Archive for Sunday, December 2, 2012

Editorial: Leadership Gap

A slate of U.S. House committee chairs made up entirely of white men indicates Republicans have a ways to go to become a more inclusive party.

December 2, 2012


In the wake of the recent presidential election that showed a wide disparity in candidate preferences among female and minority voters, many Republican leaders expressed the need to increase the diversity of their party.

News out of Washington last week indicates that such a transition may take some time.

As the majority party in the U.S. House, Republicans get to assign the chairmen of all the House committees. On Tuesday, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, announced the names of those chairmen. All were white men; no women or minorities made the cut.

Only one committee currently is chaired by a woman — Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida — but she is stepping down as chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee because of term limits set by party rules. Two lower-tier committees — the Ethics Committee and House Administration — still are awaiting chairs but neither committee has any women or minority members.

Part of the problem is that committee chairs typically are chosen based on their seniority on committees and Republican women and minorities simply aren’t at the top of the seniority ladder. That’s not surprising given that only 20 Republican women and fewer than 10 minorities will be serving in the House next year. By comparison, Democrats will have 61 women in the House and, for the first time in history, women and minority members will make up a majority the House Democratic Caucus.

The House numbers, along with statistics from the recent presidential race, point to a trend the GOP should carefully examine. Based on exit polls examined by the Pew Research Center, President Obama drew 55 percent of the women’s vote compared with 44 percent for Mitt Romney. Obama also drew a whopping 93 percent of the black vote and 71 percent of the Hispanic vote, compared with 6 percent and 27 percent, respectively, for Romney. Those numbers are particularly important because of the fact that combined minorities are expected to make up a majority of the U.S. population by 2050, according to Pew projections.

Certainly, women and minorities shouldn’t be appointed to chair committees if they lack the necessary qualifications or experience, but the fact that the Republican leadership of the House could identify no women or minority representatives to fill any of the chairs shows how much work the party has to do to broaden its gender and racial base.


George Lippencott 1 year, 4 months ago

We could try the 1974 experiment again!!!


jayhawklawrence 1 year, 4 months ago

For me, the issue is not so much the racial or gender makeup, it is the fact that these old white men are so bad at their jobs.


George Lippencott 1 year, 4 months ago

The word is seniority. If you have it you get to be a chair.. Recent arrivals need not apply.

The Democrats are unlikely to serve as chairmen in a Republican House. They do have leaderships positions for their caucus. They appointed exactly the same parentage of women to those senior positions as they have women in the House. They're not moving the ball.very fast either. Is that worth a comment?


pushobamaoffthecliff 1 year, 4 months ago

Hmmm, even some Dems want to do away with affirmative action and one of them is a regular columnist on this exuberating newspaper based in Lawrence, The Little Blue Abcsess.


Liberty275 1 year, 4 months ago

Republicans will have give in on abortion to broaden it's base of women, and I'm not sure that will ever happen. To garner less affluent voters, they will have to increase taxes and spend more on social programs. To a tiny degree they might do that, but not enough to make any new friends.

I'm not sure the republicans need to change. They have lost the last two presidential elections to a charismatic man running a good campaign, but the democrats aren't always so blessed. The have failed with Kerry, Gore and Carter in my voting lifetime. Two wins don't make a dynasty.

The pendulum, it swings.


Rich_Crank 1 year, 4 months ago

"... such a transition may take some time."

I suspect that any such "transition" (given we're talking here about the current Republican party) will take centuries ... or -- more likely -- never happen at all.

It's a nice (if rare) attempt at a progressive stance, though, Mr. Simons.


Briseis 1 year, 4 months ago

The following are a few basic historical facts that every American should know.

Fact: The Republican Party was founded primarily to oppose slavery, and Republicans eventually abolished slavery. The Democratic Party fought them and tried to maintain and expand slavery.

Why is this indisputable fact so rarely mentioned? PBS documentaries about slavery and the Civil War barely mention it, for example. One can certainly argue that the parties have changed dramatically in 150 years, but that does not change the historical fact that it was the Democrats who supported slavery and the Republicans who opposed it. And that indisputable fact should not be airbrushed out for fear that it will tarnish the modern Democratic Party.


Thomas Bryce 1 year, 4 months ago

Doesn't sound like The GOP has learned a thing from all that has happened recently. The saying goes"Those who do not remember History are Doomed to Repeat it." The GOP is headed for Political Irrelevance if not out right extinction. It is obvious the Country is moving in a different direction. Change and Adapt or get left behind. That is Evolution. Too bad some Deny its existence. We are watching the results of it as we speak.


grammaddy 1 year, 4 months ago

They should have borrowed Mitt's binders.


observant 1 year, 4 months ago

Question of the day. How much longer will Dolph allow his editorial staff to criticize the Republicans and the way they operate?


Richard Heckler 1 year, 4 months ago

President Obama and the USA Congress,

What are you going to do? This country cannot wait another fours years for the republican party to cooperate. The democratic party cannot wait another fours years for republicans to stop being obstacles to new USA industry that cannot be outsourced and millions of new jobs that cannot be outsourced.


Richard Heckler 1 year, 4 months ago

Congress has far more problems than republicans being racist.

They have failed the majority of the USA population that being the 99%. The 99% was the motor behind everything that had anything to do with the economy. Why did congress allow that to be nearly destroyed?

Why did congress provide a tax code that protects profits on USA goods made abroad in essence encouraging outsourcing of USA jobs by the millions. Congress needs to explain their logic that USA blue and white collars do not need jobs. and the USA economy

Congress needs to explain their logic that the USA economy does not need millions upon millions of blue and white collars working in the USA. Where did these conclusions come from? Corporate America was never going broke instead making tons of profits.

How did blue and white collar workers lose these millions upon millions of jobs?

--- 1. Mergers = industry and jobs lost to other countries

--- 2. Hostile Takeovers = industry and jobs lost to other countries

--- 3. Leveraged Buyouts = industry and jobs lost to other countries

--- 4. Free Trade Agreements = industry and jobs lost to other countries

--- 5. Reagan/Bush Savings and Loan home loan scandal which killed the economy and cost the USA millions of jobs. = industry and jobs lost to other countries

--- 6. Bush/Cheney Home Loan scandal killed the economy and cost the USA millions of jobs = industry and jobs lost to other countries

All of above ultimately translate into millions upon millions upon millions of blue and white collar USA job losses in some cases to dictatorships. Big time layoffs are the end result. These jobs go abroad with tax codes that prevent taxation on profits made abroad from USA big name corporations.

There was a time when becoming employed by corporate America came with long term employment, fine wages and dependable retirement benefits. Those days are gone. Why did congress participate in killing the USA economy and millions upon millions of blue and white collar jobs?


Gandalf 1 year, 4 months ago

"shouldn’t be appointed to chair committees if they lack the necessary qualifications or experience,: That statement should block all teapubs!


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