda: the frogs are taking the lead, which doesn’t bode well if you read history. but good for them, doing something militarily! no oil for us, so we don’t care- see syria for correlation.

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  66. Amygdalady says:

    His choices seem all right.

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