Sunday, May 07, 2006

Diversity in the Bush White House

The Washington Post had an article today distributing the latest Democrat talking points, this time a House Democrat Report comparing the Bush and Clinton administration's records on appointing women and minorities, five years into their administrations.

They seemed disturbed that Bush is not doing as well as did Clinton:

Women made up about 37 percent of the 2,786 political appointees in the Bush administration in 2005, compared with about 47 percent in the Clinton administration in 1997, according to the report and supplemental data released last week by the Democratic staff of the House Government Reform Committee. Similarly, about 13 percent of Bush administration appointees last year were racial minorities, compared with 24 percent in the fifth year of Clinton's presidency, the report found.

The article notes that the Democrat's reported ignored that Bush still has the most diverse cabinet ever:

What the report does not mention, however, is that Bush has established a record of diversity in his Cabinet. Bush's Cabinet, which includes the vice president and the heads of 15 executive departments, currently has two Hispanics, two African Americans and two Asian Americans. Three departments -- State, Education and Labor -- are headed by women, and a fourth, Interior, has an acting secretary who is a woman.

Before Bush took office, no minority had occupied any of the four highest-profile Cabinet positions -- attorney general and the secretaries of the Defense, State and Treasury departments. Now, Alberto R. Gonzales, a Hispanic, is attorney general. Condoleezza Rice is the first African American woman to be secretary of state; her predecessor, Colin L. Powell, was the first African American named to that post.

The House Democrats instead drive home the overall numbers:

The Democrats' report argues that the decline in the number of female and minority political appointees is significant because appointees are an area of government in which a president has the most power to leave his mark. Bush, like Clinton, has said he is proud of the diversity of his administration.

The decline occurred despite a 5 percent overall increase in political appointees since 1997.

OK, first let's deal with the elephant in the room the democrats want us to forget -- the party of the elephant (Republicans) controls the political appointee process. And political appointees are mostly members of the political party in power.

And the Republican party has a lower percentage of women and minorities than the Democrat party. And after 5 years, the administration has had time to replace most of the previous administration's appointees, which in a Democrat administration would have included more women and minorities, since they make up a larger percentage of the Democrat party.

So of course the number of women and minorities has declined over 5 years, just as the number of men and whites declined over the years of the Clinton administration, which replaced 12 years of Republican appointments.

Last point -- the political appointees aren't really the way to leave a mark. Clinton left HIS mark by converting political appointee positions to civil service positions -- the political appointees can be replaced by the next administration, the civil service employees cannot.

The dirty little secret -- the Civil Service employment has grown so large and unwieldy that it is almost impossible for ANY administration to really direct the path of government. The career employees have been there too long, and they know they can wait out the administrations. In many ways the government is running on autopilot, with the executive at the helm with a disconnected steering wheel.

Updated to fix some rather egregious grammatical errors.

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