Just a few weeks after Republicans began contemplating how to broaden their appeal across America’s diverse population, John Boehner announced his party’s nominees for all the major House committees for the 113th Congress. Of the 19 committee chairs, zero will go to women, and zero will go to minorities. The Speaker of the House released a statement yesterday announcing the Republican House Steering Committee’s choices, all of whom are expected to be ratified by the GOP controlled House.
19 positions filled by 19 white males. Republicans can rail about “free stuff” or the “urban vote,” but the real problem is clear: The Republican party is simply not inclusive. The women and minorities who view the party as exclusionary to them, are obviously correct. It’s an ‘Old Boy’s Club,’ and they are not interested in sharing power. Witness Boehner’s statement announcing the appointees:
“Our team will continue focusing on reforms that will grow our economy and create new jobs, and on holding the Obama administration accountable through aggressive oversight of the Executive Branch. The [Republican-controlled] House of Representatives is an outpost in Democratic-controlled Washington for the priorities of the American people, and I have every confidence that the chairmen selected today are up to the task of translating those priorities into solutions Americans are counting on to get our economy moving again.”
What the Speaker fails to acknowledge is that the “American people” made their priorities known when they put Democrats in control of Washington, three weeks ago. His “outpost” analogy is very apt; Republican legislators seem to have walled themselves in, defending their fortress against what they view as hostile outsiders. Unfortunately for them, that is the majority of Americans today.
That’s not to say that the 19 committee chairs lack all diversity. Statistically speaking, some of them are almost certainly left-handed.