Wanted: Pro-NAFTA Minority for Cabinet Post

Continuing the media trend of cheering Obama’s center-right cabinet nominees, the Los Angeles Times‘ editorial page weighs in today (12/28/08):

The best measure by which to evaluate any president’s administration is the quality of the appointees. In recent times, however, a president’s inner circle also has been viewed through the prism of identity politics. Obama has succeeded on both levels, assembling an impressive roster that includes men and women, blacks, whites, Latinos and Asian-Americans. Only once did he seem willing to allow diversity to trump policy. He offered the Cabinet-level position of trade representative to the protectionist Rep. Xavier Becerra, but after Becerra withdrew — and after Obama had named another Latino, [Ken] Salazar, as secretary of the Interior — the Rubik’s Cube was twisted again and the trade portfolio went to former Dallas Mayor Ron Kirk, an African-American supporter of NAFTA.

In other words, the corporate media’s preference is for ethnically diverse cabinet officials who demonstrate little to noideological diversity. Knowing that this will please the corporate press is a lot easier than solving a Rubik’s Cube.

The editorial would also seem not to have noticed that it has contrasted “quality” with “identity politics”–in this context meaning the hiring of anyone who is not a white man.

About Peter Hart

Activism Director and and Co-producer of CounterSpinPeter Hart is the activism director at FAIR. He writes for FAIR's magazine Extra! and is also a co-host and producer of FAIR's syndicated radio show CounterSpin. He is the author of The Oh Really? Factor: Unspinning Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly (Seven Stories Press, 2003). Hart has been interviewed by a number of media outlets, including NBC Nightly News, Fox News Channel's O'Reilly Factor, the Los Angeles Times, Newsday and the Associated Press. He has also appeared on Showtime and in the movie Outfoxed. Follow Peter on Twitter at @peterfhart.