The Democrats’ “Diversity Problem”


There was a bit of a stink after Chuck Todd suggested the Democrats wish they had the diversity the GOP showed at the RNC this week. Josh Marshall said it was, “one of the stupidest things I’ve ever heard anyone say.” And then Marshall and Todd debated about it over Twitter. At which point Todd made it clear that he was reporting what the Obama campaign had said to him.

And this is reported material btw, not pundit speculation.

Marshall pointed out how diverse the Democratic party is.

Dude. Actually, let me rephrase that … DUDE. Black prez. 2 asian-am sens, 1 Hisp sen, black gov. (1/3)

2 huge caucuses of hispanic & af-am lawmakers in House, do u really believe the dems “had to go” to a red state to (2/3)

To which Todd repeatedly suggested that this came from the Obama Administration and claimed he was talking about “high profile” positions.

how many govs and senators do the dems have on this front? That was my point. High profile positions

ask the Obama campaign if they wish they had govs and sens as diverse as GOP right now.

Now, frankly, I think Chuck Todd’s problem–in this particular instance–is that he repeated what the Obama campaign said to him, rather than pointing out how crazy the Obama campaign is. It’s not just diversity they want, it’s the right kind of diversity.

Which brings me to the Sunday shows, which include the following lineups–which presumably were made with the significant input of the Obama Administration. (h/t Elliott)

ABC’s This Week:  White House senior adviser David Plouffe.


CBS’ Face the Nation:Gov. Martin O’Malley (D-MD), former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson and Obama Deputy Campaign Manager Stephanie Cutter.

CNN’s State of the Union: Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Gov. Bev Perdue (D-NC), and Gov. Martin O’Malley (D-MD). Then, Obama Senior Campaign Adviser Robert Gibbs. Senior Romney Campaign Adviser Eric Fehrnstrom.

Fox News Sunday:DNC Chair Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Obama Campaign Senior Advisor David Axelrod.

NBC’s Meet the Press:Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel.

The Latino Mayor of Los Angeles, a tainted but Latino former Governor of New Mexico, lots of dickish top campaign advisors, dickish Rahm, Governor O’Malley (who’s been a superb campaign surrogate).

And just two women, one Stephanie Cutter appearance and one appearance from the Governor of the state hosting the Convention.

Not even DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who whatever else I might say about her is also a terrific media figure. To say nothing of someone like Elizabeth Warren.

Now, first of all, aren’t Dems supposed to be winning by turning out all the women? Aside from Cutter, are any of these assholish advisors–Axe, Plouffe, Gibbs–really the people you want to be reaching out to women?

And is it really a good idea to have people notorious for beating up the party base as the guys introducing the party convention?

I’m beginning to really sympathize with Todd on this point. The Democratic party has terrific diversity. I’m just not sure the campaign likes that diversity.

17 replies
  1. Peterr says:

    EW, the problem may go deeper than you think.

    Senator Claire McCaskill is skipping the convention, so as not to be seen by the more conservative elements of the MO electorate as tied to Obama. On the other end of things, I could see more than a few female Dems looking at Team Obama and saying “Gosh, I’d like to go on that Sunday show, but I’ve been kind of busy ever since you sold out women’s rights by pandering to Bark Stupak and the USCCB.”

    IOW, I wonder if they tried to get women to speak and got the cold shoulder. They may like the diversity, but they are discovering that Democratic women do not like being taken for granted.

  2. P J Evans says:

    They’re still way ahead of the GOP, which apparently thinks women are for decoration when not at home, and doesn’t get why Blacks and Latinos aren’t giving them votes.

    I’d rather vote for the chair than Rmoney. (The chair is barely behind Obama in my view.)

  3. Milton Arbogast says:

    Oh, you are so, so, so right. So very, very right. It is Matt Stoller who has this nailed. From Geithner “foaming the runway” for the banks to Larry Summers talking about “unintended beneficiaries”, this administration has been nothing at all except a lordotic satrapy for any millionaire sleaze bag who comes along.

    Matt points out that elections have become irrelevant to the ruling class, what matters is maintaining position whether in or out of government.

    Honestly, do you think Obama is calculating much else than his speaking fees when he’s out of office? Those $125,000 checks that Clinton pulled for a single speech from J. P. Morgan will pay for a lot of lifestyle when diversity becomes someone else’s problem.

  4. Sailornuntown says:

    Ah, yes, our Beltway Poster Boy, our Bizarro World Tom Swift…Chuck Todd. Best known for his attempts to win the Albert Speer Aplogia-iste Award with his frequent wannabe sage arguments that we just couldn’t prosecute all the swell guys who tortured and abused detainees because…well, gee, they’re all over there and it would be so messy and just too complicated and exhausting. (Sorry for not providing a reference here but the memory of that smarmy assaholic spewing his BS is so imprinted in my mind I can recite most of it by heart.)

  5. par4 says:

    Diversity problem? No! They are all a bunch of fucking LOSERS. Largest majority in a generation and they pissed it away.

  6. Bob Schacht says:

    @Peterr: “IOW, I wonder if they tried to get women to speak and got the cold shoulder. ” WTF? They’ve already lined up Sandra Fluke, actresses Jessica Alba and Eva Longoria, Cuban-American journalist and Spanish language television host Christina Saralequi, and a pair of the party’s reigning political celebrities—California Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris and Massachusetts senatorial hopeful Elizabeth Warren– a record 9 women. Which doesn’t look like a cold shoulder to me.

    Bob in AZ

  7. Milton Arbogast says:

    @par4: LOSERS? No, that would be WINNERS. Elections aren’t the point. I refer again to Matt Stoller:

    These assholes could care less about the people who voted them into office or what they had promised said people. They want our money. That’s it. And when we don’t have any money left, they want us to go away. Far, far away. As in dead.

  8. Milton Arbogast says:

    @par4: At the risk of beating a dead horse, take a look at this article:

    This makes Obama sound like Michele Bachmann learning about vaccines from anonymous housewives.

    So, either Obama is a pliable idiot (my preferred explanation), or it is simply impossible for any President to get advice from “professional” advisers that is not intended to directly advance their own private agenda: Larry Summers back to Wall Street, Timothy Geithner back to Wall Street, etc. etc.

  9. rosalind says:

    @Milton Arbogast: jeebus, that article reads like an Onion satire. “Did you know there are things called the American People, and the decisions we make in D.C. have a direct impact on them?”

    don’t know who comes off worse, Obama or the WAPO reporter, who is quick to reassure that all this “new information” – i.e. the reality of everyday life in America – will not change policy “this late in his administration” but instead will be helpful in shaping rhetoric out on the campaign trail.

    and no, Obama is no idiot, he has his eye on His History that will be set down for perpetuity, and his goals are very narrowly focused on being “the adult” who brings together warring sides to make “tough choices” on “reforming entitlements”, and he proves his “adulthood” by never ever allowing doubt about his choice enter his head, no matter how many real-world encounters he has out on the campaign trail.

  10. joanneleon says:

    Wait, you’re talking about the most brilliant campaign guys on the face of the earth!

    Agree, they are panicking about women. Whatever else you might say about the R convention and party, they do have a lot of women in significant roles and it shows. And they made a big deal about the role of women for the whole week. Personally, I don’t think the Obama campaign has a lot to worry about in them creating a big swing of women voters from the D to the R column as a result of one convention but this campaign is famous for panicking and overreacting and then screwing things up worse.

    I do wonder though whether Ann Romney has turned to be their secret weapon and that the “diversity” they are worried about is really their worry that Ann will have and will continue to bring some female votes over to the R column. Again, just my opinion, but I don’t think that this will be the case even if she did surprise everybody with her speech.

    I have a really hard time sympathizing with either the Obama campaign or the Democratic party on this issue. The last four years were a giant eye opener for me. I never realized how many sexist bigots we had on the left until first, watching the Clinton primary campaign, second, witnessing the spectacular sell out on women’s issues during the faux health care bill process, third, watching party operatives tell women to suck it up for the past four years and fourth, participating actively on progressive blogs for the past few years where it is rampant.

    What’s really weird is that, as Marcy points out, they didn’t do some quick replacements for the Sunday shows and get some more women out there. The authoritarian, controlling jerks running the campaign couldn’t adapt quickly enough, I guess, given that they are so busy with their marketing bonanza convention.

    You know what else is weird? (*NOT*… see above where I mentioned participating in progressive blogs)It’s weird that Josh and others didn’t seem to get it when Chuck Todd used the word “diversity” that maybe they were talking about women and not just minorities.

    It will be interesting to see what kinds of quick fixes they try for their women problem. I don’t think I am the only one who will find it unconvincing. When you have gone so far down the road as to have pressured even Nancy Pelosi to publicly sell out, you’ve got a big problem.

  11. joanneleon says:

    @Peterr: I don’t think they got the cold shoulder from any women that they may have asked to do the shows today. I’ve seen no rebellion at all from women or anyone else in the party. They are in lock step. McCaskill, no doubt, had permission to play her game of skipping the convention just as the blue dogs always get a pass in whatever they do.

    They might be worried about Independent female votes but with respect to women they figure we have nowhere else to go. Same as it ever was during the past decade or two. They might be panicking a bit because of Ann Romney’s speech but I don’t think they intend to change a thing with respect to women’s issues. We are irrelevant and penned in, nowhere to go. The Latino vote is what they will be focused on with maybe some last minute adjustments and window dressing wrt women.

  12. OrionATL says:

    look, these guys and gals, including the prez, didn’t have a clue on jan 2-, 2009.

    these guys and gals, including the prez, still don’t have a clue.

    their strategy is the typical dem strategy:

    talk generalities about jobs and incomes, help corporations get passed whatever laws they need, duck, dodge, no-comment, avoid, cross fingers, pray hard, talk generalities about jobs and incomes +

    then try to turn out voters who have been given no reason to care if they turn out to vote or not.

Comments are closed.