Outside the Hothouse

Dick Armey took a big dump on his old employer, FreedomWorks, when he was talking to Media Matters last week. Turns out he thought he was talking to Brent Bozell’s (conservative) Media Research Center. You can conclude two things from this episode. The simple conclusion is that Armey is a big-mouthed idiot. But it’s also pretty damn telling that he assumed that when he’s talking to another member of the club, he can say what he wants and they’ll edit it for public consumption. It’s just another example of how the conservative hothouse breeds delicate flowers who can’t handle themselves in the real world.

181 replies
  1. 1
    PaulW says:

    Armey’s response: Media Matters TRICKED ME! I thought they were selling me girl scout cookies… y’know, made from real girl scouts.

  2. 2
    Joey Maloney says:

    HAHAHAHAHA!

  3. 3
    Ash says:

    AHAHAHAHAHA

    Oh, god I can’t breathe! How the fuck do these numbskulls wield so much influence in DC?!

  4. 4
    BGinCHI says:

    It’s just another example of how the conservative hothouse breeds delicate flowers bigmouthed assholes who can’t handle themselves in the real world.

    Fixed for obvious accuracy and with a nod towards the innocence of flowers.

  5. 5
    Violet says:

    Wow, that’s crazy. What a dumbass.

  6. 6
    TooManyJens says:

    @Ash:

    How the fuck do these numbskulls wield so much influence in DC?!

    That’s the really depressing part. Dipshits like this have largely been running the place for decades.

  7. 7
    Amir Khalid says:

    The Media Matters guy identified himself, and Armey still didn’t realise whom he was talking to? I don’t have enough palms to put to my face, to show how dismayed I am.

  8. 8
    Scott S. says:

    That’s hilarious.

  9. 9

    @TooManyJens: Which explains a good many things about the state of the world.

  10. 10
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Ash: Oh, god I can’t breathe! How the fuck do these numbskulls wield so much influence in DC?!

    There’s a fifty/fifty chance that some Beltway Wise Owl will refer to Freedom Works as a “Grassroots anti-spending group” this Sunday. If Broder were alive, he would say it in tomorrow’s column.

  11. 11
    ThresherK says:

    Mistaking the names?

    A “when, not if” scenario born of fake media crit orgs naming themselves like real ones for the confusion factor.

  12. 12
    Forum Transmitted Disease says:

    Dick Armey took a big dump on his old employer, FreedomWorks, when he was talking to Media Matters last week. Turns out he thought he was talking to Brent Bozell’s (conservative) Media Research Center.

    That’s “I don’t know how to open a door” level of stupid.

  13. 13
    BGinCHI says:

    If you’d rather read something useful and smart as hell instead of just laughing at Dickhead Armey, please click over and read this Kthug post.

    http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.c.....us-relics/

    Right the fuck on.

    ETA: I’m not implying that laughing at Armey is a waste of time. Though slapping him would be more fun and invigorating.

  14. 14
    Cassidy says:

    When did Steve Benen start writing at Maddowblog? Nevermind, the blog roll is updated, so it’s been at least a decade.

  15. 15
    aimai says:

    @Amir Khalid: @Amir Khalid:
    Well, you hvae to remember that everything Washington is given anodyne names to confuse people. Remember the “Blue Skies” initiative? The Patriot Act? There are groups named “Concerned Women” that have no women running them. I think its interesting that it never occured to Armey that a non right wing group would try to interview him. I think it shows that, intellectually, he’s bowed out of the fight. He’s taken his money and considers himself retired. He let down his guard because he thinks he’s a has been and that no one is watching him–its the flip side of their rampant paranoia and egotism when they are in power.

    aimai

  16. 16
    jibeaux says:

    I want someone to pay me millions a year to shoot my mouth off and say whatever I want. Right now I’m doing it for free, that’s how big a sucker I am.

  17. 17
    Rome Again says:

    Sorry, I can’t think of Dick Armey as a delicate flower. He’s just a huge asshole.

  18. 18
    feebog says:

    Armey appears to be anywhere from half to comepletely in the bag in every appearance or interview he has done lately. He is either a barely functioning alcholic or in the beginning stages of dementia.

  19. 19
    dr. bloor says:

    @Comrade Dread: Remember the whole “There are differences between Sunnis and Shi’ites” thing? Good times.

  20. 20
    Rome Again says:

    @Cassidy:

    For about a year now, I believe.

  21. 21
    BGinCHI says:

    @Cassidy: Last year.

  22. 22
    Felonius Monk says:

    Outside the Hothouse

    I think you misspelled OUTHOUSE. ‘Cause as usual when Dick Armey takes a dump it doesn’t smell like roses.

  23. 23
    geg6 says:

    I think it shows that, intellectually, he’s bowed out of the fight. He’s taken his money and considers himself retired. He let down his guard because he thinks he’s a has been and that no one is watching him–its the flip side of their rampant paranoia and egotism when they are in power.

    @aimai:

    I don’t know about that. He was also on Tweety’s show yesterday (with Tweety reliably gushing all over him during the intro) and he truly sounded unhinged. Tweety got that tight look to his face when he knows someone is going off the rails and, shockingly, shut up and let Armey ramble on about who the hell knows what. It sounded completely off the topic of Tweety’s question (which I forgot while staring at the tv open-mouthed in astonishment) and ended with Armey saying he had no idea who Media Matters was anyway but the Tea Party? Fuck yeah!

    I just kept thinking that I wished like hell that Joan Walsh was there to point and laugh.

  24. 24
    Suffern ACE says:

    Actually, thanks for the clarification. I was wondering why the hell Armey was being so candid with Media Matters. I mean I know he left Freedom works, but it seemed odd that he would do a tell all at Media Matters. I figured it was because no one wanted to touch his juicy gun-toting board meeting story at ABC.

  25. 25
    Raven says:

    NYC Ferry Accident: At Least 50 People Injured After Seastreak Crashes Into Dock At Pier 11

  26. 26
    scav says:

    oh and I’m loving what delicate (and backchannel vocal) nerves he must have hit if he had to pull out the whoops i’m a senile confused idiot appology.

  27. 27
    askew says:

    OT – The media has noticed that Obama’s 2nd term cabinet is on pace to be less diverse than his 1st term. All of his picks so far have been white men. I thought his 1st term cabinet wasn’t nearly diverse enough. It didn’t have nearly enough women. But, what do I know. I was called a racist on DK and a firebagger on another site for complaining about the lack of diversity in Obama’s cabinet.

    Am I the only one irritated by this?

  28. 28
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    /Nelson Munz voice

    Ha HA!

    What an imbezel! What an ultramaroon!

  29. 29
    Tone in DC says:

    Off topic…
    KThug is on fire today.

    http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.c.....us-relics/

  30. 30
    catclub says:

    @Rome Again: Isn’t there some fruit/flower that smells like shit?

  31. 31
    Ash Can says:

    What’s funny to me is that I had to follow the link to refresh my memory of what Armey’s dump entailed. Shaking their marks down? Well, sure. Kickbacks to Limbaugh and Beck? Of course. Why is this news? It occurred to me that the fact that he said it out loud was the newsworthy part of it. The few people on the face of the earth dumb enough to still believe that the Tea Party was a real live, honest-to-goodness grassroots group might actually be surprised by Armey’s revelations. As far as I was concerned, though, his revelations didn’t make me bat an eye, because I thought they were common knowledge all along.

  32. 32
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    OK, your patience, please. I’m going to try to determine what word sent my first post in the thread into moderation hell.

  33. 33
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    imbezel

    (Ok, it’s not this one…and, yes, it’s the other one…who knew that Bugs Bunny would coin a male enhancement and/or way to lose your money while playing a game designed to get you to lose your money word.)

  34. 34
    Culture of Truth says:

    Didn’t he also give an interview to Mother Jones? Did he think that his mother?

  35. 35
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    ultramaroon

  36. 36
    muddy says:

    @geg6: I saw him on Tweety’s show too, I was amused by Armey’s spray tan. His face was *so* much darker than the backs of his hands. Probably these idiots think if they get their skin to look closer to Obama’s then people will like them too.

  37. 37
    catclub says:

    @Tone in DC: Krugman said this:
    “For people like me, on the other hand, the economy is a social system, created by and for people.”

    Some other guy said this: “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.”

  38. 38
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Ash Can:

    I thought they were common knowledge all along.

    Well, yeah, common knowledge to those with large numbers (that is, more than three) of neurons to fire off in a synapse. This of course excludes the 27%, who will never, ever, get it.

  39. 39
    Culture of Truth says:

    if we have a crisis over the debt ceiling, it will be only because the Treasury department would rather see economic devastation than look silly for a couple of minutes.

    Is there anything Krugman can’t blame on Obama? If we have a crisis over the debt ceiling, it will be because the Republican party, which used to have grownups who were merely disproportionately privileged and greedy, has become completely unhinged.

  40. 40
    Rome Again says:

    @catclub: How about rotten flesh? LOL

    It’s called a Titan Arum. I don’t know if I could consider a Titan to be “delicate” though.

  41. 41
    aimai says:

    @geg6:

    Interesting! Great description of Matthews face, too. Wish I’d seen it. Well. No I don’t.

    aimai

  42. 42
    gogol's wife says:

    @Culture of Truth:

    Yes, I don’t see the brilliance of this post. The platinum coin idea only looks good to someone who doesn’t have to leave his office at Princeton.

  43. 43
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @catclub: I’m nearly certain there’s a flower that smells like decaying meat.

  44. 44
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @Tone in DC:

    KThug is on fire today.

    Can somebody clue me in. It seems like much of what Krugman says is so bleeding obvious that in a sane world it shouldn’t be news.

    In this instance we have the insight that money has a Janus-like quality, being both a store of value and a transactional lubricant necessary for a modern economy to function. To different groups of people these two roles assumes different degrees of importance (store of value to the wealthy, transactional lubricant to everyone else) and the economy gets fucked up when one of these aspects is pushed too far to the detriment of the other.

  45. 45

    @Tone in DC:
    From Krugman:

    For people like me, on the other hand, the economy is a social system, created by and for people. Money is a social contrivance and convenience that makes this social system work better — and should be adjusted, both in quantity and in characteristics, whenever there is compelling evidence that this would lead to better outcomes.

    Speak it, brother…

  46. 46
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    For people like me, on the other hand, the economy is a social system, created by and for people.

    Let me again refer to the obscure Scotsman who wrote the book on what an economy is more than two centuries ago, who, as I noted a few days ago, spends a healthy portion of that book kicking the living shit out of the idiotic notion of fixed value to money. ALL MONEY IS FIAT MONEY, DUMBSHITS!

    The money morality people are basically adopting a pre-Enlightenment attitude toward monetary and fiscal policy — and why not? After all, they hate the Enlightenment on all fronts.

    Exactly so. These barbarians need to be dealt with. In an appropriately barbarous manner.

  47. 47
    J.A.F. Rusty Shackleford says:

    @askew:

    Can you at least let Obama get further than the, what, four positions, that have been named before you freak out? Is there someone more diverse that you think should be the Secretary of Defense or CIA Director? John Kerry is Secretary of State, and yeah, Susan Rice would have been more diverse – if the Republicans weren’t committed to shit-storming her nomination. Jack Lew is rumored to be Geithner’s replacement, and yes, Elizabeth Warren would be more diverse – but she has a better job. There are a lot of positions still to be filled. Both nominees to the Supreme Court have been women – that has to be worth something? I don’t think Hilda Solis is going anywhere. And Chuck Hagel is “diverse” in that he’s not a Democrat.

    While women do make up 50+% of the population, most ethnic groups are less than the 12% or 13% that Blacks and Hispanics account for. Do you want diversity above and beyond national representation? What would make you happy? How diverse does it has to be and who are the candidates for these positions that you think are being overlooked?

  48. 48
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Tone in DC:
    I like Krugman’s idea for whose face to put on the trillion-dollar coin.

  49. 49
    Ash Can says:

    @askew: Meh. Given Obama’s distinctive lack of a track record of treating women and (fellow) minorities with any kind of disdain, I’m willing to cut him some slack with regard to diversity. I’d much rather see him appoint optimally qualified people, and certainly don’t want to see him go the profoundly insulting window-dressing route of the Republicans.

    And ETA: I’m female myself.

  50. 50
    Violet says:

    A bit OT, but since we’re talking about wingnuts:

    Glenn Beck announced on Tuesday that he plans to relaunch his media empire as a global libertarian news network.

    Beck said he plans to open three foreign bureaus and launch a half-hour newsmagazine program. He placed photos of MSNBC’s Chris Matthews and Fox News’ Sean Hannity on a screen and lamented the hyper-partisan nature of cable news, vowing that his network would provide viewers with a libertarian alternative.

    Three foreign bureaus? Will they all be in Israel?

  51. 51
    Culture of Truth says:

    Krugman has turned from a debt ceiling-TheGOPHatesObama debate, which is it what it is, into some kind of concept-of-money debate, which it isn’t. No one cares about the platinum coin, least of all the tea party.

    I do think he makes a good point about the purpose of economic or social structures, which is to serve the needs of actual living human beings, which happens to be own opinion.

  52. 52
    WereBear says:

    @Amir Khalid: The Media Matters guy identified himself, and Armey still didn’t realise whom he was talking to? I don’t have enough palms to put to my face, to show how dismayed I am.

    LOL!

    It’s because the numskulls who are supposed to tell us are just as much in the pockets of the people who hired the first set of numskulls.

  53. 53
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Culture of Truth: I read that as Krugman having accepted that the GOP is bugfuck nuts and now we need to respond.

  54. 54
    Yutsano says:

    @Violet:

    Three foreign bureaus? Will they all be in Israel?

    Or Utah. Gotta keep in good graces with teh Bishops dontchaknow.

  55. 55
    Culture of Truth says:

    I’m beginning to think pay $8 million to get rid of Dick Armey was money well spent.

  56. 56
    Hill Dweller says:

    @J.A.F. Rusty Shackleford: This purported lack of diversity is getting attention because Republicans(yes, irony has died) are pushing(projection) it.

    That stupid article in the NYT failed to mention the record number of women Obama has nominated to the courts. They will have a far more lasting effect than most executive branch nominations.

  57. 57
    Gravenstone says:

    @Rome Again: Perhaps he’s reminiscent of a Corpse Flower?

  58. 58
    WaterGirl says:

    OT, but I can’t believe that bloggers everywhere haven’t highlighted this awesome piece from Benen yesterday. (or maybe they did and I missed it?) I thought this was great fun!

    Benen finds himself imagining the remarks President Obama would have to deliver from the White House next month:

    Dear International Investors and Global Financial System,

    Some of you may be worried about the United States and our willingness to pay our bills. I’m afraid some of the reports you’ve seen are true: much of our legislative branch of government has been overcome with madness, and there’s not much I can do about that.

    But there’s no cause for alarm. I’ve decided to exploit an obscure, untested, legally-dubious loophole that will allow me to protect the full faith and credit of the nation, even though Congress won’t like it, with a gimmick that everyone agrees is transparently silly.

    Regardless, if it’s all the same to you, I’d really appreciate it if you continued to look at the United States as a stable, global superpower, which deserves to be taken seriously, and which is totally worthy of your investment. In fact, if you’re willing to overlook the inconvenient fact that our House of Representatives is stark raving mad, you’ll see that there’s no reason to stop loaning us money.

    Have a nice day and please stop laughing at us.

  59. 59
    Kip the Wonder Rat says:

    @PaulW: Actually, to his credit, he freely admitted that Media Matters correctly and openly identified themselves to him.

    Now, as to everything else the man has done…

  60. 60
    Comrade Jake says:

    @askew:

    The media has noticed that Obama’s 2nd term cabinet is on pace to be less diverse than his 1st term. All of his picks so far have been white men.

    Yeah, I saw that. Really the point of the story should be that there aren’t a whole lot of women even being mentioned for these posts in the first place. I mean, it’s not like Obama’s some racist, sexist pig.

  61. 61
    WaterGirl says:

    OMG, I am thrilled to see that we no longer have to use the double-underscore within a block quote. yay!

  62. 62
    askew says:

    @J.A.F. Rusty Shackleford:

    Can you at least let Obama get further than the, what, four positions, that have been named before you freak out? Is there someone more diverse that you think should be the Secretary of Defense or CIA Director? John Kerry is Secretary of State, and yeah, Susan Rice would have been more diverse – if the Republicans weren’t committed to shit-storming her nomination. Jack Lew is rumored to be Geithner’s replacement, and yes, Elizabeth Warren would be more diverse – but she has a better job. There are a lot of positions still to be filled. Both nominees to the Supreme Court have been women – that has to be worth something? I don’t think Hilda Solis is going anywhere. And Chuck Hagel is “diverse” in that he’s not a Democrat.

    I was already unhappy with the lack of diversity in Obama’s 1st term cabinet. 14 of the 20 cabinet heads were men. That’s a problem since women make up over 50% of the population and women put Obama in the WH. And his cabinet is already set to be less diverse with his picks so far. It is a problem that Obama’s entire foreign policy cabinet will be white men. The Supreme Court nominees were great but they aren’t part of his cabinet.

    There are plenty of qualified female candidates for all of the cabinet posts and there always seems to be some excuse for why another white man gets chosen. I guess I am just sick of hearing the excuses and would like to see the Obama cabinet and senior administration reflect the country’s diversity.

  63. 63
    Ash Can says:

    @Violet: Libertarian?? OK, I’m looking forward to hearing him bleat on and on about how abortion, pornography, and gay marriage should be unregulated and freely available, the defense budget needs to be slashed, our borders should be opened to allow free movement of immigrants, and prostitution and all drugs should be legalized.

  64. 64
    Jay C says:

    @Ash:

    How the fuck do these numbskulls wield so much influence in DC?!

    Lemme spell it out for you:

    M.
    O.
    N.
    E.
    Y.

  65. 65
    Tone in DC says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ:

    Some of what he (and other liberal/non-Villagers/non-VSPs) says IS intuitive, obvious, or such.

    But the VSPs out there, they have the Confidence Fairy and the Austerians with their infatuation with Teh Austerity (for other people, not for themselves) that will somehow create demand in an economy that’s 70% consumption.

    These oh so serious guys know IT DOESN’T MATTER that broke people can’t BUY anything. /rant

    Whatever it takes to justify policies that only help the 1 to 2%.

    Just my 2 cents.

  66. 66
    askew says:

    @Comrade Jake:

    Yeah, I saw that. Really the point of the story should be that there aren’t a whole lot of women even being mentioned for these posts in the first place. I mean, it’s not like Obama’s some racist, sexist pig.

    Oh absolutely. I don’t doubt Obama’s commitment to diversity which you can see in his judicial appointments. That doesn’t excuse the lack of diversity in his senior admin roles or his cabinet though. I do wonder if the lack of diversity among senior admin is part of the reason we aren’t seeing very many women or minorities seriously considered for cabinet positions though.

  67. 67
    Mike in NC says:

    He is either a barely functioning alcholic or in the beginning stages of dementia.

    Quite likely all of the above.

  68. 68
    Rome Again says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ:

    http://www.ehow.com/facts_7020.....-bad_.html

    Yeah, it’s those damned Republicans who have entertained conspiracy theories for so long they’ve actually destroyed even simple cognitive abilities.

  69. 69
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @WaterGirl: I see it (the coin) as an artificial solution to an artificial problem. I would suspect that the world markets would see it the same way. Also, FWIW, I don’t see something specifically authorized by statute ad legally dubious. Untried, sure; legally dubious, no.

  70. 70
    Tone in DC says:

    @WaterGirl:

    LULz.

  71. 71
    Machine-Gun Preacher (formerly Ben Franklin) says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ:

    Yeah. Whatever happened to the innate value of Pokemon Cards and, Beanie Babies?

    I’m still waiting for my ROII.

  72. 72
    Rome Again says:

    @Tone in DC:

    It sounds like the left needs to develop a system complete with “binders full of women”. LOL

  73. 73
    Hill Dweller says:

    @askew: Why do you think Obama isn’t meeting what you think is an appropriate level of diversity?

  74. 74
    Cassidy says:

    @askew:

    There are plenty of qualified female candidates for all of the cabinet posts and there always seems to be some excuse for why another white man gets chosen. I guess I am just sick of hearing the excuses and would like to see the Obama cabinet and senior administration reflect the country’s diversity

    Fair enough, but how many of these qualified non-white men would be confirmed by the Senate? This isn’t the usual politics anymore. They are so wrapped up in their mythology that they won’t even let an elected POTUS fill his cabinet positions. So what’s your suggestion?

  75. 75
    Yutsano says:

    @Ash Can: No no no silly lib. HIS definition of libertarian. You know, the one where Jeebus comes from Missourah to slaughter us all and we all have to buy gold from his sponsors so he can get that third house in the Hamptons. THAT kind of libertarianism.

  76. 76
    The Tragically Flip says:

    @ThresherK:

    A “when, not if” scenario born of fake media crit orgs naming themselves like real ones for the confusion factor.

    Yes, the aspect of double self-infliction is particularly enjoyable.

    Remember, these people loved the idea of Pervert O’Weirdo running around tricking liberal organizations into looking bad on camera, a liberal O’Keefe would get remarkable quotes from conservatives by pretending to be from some right wing media organization.

  77. 77
    Rome Again says:

    @Gravenstone: The Corpse Flower and Titan Arum are the same thing. :)

    Good guess.

  78. 78
    WereBear says:

    @WaterGirl: If only he would say that!

    Mockery and derision is the ONLY thing that seems to makes them notice how STUPID they are being.

  79. 79
    Forum Transmitted Disease says:

    @askew: Maybe, just maybe, he’s appointing the best candidates he could find for the jobs.

    I know this thought has never crossed your mind; your are obviously looking for something to be offended about, and today it’s going to be diversity.

  80. 80
    Tone in DC says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    Me too.

  81. 81
    gogol's wife says:

    @Forum Transmitted Disease:

    I loved the gall of the New York Times, after they jumped on the dump-on-Rice bandwagon, to complain about diversity.

  82. 82
    BGinCHI says:

    Ladies and Gentlemens, I give you peak wingnut economic stupidity:

    The amount of platinum needed to mint a coin worth $1 trillion would sink the Titanic

    https://twitter.com/NRCC/statuses/289029749555212288

  83. 83
    El Tiburon says:

    Reminds me back in the day when Tom Delay’s team thought that a Stephen Colbert satire (I think it was Colbert) actually support old Hot-Tub Tom. They even posted it on their website.

    Bunch of maroons. All of them.

  84. 84
    Cassidy says:

    @Forum Transmitted Disease: It never ceases to amze me how it’s Obama’s fault. Just blows my mind.

  85. 85
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @gogol’s wife: also, too, Valerie Jarrett as COS.

  86. 86
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    @geg6:

    I just kept thinking that I wished like hell that Joan Walsh was there to point and laugh.

    A Nelson Muntz “HA HA!” would work also, too.

  87. 87
    The Tragically Flip says:

    @Cassidy:

    Fair enough, but how many of these qualified non-white men would be confirmed by the Senate? This isn’t the usual politics anymore. They are so wrapped up in their mythology that they won’t even let an elected POTUS fill his cabinet positions. So what’s your suggestion?

    If that’s really why he’s not appointing more diversity, that’s all the more reason to appoint them and have the fight. It’s the right thing to do, and it would pad the D edge with women and minorities.

    It doesn’t strike me warm and fuzzy that he backed off on promoting Susan Rice over spurious bullshit objections to her, but proceeded with Hagel despite a similar level of oppositional throat clearing and posturing.

  88. 88
    Rome Again says:

    @BGinCHI:

    It’s Gold Standard 2.0

  89. 89
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @Rome Again:

    Well I get that in this country we have a fanatical minority that wants to rollback the Enlightenment and is at war with empiricism, but what is everybody else’s excuse? I’ll just go ahead and Godwin the thread by mentioning that in the reading I’ve done regarding what went wrong in 1930s Germany, the concept keeps coming up that every society contains people who are evil and insane, but something else is broken when those folks are granted access to power rather than being marginalized the way they would in a healthy society.

  90. 90
    Cassidy says:

    @The Tragically Flip:

    but proceeded with Hagel despite a similar level of oppositional throat clearing and posturing.

    You and I have two very different definitions of similiar.

    It’s the right thing to do,

    I dont agree with that. Diversity for the sake of diversity is meaningless. The right thing to do is have a functioning government as that is his ultimate job. It sucks that more people outside the white male diagram aren’t chosen, but reality is what it is. Having a big fight over nominees so that some people can get a tingle in the short and curlies is not the right thing to do.

  91. 91
    The Tragically Flip says:

    @Forum Transmitted Disease:

    Maybe, just maybe, he’s appointing the best candidates he could find for the jobs.

    So says every organization overloaded with white men in its top jobs.

    And maybe, just maybe, you could try answering without the sickening condescension.

    There is almost never a single “best” person for any fucking job ever, anywhere. There are always other equally qualified people, stronger in some areas, weaker in others. “Best” is subjective, and when those subjective criteria disproportionately result in white men, the criteria are suspect.

    You can justify this stuff for any single hire, but once you have a pattern this doesn’t fly.

  92. 92
    askew says:

    @Cassidy:

    Fair enough, but how many of these qualified non-white men would be confirmed by the Senate? This isn’t the usual politics anymore. They are so wrapped up in their mythology that they won’t even let an elected POTUS fill his cabinet positions. So what’s your suggestion?

    I think there are plenty of non-white men who could get confirmed by the Senate. The opposition to the appointees isn’t because of their qualifications, but because Obama appointed them.

    For SoD – Michelle Flournoy would have been easier to confirm than Hagel IMO.

    For Treasury – Lael Brainard is equally as qualified as Lew and doesn’t seem to have ever been considered seriously.

    For CoS – Alyssa Mastromonaco or Nancy-Ann M. DeParle don’t even seem to be under consideration and no Senate confirmation is needed.

    As for why this is happening, I do think the lack of diversity in Obama’s senior advisors leads to them suggesting fewer women and minorities for these positions.

  93. 93
    Anoniminous says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ:

    Money is also a Unit of Account.

    Problem: those who can’t intellectually handle two things simultaneously collapse in a molten heap of protoplasmic goo when attempting to add one more.

  94. 94
    Ash Can says:

    @The Tragically Flip: He didn’t back off, she did. She told him not to nominate her. What was he supposed to do?

  95. 95
    Gravenstone says:

    @The Tragically Flip:

    It doesn’t strike me warm and fuzzy that he backed off on promoting Susan Rice over spurious bullshit objections to her, but proceeded with Hagel despite a similar level of oppositional throat clearing and posturing.

    I strongly suspect that reflects the comfort of the respective parties to endure the attacks as much as anything else.

  96. 96
    patroclus says:

    The weird thing is that I “know” Dick Armey – he was a professor of economics at a college in my old hometown back in the 1970’s and I met him then (I was a teenager). He was friendly but everyone knew he was a lying extremist douchebag back then. He then moved on to the University of North Texas in Denton and made a name for himself there and the rest is history.

    This latest series of incidents is par for the course in my view…

  97. 97
    Yutsano says:

    @Ash Can: Why nominate her instead of course. Otherwise he’s worse than Bush and he sold us out. It’s like the Elizabeth Warren debacle all over again!

    (Oh wait, that happened in exactly the same way.)

  98. 98
    askew says:

    @Forum Transmitted Disease:

    I know this thought has never crossed your mind; your are obviously looking for something to be offended about, and today it’s going to be diversity.

    As I’ve said previously, I’ve been bothered by the lack of diversity for years. Not sure why you are being such an ass. Completely unnecessary.

  99. 99
    aimai says:

    @The Tragically Flip:

    Its not a similar level of posturing over Hagel–Hagel is a former Senator. Senators always, always, always, give each other a break when it comes time for an actual appointment. Its also why he could bring Clinton in as Secretary of State–because she was a Senator from a safe district. It was one reason why appointing Napolitano was so terrible for us, even though she got confirmed, because we lost big time in AZ. This is the first year there have ever been 20 female Senators from whom Obama could pick and hope to get Senatorial bennies at the confirmation hearing and he can’t touch their seats because they are either too new or he doesn’t want to disturb the balance of power in the Senate more than he has to.

    I’m not under the impression that Obama is the best thing ever to happen to women but people are forgetting just how far we’ve come, how fast, or what its like doing business under the “new moscow rules” which is that the Senate has refused to confirm literally hundreds of his nominations. He couldn’t even get rid of geithner earlier and replace him with another white male because of fears that he couldn’t get a new appointment through.

    You’ve really got to spot Obama a couple of points on this one and I say that though I’m (by Balloon Juice standards) a serious feminist.

    aimai

  100. 100
    Anoniminous says:

    @BGinCHI:

    Good.

    Lord.

  101. 101
    japa21 says:

    @The Tragically Flip: I don’t remember Obama ever stating that he intended to nominate her in the first place or that she ever really wanted the position. And as Ash Can states, she asked that she not be nominated.

    And the noise against Hagel is minute compared to the noise against Rice. (It should also be noted many on the left had reservations about Rice.)

  102. 102
    Hill Dweller says:

    @askew: Valerie Jarrett is Obama’s longest and most trusted adviser.

  103. 103
    Cassidy says:

    @askew:

    because Obama appointed them.

    This is the crux right there. It’s cynical, for sure, but the idea that these whackaloons will confirm a woman, latino, homosexual, black, anything but white person over a white male is off. Theyr’e gonna piss and moan anyway, but the odds are what they are. Again, it’s the POTUS’s job to oversee a functioning gov’t. I’d love to see a more diverse and younger crowd as well, but that’s not realistic in today’s environment.

    personally, I think he should nominate all GOP Senators to those positions that have seats that have a reasonable chance of being filled by Dems, then once the math is better, turn around and fire his cabinet.

  104. 104
    Tom says:

    Armey is not a “has been”; he is an idiot never was!

  105. 105
    askew says:

    @Cassidy:

    This is the crux right there. It’s cynical, for sure, but the idea that these whackaloons will confirm a woman, latino, homosexual, black, anything but white person over a white male is off. Theyr’e gonna piss and moan anyway, but the odds are what they are. Again, it’s the POTUS’s job to oversee a functioning gov’t. I’d love to see a more diverse and younger crowd as well, but that’s not realistic in today’s environment.

    The outrage isn’t because of the nominee’s race or gender, but solely because Obama nominated them. The outrage over Flournoy wouldn’t be any greater than the outrage over Hagel. The outrage over Lael Brainard wouldn’t be any greater than the outrage over Lew.

    I get that the Senate has stalled a large portion of Obama’s nominations, but they aren’t being stonewalled because of the nominee’s race or gender.

  106. 106
    aimai says:

    @Cassidy:

    I thought that was what he should do with Lieberman–he should have offered him a choice position and then found a “dead girl or a live boy” in his bed and fired him after the new Senator was seated.

    aimai

  107. 107
    bemused says:

    @Violet:

    One bureau should be in Somalia.

  108. 108
    askew says:

    @Hill Dweller:

    Valerie Jarrett is Obama’s longest and most trusted adviser.

    She is just one voice in his admin. The other prominent voices are men.

  109. 109
    Forum Transmitted Disease says:

    And maybe, just maybe, you could try answering without the sickening condescension.

    @The Tragically Flip: I don’t give concern trolls the benefit of kind treatment or polite answers.

    It’s not everyone’s way, but it’s my way. You’ll have to accept it, for the sake of maintaining a diverse range of opinion on this blog. Some say that maintaining a diverse environment is more important than anything else.

  110. 110
    Raven says:

    @askew: Susan Rice is not in his administration?

  111. 111
    WaterGirl says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: i completely agree with you on the details you mention. I just loved the tone. But you are right to comment on the details.

    For whatever reason, Booman and Benen both seem to be really against the platinum coin, and I’m not sure it’s compeltely rational in either case. I think it’s a gut thing.

  112. 112
    WaterGirl says:

    duplicate on ipad. sorry.

  113. 113
    aimai says:

    @askew:

    I’m not sure I agree that the outrage wouldn’t be any bigger. I think there’s a massive amount of right wing hysteria about women and non whites that leads to even more grandstanding on their corpses–I remember Zoe Baird etc…Anyway, all this second guessing is just that, second guessing. Obama isn’t perfect? Is that the point? He doesn’t manage to be all things to all of his voters? Is this supposed to lead us to, what? buyer’s remorse? I just don’t understand the nitpicking over this. If he were preventing women and minorities from getting into the pipeline lower down and thus cutting the bench for the next Democratic President I’d be concerned. But that doesn’t seem to be the case. Women and non whites are fighting their way to the top of the list because or despite him. All things aren’t equal. He has never, ever, gotten sufficient deference to his picks for anything that he can afford to do anything surprising. To my mind he just has only so many “hard ball” picks to make. When the chips were down he did us proud on the Supreme Court and he had to fight like hell for that. Why are people so quick to forget and to carp?

    aimai

  114. 114
    askew says:

    @Raven:

    I was considering her part of the cabinet not the admin. By admin, I was talking Obama’s senior advisors – Lew, Plouffe, Jarrett, etc. who help put together the shortlists for cabinet positions. Rice wouldn’t have anything to do with that.

  115. 115
    Enhanced Voting techniques says:

    @askew:

    OT – The media has noticed that Obama’s 2nd term cabinet is on pace to be less diverse than his 1st term. All of his picks so far have been white men

    egahds! the conservatives are right about Obama – this is exactly the act of a man our to destroy the US would do; appoint more old white men.

  116. 116
    Suffern ACE says:

    @gogol’s wife: But Rice could not be trusted! She was using talking points during an interview! Who does that?

  117. 117
    Andy Hall says:

    @Rome Again: How about a corpse flower? Does that work for you?

  118. 118
    dr. luba says:

    @catclub: Durien. I am told. I haven’t had the pleasure.

  119. 119
    Chyron HR says:

    Gee, I remember back when we were supposed to be outraged at the prospect of Michele Flournoy being nominated for SecDef. But of course now that she’s not, it’s just another act of bus-under-throwing-ness by the most bus-throwing-under administration in history.

  120. 120
    aimai says:

    @askew:

    Is the implication that Obama doesn’t know and respect women? Because the asshole was raised primarily by his mother, is married to an incredibly strong woman who by all reports is one of his principle political advisors, has Valerie J. as his advisor, chose Kagan and Sotomayor for the Supreme Court, put Hillary Clinton in the SOS spot and is raising two daughters. Maybe he does play basketball primarily with guys and once called a journalist sweetie but for fuck’s sake its not proof that he’s a closet sexist anymore than whatever incising on his ring is proof that he’s a closet marxist muslim who engaged in a secret gay islamic marriage. Sometimes things are complicated. Government is complicated. It has a lot of moving parts. People bring different things to each position –even things other than Genitalia.

    aimai

  121. 121
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @aimai:

    he should have offered him a choice position

    The problem being that for a Senator with cloture vote leverage there are few positions in the US government more powerful than what they already have. One of the major cabinet positions, that’s about it. Everything else is not a choice position.

  122. 122
    askew says:

    @aimai:

    I’m not sure I agree that the outrage wouldn’t be any bigger. I think there’s a massive amount of right wing hysteria about women and non whites that leads to even more grandstanding on their corpses–I remember Zoe Baird etc…Anyway, all this second guessing is just that, second guessing. Obama isn’t perfect? Is that the point? He doesn’t manage to be all things to all of his voters? Is this supposed to lead us to, what? buyer’s remorse? I just don’t understand the nitpicking over this. If he were preventing women and minorities from getting into the pipeline lower down and thus cutting the bench for the next Democratic President I’d be concerned. But that doesn’t seem to be the case. Women and non whites are fighting their way to the top of the list because or despite him. All things aren’t equal. He has never, ever, gotten sufficient deference to his picks for anything that he can afford to do anything surprising. To my mind he just has only so many “hard ball” picks to make. When the chips were down he did us proud on the Supreme Court and he had to fight like hell for that. Why are people so quick to forget and to carp?

    Zoe was a long, long time ago. It’s a different political world now. And I get tired of the idea that because Obama nominated a couple women for Supreme Court that he gets a pass on all the rest of his nominations.

    And no, there isn’t any buyer’s remorse with Obama. I am a huge Obamabot. However, it is completely reasonable to have a criticism of Obama without calling into question my motives. I am not attacking him personally. I am just expressing criticism with his cabinet choices. Are we not allowed to ever disagree with anything Obama does now?

  123. 123
    Brachiator says:

    @PaulW:

    Armey’s response: Media Matters TRICKED ME!

    He did a double reverse Breitbart on himself.

    @The Tragically Flip:

    The idea isn’t just to have a fight; it’s to get people confirmed.

    Even more than was the case with Bill Clinton, the GOP has gone out of its way to delay or scuttle Obama’s appointments. Look at judicial appointments. Back in March 2012, Harry Reid had to broker a deal with the Senate to get the GOP to back off some:

    Senate leaders have averted, for now, a showdown over President Obama’s judicial nominees, reaching a tentative agreement that would allow the chamber to pick up the pace on confirmations.
    __
    The truce comes after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada took the unusual move of trying to force a vote Wednesday on 17 nominees that had bipartisan backing but faced opposition from Republicans trying to stall the president’s picks for the federal courts….
    __
    If the deal holds, confirmation votes would be held on 12 district court nominees and two circuit court nominees by early May.
    __
    The Senate would vote on three district court nominees next week and four by the end of the month. Another three district court nominees and one circuit court nominee would be up for votes in April; by May 7, votes would be held on one circuit and two district court nominees.

    But despite even this compromise, by August, the NY Times made this observation about the impact of GOP obstructionism:

    President Obama is set to end his [first] term with dozens fewer lower-court appointments than both Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush achieved in their first four years, and probably with less of a lasting ideological imprint on the judiciary than many liberals had hoped for and conservatives had feared….
    __
    Even when the White House produced nominees, they faced significant obstacles on the Senate floor. Republicans used procedural rules to delay votes on uncontroversial appeals court nominees and on district court nominees, forcing Democrats to consume hours of precious Senate floor time on confirmation votes for judges of a type that previously would have been quickly handled.

    Also, with respect to Rice, as others have noted, she withdrew her name. And I am not certain that we know the real reasons behind the GOP’s insane opposition to her.

  124. 124
    aimai says:

    @askew:
    Aren’t you the one who criticized him for not choosing Lael Brainard over Lew? He nominated Brainard for the position she has right now–replacing a guy. How does he go from visionary to asshole by choosing someone with more seniority than her for a higher job? I just don’t get it.

    aimai

  125. 125
    Real American says:

    @askew:

    Out of the 20 cabinet-level appointments President Obama made upon entering office, 12 could be considered diverse (that is, not white men): Clinton, Holder, Salazar, Locke, Solis, Sebelius, Chu, Shinseki, Napolitano, Jackson, Rice and Kirk. That’s more than half his cabinet.

    In terms of gender diversity, according to the NYT Obama is better than Bush but on-par with Clinton. Really, the only negative shift on that front so far has been for SoS, and that was only after Rice was pilloried by the right.

    Plus, you can’t ignore the fact that both of Obama’s Supreme Court appointments have been women and both were replacing men who had retired.

  126. 126
    Cassidy says:

    @askew: There is nothing you said there I agree with.

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ: With these pricks, ego always wins.

  127. 127
    askew says:

    @aimai:

    Is the implication that Obama doesn’t know and respect women? Because the asshole was raised primarily by his mother, is married to an incredibly strong woman who by all reports is one of his principle political advisors, has Valerie J. as his advisor, chose Kagan and Sotomayor for the Supreme Court, put Hillary Clinton in the SOS spot and is raising two daughters. Maybe he does play basketball primarily with guys and once called a journalist sweetie but for fuck’s sake its not proof that he’s a closet sexist anymore than whatever incising on his ring is proof that he’s a closet marxist muslim who engaged in a secret gay islamic marriage. Sometimes things are complicated. Government is complicated. It has a lot of moving parts. People bring different things to each position –even things other than Genitalia.

    Um, could you dial back the crazy already? I didn’t say any of those thing and in fact did say that I trusted Obama’s commitment to diversity. Just because I want to see more women and minorities in Obama’s cabinet doesn’t mean that I hate Obama and believe conspiracy theories about him. You need to get a grip and realize there is a world of difference between reasonable criticism of Obama and conspiracy theories. If you can’t tell the difference, seek help.

  128. 128
    Jay in Oregon says:

    @Violet:

    He placed photos of MSNBC’s Chris Matthews and Fox News’ Sean Hannity on a screen and lamented the hyper-partisan nature of cable news, vowing that his network would provide viewers with a libertarian alternative.

    In what world are libertarians not hyper-partisan??

  129. 129
    askew says:

    @Chyron HR:

    Gee, I remember back when we were supposed to be outraged at the prospect of Michele Flournoy being nominated for SecDef. But of course now that she’s not, it’s just another act of bus-under-throwing-ness by the most bus-throwing-under administration in history.

    I certainly wasn’t outraged by Flournoy as SoD. As a whole, I haven’t been outraged by anything Obama has done in 4 years. Irritated or frustrated occasionally (surge in Afghanistan and Clinton as SoS pick were primary irritations), but not outraged. Not sure why everyone is assuming I am a firebagger because of one criticism. Kind of nuts really.

  130. 130
    aimai says:

    @askew:

    Zoe was a long time ago–I was there. But the world has just gotten worse, much worse. Brachiator is right: Obama has a job to do. There isn’t one best person for any of these jobs or, at any rate, he can’t afford to act as though there is. He has to get his key people into place as fast as he can in order to get shit done. AGainst this strong headwind he is going to have to pick and choose which battles he fights. Maybe he makes a mistake but its far from clear that the mistake he is making is the one you think he is. Gender is one consideration, race another, but the truth is that for all these positions except SOS appointing a woman or a minority will be historic because its so goddamned unusual. That’s not Obama’s fault its the fault of the 42 other guys before him. Hillel says “It is not up to you to complete the task, but neither is it permitted to abstain from the task.” I’d flip it around. Its not Obama’s only job to singlehandedly rectify the racism and sexism of our government at the same time that he is trying to govern. He can’t desist from the task, but jesus give the guy some credit for doing what he’s doing. Because what’s the point of the carping? Are you under the impression that Obama can afford to slap his forehead and call Susan Rice and say “put yourself through the ringer so I don’t look like I didn’t care about women?” AS other people have said she is young and will have a long and distinguished career ahead of her. Just as Elizabeth Warren seems to be having once Obama “threw her under the bus” or “stabbed her in the back” at the behest of the bankers or whatever.

    aimai

  131. 131
    brantl says:

    No, it’s an intelligence test that Armey clearly failed, he said anything like this and believed that a media outfit wouldn’t print it. 100-proof schmuck.

  132. 132
    Raven says:

    @askew: Cuz you talk like one?

  133. 133
    askew says:

    @Real American:

    Yep, I did the comparison and would agree that he is about on par with Clinton’s cabinet for diversity. But, since I think Obama is a significantly better president than Clinton was, I was looking for Obama’s cabinet to be even more diverse than Clinton’s. And I’d be less frustrated if Obama’s 2nd term cabinet wasn’t shaping up to be less diverse than his 1st term cabinet.

    I do give Obama immense credit for nominating 2 women to the Supreme Court. There had to be pressure on him to pick a man for the 2nd nominee for “balance” and I am glad he went with Kagan instead.

  134. 134
    aimai says:

    @askew:

    I apologize if you feel that I have taken your criticism out of context. I don’t know you or recognize your posts. I’m just taking seriously your criciticism which is to say that Obama’s ok but could be better if he just did exactly what you’d like him to do. I’m kind of that way myself and I’ve had plenty of criticisms (voiced and unvoiced) of Obama’s tactics over the years. I just don’t think this is really a fair criticism, for the reasons I’ve stated. I think it underestimates the forces against his appointments, I think it assumes facts not in evidence about the interchangeability of people in an administration (for example that Brainard would be just as good as Lew) and I think it does smack of asserting that if Obama were a better president he’d be attending to these issues first, before other issues of governance. And I’m a feminist and the mother of two daughters. And I’m an impatient person. And I happen to think these criticisms are misguided because they are indistinguishable (at least in a blog comment thread) from generic leftier than thou criticism of Obama for about a hundred thousand mistakes he’s made that the imaginary better president wouldn’t have made.

    aimai

  135. 135
    askew says:

    @Raven:

    No I don’t. If you can’t see the difference between my criticism that gives credit to Obama for what he’s already accomplished and acknowledges the difficulties he has with nominations and the unhinged rants of a firebagger, that is on you.

  136. 136
    The Tragically Flip says:

    @Cassidy:

    Diversity for the sake of diversity is meaningless

    No, actually, there’s ample empirical evidence that diverse teams perform better.

    It’s also the right thing to do in a multi-cultural society, just from a legitimacy perspective.

  137. 137
    Cassidy says:

    @askew:

    Not sure why everyone is assuming I am a firebagger because of one criticism. Kind of nuts really.

    I’m not. I juist disagree with you and stated so. But, you’re implying, the same as the firebaggers and emoprogs disappointment in a guy who has been predictably pragmatic [with a progressive bent] to take a liberal stand just for the sake of making a point. That’s not going ot happen. The issue is not that the opinion (wish there was more diversity) is wrong, but in attributing blame to Obama who has and is facing unprecedented levels of treason, obstructionism, dishonesty, bad faith, and fucking loony toons than any other POTUS in history.

  138. 138
    The Tragically Flip says:

    @japa21:

    (It should also be noted many on the left had reservations about Rice.)

    I see little evidence this affects Obama’s thinking. Certainly many on the left have problems with Hagel and Brennan. In fact, we were given credit (or blame) for scuttling Brennan as CIA honcho in 2009, but now he’s sailing toward confirmation all the same.

  139. 139
    TooManyJens says:

    @Cassidy: Diversity isn’t “just for the sake of making a point,” though. If qualified people who could make valuable contributions to our government are overlooked because they’re not white dudes, it’s not just an offense against political correctness or whatever; it’s a loss to the country.

  140. 140
    Cassidy says:

    @The Tragically Flip:

    the right thing to do

    You keep using that phrase…I’m sure you can finish it.

    I didn’say that diversity is bad or that diversity isn’t a good idea. I said diversity, for the sake of diversity is meaningless. Having a diverse cabinet just to make people feel good is silly and stupid. Having a diverse cabinet so he can have multiple backgrounds and experiences to draw on for advice is completely different. The first is a meaninglesss gesture to fullfill an arbitrary quota in someone’s head. The second is what a good leader should do. That being said, in the latter example, I’m willing to cut him some slack considering the level of obstruction he continuously faces. He has no control over that. It is now a political reality, a baseline of decision making. Making appointments to make people happy about diversity, just to have them shot down and possibly pushed out of their already high level positions makes zero sense whatsoever. Your touchy feeliness is not and should not be a consideration. Same for me.

  141. 141
    askew says:

    @aimai:

    Thanks for the additional explanation. Obama is the best president of my lifetime by far and I consider him one of the top 5 presidents in US history. I can’t imagine another president living up to his record in my lifetime. If I had a wishlist of things I wanted Obama to accomplish in his presidency, he has done almost all of them and if he gets a cooperative Congress, he’ll get the rest done. I really have very few criticisms of Obama’s presidency overall. My main 4 criticisms are:

    1. I was against the Afghan surge.
    2. I think he should have pushed for the DREAM Act earlier in his 1st term but I place most of the blame on Reid for not getting that vote before the lame duck.
    3. He has been slow in getting nominations to Congress and I wish he would have recessed appointed more people earlier in his term.
    4. The lack of diversity in his cabinet and senior admin roles. This helps his admin and builds up the Dem bench for future Dem presidents.

    That’s really it for my criticisms of Obama. #4 bugs me because I think Obama is very committed to diversity and this is something he has more control over. Also, I’d like to see him build a bench of new Obama Dems so when the next Dem president is in office, they can nominate people who came up with Obama instead of using old Clinton retreads.

  142. 142
    WaterGirl says:

    If I were President Obama, the bottom line would be to select people I felt I could trust and believed would help me get done what I felt needed to be done. That’s why Leon Panetta goes from position to position.

    I have no problem with Obama choosing Lew for Treasury because I’m sure he trusts him implicitly.

    Same with Hagel. I think Hagel has shown some balls with respect to Israel and reducing the cost of the military.

    I have been watching Susan Rice since the 2008 campaign and I like her. I am disappointed that she won’t be SOS and I’m not the biggest fan of Kerry. But I trust Obama so I shrug and say okay. Not a big fan of Brennan, but if that’s what Obama feels he needs in terms of cover to get done what he wants to get done, I am okay with that, too.

    I’m sure we see 1/4 of the picture, or much less, so I have to trust the man whose judgment I trust, even when I disagree with him. I was in tears over FISA when Obama reverssed course on his vote 4 years ago, but I think he did the thing that would get him elected, and I am okay with that in the long term, even as I hate the vote.

  143. 143
    The Tragically Flip says:

    @Forum Transmitted Disease:

    It’s not everyone’s way, but it’s my way. You’ll have to accept it, for the sake of maintaining a diverse range of opinion on this blog. Some say that maintaining a diverse environment is more important than anything else.

    Conservative bigots make the same whine about liberals “wah, they say like diversity but they don’t value our kind of bigoted, intolerant diversity!”

    Yes, you’re trying to shut people up, I don’t value that kind of “diversity.” Because it’s bullshit sophsitry from someone trying to turn the issue of Obama’s cabinet diversity into yet another personality squabble. Askew objects to something Obama is doing (in mild and hesitant terms I might add), so s/he must be “concern troll.” Obama never fails, he can only be failed by insufficient faith in him.

  144. 144
    Cassidy says:

    @TooManyJens: I don’t believe that’s why they’re being overlooked, though. It’s one thing for him to consciously decide to not have women and minorities. It’s something else entirely if he’s making a decision based on pragmatism. One is a statement of personal bias, that I personally don’t believe exists. The other is an acceptance of political reality.

  145. 145
    The Tragically Flip says:

    @Cassidy:

    Edit slightly as I misunderstood part of your answer:

    We agree it’s not just empty symbolism, but even if it was, for the people who aren’t white males, they seem to find it important symbolism too, and I’m not going to argue with them. I don’t know how I’d feel if my group (white male) was persistenly and consistently underrepresented in every powerful role in society, so maybe you (even if you’re not a white male) shouldn’t be so dismissive of the concern. You don’t find it important, but others do.

    It’s not wrong for Obama’s supporters to encourage him to have the fight and force more bigoted Republicans to expose themselves as such. Giving in because they’re such assholes only encourages more assholedom. Fight the fights that need fighting as someone said.

  146. 146
    Flying Squirrel Girl says:

    @BGinCHI: The mocking they get in response is priceless. “I used to have a $100 bill but I got rid of it because it was too heavy.”

  147. 147
    TooManyJens says:

    @Cassidy: If “pragmatism” means “we have to nominate white dudes because we can’t get anyone else through the Senate,” then it’s exactly why they’re being overlooked. It just shifts who is to blame for them getting passed over.

    I think that it’s almost certainly easier to get white men through the Senate that POC and/or women, but I don’t think that there’s a guarantee that either white men will get confirmed or that people who aren’t white men won’t. So I assign some responsibility for this to the Senate but some to the President. (And some to historical discrimination that means there are disproportionate numbers of white men in the pipeline.) That doesn’t mean that I think Obama is actively deciding he wants fewer women and minorities, only that those names may not come to mind for him and his advisors as readily for a variety of reasons.

  148. 148
    Hill Dweller says:

    I think the overriding factor in these latest appointments is familiarity. All the nominees were either already in the administration or close to the President.

    I’m never ceased to be amazed by the Republicans’ ability to mainstream their desired narratives. They’re pushing this lack of diversity nonsense, which is nothing more than projection, and the media is mindlessly parroting it.

    Apparently, MSNBC has been pushing the lack of diversity talking point all day.

  149. 149
    ruemara says:

    @askew: I think the issue is that this is the current form of outrage over something that has not actually come to fruition. It also is an “outrage” brought up by hypocrites, and it ignores the tenure of the individual. Which makes an already sensitive populace, a little bit more sensitive.

  150. 150
    aimai says:

    @askew:

    But I think the evidence–Lael Brainard is one example–is that he is doing that.

    I try to be very, very, very, sparing with my criticisms of the President because I know just how undermined and insulted marginalized Democratic voters were when the left (among whom I count myself) attacked the President for his various compromises during the first term. We are very quick to criticize Obama for having to triangulate and compromise when, after really attending over the last four years, I’m not sure he had much choice or, at any rate, his choices were his choices to make. I still think he’s made lots of errors, but I acquit him of making them out of the wrong motives and I am pretty sure that things look very different from where he sits than from where I sit.

    aimai

  151. 151
    Cassidy says:

    @The Tragically Flip: I’m starting to think you don’t understand things very well. Again, the successful makeup of a group of people is not tethered to the reasons behind it. If I create a think tank of panel of a clown, a transvestit midget, and a fist sized dildo just to show you I can be diverse, odds are I’m not going to get good advice even if you are happy that I made diversity a first priority.

    Now, if I choose a diverse group of people based on a range of ages and qualifications and experiences, odds are I’m going to have a successful group of people to advise me.

    The difference is in making a decision to appeal to your touchy feeliness vs. making a good leadership decision that’s been common knowledge for a long time.

    Diversity, for the sake of diversity, is meaningless.

  152. 152
    aimai says:

    @WaterGirl:

    I think Kerry will be terrific as SOS and we can probably get a better Senator out of it so its a win/win. I don’t know why Rice is considered to have been a better candidate than Kerry. I”m sure she would have been fine but I don’t see that someone with Kerry’s inside and outside experience of foreign policy and his multi year knowledge of all the players on the US side as well as the foreign side could ever be considered other than a stellar pick.

    aimai

  153. 153
    Cassidy says:

    @TooManyJens: That’s fair.

    I don’t think you or askew are wrong in your disappointment. I do wish there was more diversity, if for no other reason to spotlight younger talent. I’m just not sure it’s fair to blame Obama considering what he’s up against.

  154. 154
    TooManyJens says:

    Is there anybody who’s advocating that the President should appoint unqualified people just for the sake of diversity? If not, why does this keep coming up? Can we please start with the assumption that there are qualified people who are not white men and work from there?

  155. 155
    askew says:

    @Hill Dweller:

    In my defense, I’ve been complaining about this lack of diversity for years now in the Obama admin. I do get why the media is jumping on the bandwagon now though. Announcing 4 white guy nominees in a row was dumb politics on the Obama team’s part. I am pretty sure the head of the EPA will be a woman and it would have been better optics to push that nominee out ahead of Lew.

  156. 156
    TooManyJens says:

    @Cassidy: I would say that Obama is one of the people I’m unhappy with about this situation, but just one on a long list.

  157. 157
    askew says:

    @TooManyJens:

    I think that it’s almost certainly easier to get white men through the Senate that POC and/or women, but I don’t think that there’s a guarantee that either white men will get confirmed or that people who aren’t white men won’t. So I assign some responsibility for this to the Senate but some to the President. (And some to historical discrimination that means there are disproportionate numbers of white men in the pipeline.) That doesn’t mean that I think Obama is actively deciding he wants fewer women and minorities, only that those names may not come to mind for him and his advisors as readily for a variety of reasons.

    I am sure the lack of women/minorities in the pipeline is a big part of the problem. And Obama is doing a great job in getting women/minorities in the #2 or #3 spots so that in the next Dem admin they may get the cabinet nod. And I am hoping that Obama will fill the “lesser” cabinet spots with women/minorities as spots open up – EPA, Transportation, OMB, Interior, etc.

  158. 158
    Ash Can says:

    @dr. luba: I heard about durians on teh Interwebz a few years ago, how some people loved them and would move heaven and earth to get them, while others hated them, and that Singapore had laws against carrying them on subways because the damned things smelled so bad, etc. So, when they turned up shortly after that at a nearby Korean supermarket, I just had to try one. It was…interesting. The flavor was sort of a combination of passion fruit, almond, Swiss cheese…and onion. I didn’t mind the first three flavors, but the oniony-ness shot it all to hell for me. I tried a few nibbles over the course of a few days, and finally threw the damned thing out, chalking it up to an inexpensive lesson learned.

  159. 159
    Cassidy says:

    @TooManyJens: I think that’s an agree to disagree moment, even though you’re wroong. ;)

    In all seriousness, back to the general topic of diversity. When I hear people placeing the importance of diversity over other factors, what I hear is targeted selection of racial and gender profiles, like a focus group, and that has never made sense to me from a leadership perspective. As a leader, I want a diverse group of people supporting me, divorced from the notions of race and gender; essentially I’m looking for subject matter experts.

    Again, I think a generous amount of leeway has to be given due to outside forces. I don’t believe for one moment that his picks accurately reflect his ideal wants.

  160. 160
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Ash Can:
    Did you buy a whole durian (which you’d need thick work gloves to handle and a machete to open) or a few flesh-covered seeds in a tray?

  161. 161
    johnny aquitard says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ:

    every society contains people who are evil and insane, but something else is broken when those folks are granted access to power rather than being marginalized the way they would in a healthy society

    Just a guess but I’d say it’s when a society reaches a certain critical percentage of people who are fearful of the world, feel their social identity is threatened, are not very open to new experience, and are intolerant of ambiguity.

    In other words, the right wing authoritarian leaders gain power when there are enough right wing authoritarian followers.

  162. 162
    The Tragically Flip says:

    @Cassidy:

    You’re right, I did have trouble understanding you, I thought you had backed off this empirically false claim:

    Diversity, for the sake of diversity, is meaningless.

    And now your attempt to reductio ad absurdum actually ends up in being bigoted against small statured transvestites, whom you apparently equate to clowns and inanimate sex toys, but still this failed joke aside I maintain that diversity is a worthwhile end in its own right.

    It doesn’t mean you should prefer someone manifestly unqualitied for a job in stead of a highly qualified but not diverse pick, but it is a real factor that should be assigned some weight. It should be among the criteria for picking your team.

    The larger fallacy is your implied false dichotomy. The idea that Obama can either pick a highly competent white man, or some bumbling moron who happens to be black, female or whatever other diversity criteria. Obviously there are qualified people meeting the diversity criteria for most of the jobs he’s hiring. If there’s not, he should view that as a serious societal problem and say something about it. Whatever the feeder leagues are for those jobs would need to be fixed to be less exclusive.

  163. 163
    The Tragically Flip says:

    Also, now is the time to complain about this issue if one is distressed by it. Because he hasn’t announced all his picks. Waiting until the decision is made to complain is much stupider than complaining in advance, and being pleasantly surprised with his upcoming picks.

    Lobbying is obviously more effective before any decision is made. Changing after is always a heavier lift (and more damaging for all concerned, if you’re trying to protect Obama from undue criticism, it’s better to have this heard now, and hopefully come to naught than for his cabinet really to be indefensibly uniform and live with years of insincere right wing carping about it, or some embarassing about-face where Obama withdraws a nominee and puts up a diversity pick).

  164. 164
    Cassidy says:

    @The Tragically Flip: You continue to use words and phrases you clearly don’t understand. You lack any kind of ability to be objective, rational, or logical on this issue. I think we’re done here.

    The joke was funny to me, but I thought you’d appreciate the choosing a fist sized dildo; I was pandering to you in that scenario. I thought you’d be happy with the inclusion and commitment to diversity.

  165. 165
    brantl says:

    @Cassidy:

    You and I have two very different definitions of similiar.

    You shouldn’t, if anything the objections to Hagel are at least a little substantial. (BItching about an ambassador being gay? Bullshit.)

  166. 166
    aimai says:

    @The Tragically Flip:

    A) the top slot is, by definition, not a feeder slot.
    B) Of all people in the universe Obama is the one you think might not “view it as a serious societal problem” that there isn’t enough diversity in the US government/admin/bureaucracy?

    aimai

  167. 167
    aimai says:

    @The Tragically Flip:

    Ohmygod do you really think we will “live with years of insincere right wing carping?” What are the odds?

    aimai

  168. 168
    Cassidy says:

    @aimai: It’s always Obama’s fault.

  169. 169
    Brachiator says:

    @askew:

    The lack of diversity in his cabinet and senior admin roles.

    I don’t have any major issues with your other criticisms. But here, my earliest reservation was not that the cabinet was not diverse, but that it had too many Clinton era appointments and not enough younger people. Different grist for a different mill.

    Also, let’s look at the facts about the Obama Administration, from 2011:

    A mere glance around Barack Obama’s Cabinet table provides ample evidence of the president’s philosophy that diversity is an important element of good government. Fewer than half of the 22 officials designated by Obama as having Cabinet rank are white men — only nine in fact.
    __
    Likewise, fewer than half of the key personnel in the Obama White House are white males. (Cynics will correctly note that the most powerful West Wing aides are still mostly white men.) A National Journal survey of 366 of the president’s Decision Makers — people appointed or nominated to senior positions throughout the executive branch — found that white men hold 52 percent of the jobs. But when 49 holdovers from the Bush era are excluded, white guys make up just under half — 49 percent — of the Obama team.
    __
    More than 40 percent of Obama’s early appointments and nominations can claim some link to Bill Clinton, who entered the White House vowing that his administration would “look like America.” The extent of the Obama administration’s ties to the past is not surprising, given the opportunities that Clinton’s two terms gave Democrats to develop their talent pool.

    Bill Clinton, oddly enough, “was much more reluctant to draw on the pool of his most recent Democratic predecessor,” Jimmy Carter.

  170. 170
    askew says:

    @Brachiator:

    I definitely agree that there are too many Clinton retreads in the Obama admin especially compared to how many Carter retreads in the Clinton admin. Part of that is due to Obama not having an Obama network to draw from for positions, whereas Clinton had people he brought with him from Arkansas. I do hope that Obama continues to build up a good Dem farm team so that the next Dem president can draw on the Obama network instead of the old tired names from the Clinton admin.

  171. 171
    WaterGirl says:

    @aimai: I’m glad to hear you say you think Kerry will be terrific because I’ve got a lot of respect for your opinion. My concerns?

    Kerry’s style just seems flat to me, and most of the time he doesn’t seem to be all that good at communicating as a politician. But maybe the communication skills needed as SOS are not the same as for his current position.

    I’m also kind of worried about his senate seat.

  172. 172
    Original Lee says:

    @askew: I think you’re making some very good points on this topic. However, I also think that some of the people Obama would like to ask have already decided they don’t want the job badly enough to go through the bruising Congressional fight. If they had been contemplating it, what happened to Susan Rice certainly would have given them some food for thought.

  173. 173
    aimai says:

    @WaterGirl:

    Kerry has a flat affect but I don’t see the SOS position as being one which requires a whole lot of warm fuzzy feelings to be projected and he’s extremely businesslike, professional, and sure, dull but I tend to think that will be a plus. He’s a very hard worker and his work on things like BCCI show that he is capable of extremely sustained, thoughtful, difficult work on international and economic issues. He’s been a foreign policy guy forever. He’s not pro war although he did vote for the Iraq war and I’ve been, personally, angry with him ever since. He really wants the job and apparently has been bucking for it for a long time and I think that is important, as well. Its not a stepping stone to something else, for him, since he’s had his run at the presidency, its more the capstone to his career and I honor him for that.

    As for what will happen I believe (though I could be wrong) that Markey is going to cruise to victory and become a pretty damned good Senator. I don’t think that the teaparty/angry asshole vote is going to get sufficiently riled up this time round to beat out Elizabeth Warren and the co-ordinated campaign of 2012’s email list. People are fired up and proud of having voted for Warren when it mattered. I actually don’t think that feeling of passion will wear off by the time we hold a special election. If the Dems were smart they’d change the rules so everyone can absentee ballot on that day and make turnout a no brainer but I’m sure there are all kinds of reasons why that isn’t possible. We don’t have no fault absentee ballotting for regular elections either.

    aimai

  174. 174
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @J.A.F. Rusty Shackleford:

    I don’t think Hilda Solis is going anywhere.

    She just resigned.

  175. 175
  176. 176
    Brachiator says:

    @SiubhanDuinne:

    RE: I don’t think Hilda Solis is going anywhere.

    She just resigned.

    Good luck to her in the future. This presents quite an opportunity. I wish that Obama could find his Francis Perkins (FDRs Commerce Secretary) and either make acting Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank (hey, a woman!) official or get someone especially strong and innovative for the office.

    And notice the GOP obstructionism keeping the Commerce post officially vacant.

    But I would really like to see a strong alterative voice to Treasury advising on how to get the economy going again.

    Commerce and Labor should be much, much more involved in crafting economic and tax policy.

  177. 177
    Mnemosyne says:

    @J.A.F. Rusty Shackleford:

    To your point, we should be taking a look at the lesser-known names being appointed to lower positions in those departments, not just the headliners. I understand what the point is about the headliners, but sometimes you can distract your opponents with a white male headliner while stocking the agency with a more diverse staff who will then be available to future Democratic administrations.

    I mean, who the hell ever heard of Susan Rice until this year? But she was in a position to even be discussed as a possible SoS because she had been appointed to a lower position in 2008.

  178. 178
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @TooManyJens:

    You beat me to it.

    True, but you provided a value-added link!

  179. 179
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Brachiator:

    Commerce and Labor should be much, much more involved in crafting economic and tax policy.

    Fully concur.

  180. 180
    redshirt says:

    They are what we thought they were!

    Stupid, that is. Again, our saving grace.

  181. 181

    Accident my hairy white butt!

    Go read.

Comments are closed.