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"Anybody but the gay"

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My friend Chris, who's been involved in DC politics for probably as long as me, is starting to see a larger, more disturbing, pattern. He just wrote me the following:

You know that I’m less likely than you to read bad signs into things, but I have to say that the last couple of days have been pretty bad on the Obama front.

Rick Warren was disturbing, but potentially a tactically useful move, so I was willing to cut Obama some slack. But it’s worrying to me that neither one of the unambiguously qualified potential gay appointees actually got an appointment.

I can’t speak to Mary Beth Maxwell because I’ve never met her and our paths haven’t crossed. I’m sure she’s terrific; I just can’t personally vouch for that.

The fact that John Berry got passed over for Interior really bites – he’s the best there is, knows the Interior Department like the back of his hand and has already been through Senate confirmation previously. I’m sure Ken Salazar has his good points, but somebody needs to tell him it’s rude to wear a hat at a press conference. If you have to have a straight Secretary of the Interior, couldn’t he at least avoid being tacky?

But the one that gets me is SBA. Fred Hochberg has worked his ass off for Obama, he’s on the transition team, and he’s the former Deputy Administrator at SBA. The nomination that got made – well, I’m sure she’s fine, and I hope she does well, but there’s nothing compelling about her appointment.

It’s the same with Salazar – with Solis’ nomination, especially, there was no compelling need for another Latino appointment, but I acknowledge the political benefit. But that’s not true with SBA, and what happened there makes me question the Interior appointment, too. I can’t think of any common reasoning on these appointments except “anybody but the gay guy.”

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