Around midday on Jan. 8 or thereabouts, the diversity quotient in the president's circle exceeded its level of permissible maleness, stoking a clamor for "binders of women" to bring it back under control. Or perhaps we should say "maleness and whiteness," as, along with estrogen, melanin also (to stretch a metaphor) seemed to be doing a fade.
The predictable voices called it depressing, immoral, illegal and undemographic. "Treasury Secretary, white guy," lamented Ruth Marcus. "White guy for Secretary of State, white guy for defense secretary, white guy for CIA." What nobody asked was if these white guys were good, or if the black guys and girls they wished to promote would be any better, and the answer to both of these questions is "no."
These particular white guys are all mediocre, but so are the nonwhites and women the liberals think should replace them. Someone should tell them that the purpose of staffing the government isn't to give every group its allotment of places, but to put people in power who know what they're doing. Color and gender aren't qualifications. Lincoln was a white guy; so was James Buchanan. White guys gave us Watergate, and then Jimmy Carter. But other white guys wrote the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, and those worked out pretty well.
There are real moral reasons we want all of our offices open to all of our people, and they have nothing to do with the care and placating of groups. One is that it's good for the country to widen the pool from which it draws talent. Another is that it we should offer fair play to each individual. When campaigning for president, John Kennedy didn't say Catholics had a right to one of their number as president; he said his religion shouldn't stand in his way.
We have now had a black and a Catholic as president; the Supreme Court has three Jews and five Catholics, many Catholics and one Jew have appeared on national tickets. The four leaders of Congress include two Catholics and one Mormon, and the national tickets last year didn't have a single white Protestant. Natural selection is producing diversity, without manipulation, hysterics or stress.
Authentic diversity proceeds on its own, driven by individuals' career choices, abetted by chance and fate. Nobody planned that Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice would emerge in sequence as logical picks for a Republican president; or that two different children of Indian immigrants would become Republican governors in Deep Southern states. This happened without grief from the grievance-industrial complex and seems to work better than the Democrats' method of bean counting, tantrums and infantile jabs at "white guys."
At some point, the Democrats should face facts and realize that using warm bodies to measure "inclusion" hasn't worked out all that well. They use affirmative action to get minorities into elite universities and then seem shocked when their graduation rates lag. They create minority districts to increase the number of nonwhites in Congress, only to find that their primary elections dominated (as in Detroit last year) by an argument over whether one of the candidates is "black enough" to serve. That's why the Republicans, with far fewer numbers, have the nonwhites and women who have a bright future and are stars on the national scene.
"For all the handwringing over the lack of diversity in the Obama Administration's second term cabinet, Democrats should really be more depressed about the fact that their potential 2016 field is a lot less diverse than the GOP's," reports Amy Walter for ABC News. She's right. Take away Hillary Clinton, and they're just a bunch of white guys.
Examiner Columnist Noemie Emery is contributing editor to The Weekly Standard and author of "Great Expectations: The Troubled Lives of Political Families."