The media must be feeling a little rebuffed today. It's not just that the media made all the difference in winning a failed president a second term, but that so much of the dirty work to make that possible was based on identity politics.
Time and again, Romney, Ryan, and Republicans in general were pilloried in the media as too white, too male, and too generic. But now that he's safely reelected, Obama is openly thumbing his nose at the same identity politics that won him a second term by nominating a cabinet that, according to the media, is too white, too male, and too generic.
NBC's Chuck Todd, Mark Murray, Domenico Montanaro, and Brooke Brower:
Bottom line: The second-term cabinet shuffle has been an unforced error so far. (The reason why the White House is receiving criticism for a lack of diversity is that it has nominated three consecutive white men for cabinet posts -- John Kerry, Chuck Hagel, and today Jack Lew -- but without a high-profile woman or minority thrown into the mix. And that doesn’t include John Brennan at CIA and a likely white male to be the next White House chief of staff.) Indeed, you could argue that the Romney folks thought a lot more about staffing a Romney administration over the next four years than Team Obama did about a second-term administration.
The New York Times:
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. …
“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.”
About all those white guys: What a shame.
Not an outrage, but a shame. The face of power that President Obama has chosen to present to the country and the world with his second-term Cabinet picks is striking — except for the African American president at the top of the pyramid — for its retro look, white and male. It’s “Mad Men” Goes to Washington, except Peggy’s leaving.
You get the idea.
1. Obama always treats the media this way because he knows he can. What's the media going to do, damage him in a way that undermines his political power? Never.
2. This is the media's idea of "holding Obama accountable." In other words, in the media's fevered, left-wing mind, hitting Obama for not playing the identity politics game is the media's idea of holding his feet to the fire -- you know, because he wasn't liberal enough.
3. It's all theatre. Through this growing, coordinated criticism, the media is deliberately pushing the idea that identity politics is a virtue above and beyond one's qualifications. And that's their only opposition to these nominees: gender and skin color (remember when such a thing was called "discrimination?"). And yet, the media refuses to oppose the likes of a Chuck Hagel over his record and statements surrounding Israel and Iran. Good heavens, the media can't even bring itself to criticize Hagel for his opposition to abortion in cases of rape and incest -- something any other Republican would be vilified for.
As we saw the moment Obama stepped onto the national stage, no matter what -- no matter how big the deficit, how high the unemployment, how few the jobs, how big the lie surrounding Libya, or how generic the cabinet -- the media will never-ever-ever make Obama pay a political price for anything.
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