Warren Invite, Cabinet Picks Irk The Left

Once optimistic at having helped elect a president who promised them change, several liberal groups are now feeling slighted by President-elect Obama in his recent selections for his Cabinet as well as his decision to invite Pastor Rick Warren to his January inauguration.

Women's groups, gay rights organizations and environmentalists have spoken out against Obama's appointments and are fueling conversation that the president-elect is overlooking those who helped him win the White House.

Princeton presidential historian Julian Zelizer told ABCNews.com that it will be nearly impossible for Obama to avoid upsetting liberals as he tries to govern from a centrist perspective.

"As Obama makes decisions and turns from a candidate into a president he's going to make decisions that will anger some of his core supporters," said Zelizer. "He can't govern solely from the left. That will be politically impossible."

"[Balancing the left and the right] is one of the tensions he will have to balance before he's even president," said Zelizer. "When you have a campaign like Obama did, one that really brings out activists and people who are firmly committed to ideas, then it's even more likely you have this kind of clash."

Ted Sorensen, a longtime supporter of Obama's, said that he does not think the President-elect has any false hopes of appeasing everyone.

"Of course Obama is open to lots of different perspectives, but he doesn't strike me as the kind of man who tries to please everyone," said Sorensen.

Sorensen said he believes Obama is paying attention to the groups who are upset with his recent decisions, but it is too early to be overly concerned.

"The real time for testing is after Obama has been in office for a year or two or even more and inevitably there are those who had hopes of getting something more out of their [support][ than they actually will," he said.

Kim Gandy, president of the National Organization of Women, told ABCNews.com that women nationwide had expected a more gender-balanced Cabinet.

Obama has so far chosen only five women to be in his Cabinet -- counting Thursday's appointment of Rep. Hilda Solis, D-Calif., as labor secretary.

"It's true that even with the addition of Solis -- who is excellent -- there are still only three women who head departments and five women overall in the administration," said Gandy. "That's a lot of men."

"All of the women who supported President-elect Obama and Vice President Joe Biden believe that they are supporters of women's rights and had hoped for and expected some more tangible evidence of that in the Cabinet picks," said Gandy.

NOW is one of several women's groups that have joined forces to present a petition calling on Obama to create a Presidential Commission on Women during his first 100 days in office.

"I'm hoping that as Obama looks back and realizes how small the representation of women is in the Cabinet he'll seriously consider our request for an additional Cabinet-level [post] or office that would be a place for women to work for the inclusion of women and women's interests," said Gandy.

Gandy points out that women still only represent one-fourth -- 25 percent -- of Obama's Cabinet. There are 15 members of the Cabinet plus six Cabinet-level administrators.

Page
  • 1
  • |
  • 2
  • |
  • 3
Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...