A Politico article asserted that President-elect Barack Obama "hasn't given back" to the South "with an appointment" to his Cabinet, ignoring nominees who have spent many years living or working in the South.
In a December 19 article, Politico again asserted that President-elect Barack Obama "hasn't given back" to the South "with an appointment" to his Cabinet, ignoring nominees who have spent many years living or working in the South. The Politico article did not mention Environmental Protection Agency administrator-designate Lisa Jackson, who was raised in New Orleans and attended Tulane University, and made reference to Secretary of State-designate Hillary Clinton, who was first lady of Arkansas for 12 years, without counting Clinton as a Southerner.
Politico also did not count as Southerners two Obama Cabinet nominees who have lived or worked in Texas, a part of the Confederacy: Former Dallas Mayor Ron Kirk, Obama's choice as U.S. trade representative, who was born, raised, and has spent nearly his entire adult life in Texas; and Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who served as the president of Texas A&M University immediately before rejoining the government in 2006. Politico did describe Kirk as a "Texan" earlier in the article, but not as a Southerner.
By not counting any of these four Cabinet-level appointees as Southerners, Politico effectively set the standard that only those nominees who have spent their entire lives in parts of the South besides Texas can legitimately be described as Southerners.
From the December 19 Politico article by Carrie Budoff Brown and Nia-Malika Henderson:
Consider the scorecard: The centrist Democratic Leadership Council claims ties with half the group. Movement progressives count a single one, California Rep. Hilda L. Solis, a union favorite, at the Labor Department.
But if Obama gives with Solis, he takes away with free trade advocate and former Dallas Mayor Ron Kirk, no union favorite, for trade representative.
Obama's Cabinet, which will be rounded out Friday with formal announcements for labor and transportation, is politically moderate and ethnically diverse. There are Ivy Leaguers and hoopsters, loyalists to Hillary Rodham Clinton and longtime allies of Obama, and Midwesterners, Westerners and New Yorkers. Texans filled 43's White House, but not 44's, with just one in Kirk.
Obama plans to install a Republican, Rep. Ray LaHood of Illinois, at transportation, although he is considered a moderate. The president-elect also plans to keep President George W. Bush's defense secretary, Robert Gates.
In terms of Southerners, the region delivered some of Obama's sweetest electoral victories, but he hasn't given back with an appointment. The West made out well, landing four Cabinet posts, and a half-dozen hail from the Midwest.