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Shouldn't we have expected more from Obama's cabinet?

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Without minimizing the enormous change at the top, Obama's cabinet is little more than business as usual for Washington. Whether it's the same free market types who led us into this recession or the same familiar faces everyone knows, the new team looks similar to the old team. In Spain, Jose Luis Zapatero updated his cabinet with a female majority and even the conservative Nicolas Sarkozy of France divided cabinet positions equally between men and women.

In the US women voters have been critical to the success of Democrats and yet look at the numbers. It's a valid criticism to expect more from someone who campaigned on the theme of change. There appears to be an overcompensation for the ground breaking nature of his own candidacy and a fear of living up to expectations of change in policy. In this climate and after this hard fought win, the new look that's really the old look becomes less inspiring by the day. We've been governed by fear for the last eight years and now it appears as though Obama is going to govern based on his own fears of leadership and clear direction.

It might be diverse, but not everyone is happy. Some women's groups are disappointed. Among Obama's strongest backers during the election, they now say they don't have enough seats at the table.

That's because of Obama's 20 announced Cabinet-level posts, five went to women: Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano as homeland security secretary, Sen. Hillary Clinton as secretary of state, Rep. Hilda Solis as labor secretary, Susan Rice as United Nations ambassador and Lisa Jackson as Environmental Protection Agency chief.

"When you are looking at a Cabinet and you have such a small number of women in the room when the big decisions are being made, there need to be a lot more women's voices in this administration," said Kim Gandy, president of the National Organization for Women.

Bill Clinton and President Bush each had a comparable number of women in their first Cabinets, but women's groups say they hoped they'd make progress.

Amy Siskind, co-founder of the nonpartisan group New Agenda, accuses Obama of taking "shocking steps backward" and said "this constituency does not matter to the president-elect."

Obama has said he's picking people for their skills and not pandering to special interests.

"In this case, we have seen Obama emphasize credentials," said Anne Kornblut of The Washington Post. "I think they obviously knew they would get a lot of bang for their buck, so to speak, in appointing Clinton, but at the end of the day, the numbers really aren't any more impressive than any previous president."
Ah hah, the old "picking people for their skills and not pandering to special interest" bullshit. Sorry, but that's total BS and exactly what the right throws out, but of course, this cabinet looks pretty conservative, so if the shoe fits...

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