The GOP's House leadership lacks diversity, unless you count hair color, region and age
There will be blonde men, brunette men, older men, younger men, men with silvery hair and one with a goatee. There will be men from Oklahoma and Kentucky, and three each from California and Texas.
One will have run unsuccessfully for vice president, and there will be a Hal, a Jeb, a “Buck” and a Doc — sorry, no Snow White, although … Well, never mind.
In today’s congressional GOP, this is what diversity looks like. Because of the 19 new Republican House committee chairs announced by Speaker John Boehner, all are white and male. No women, no minorities.
The announcement was met with bemusement from Democrats, who have watched pundits and Republican strategists insist in print and on cable TV that the Republican party must enlarge its tent to include more women and minorities, the better to avoid another electoral drubbing in a presidential year.
Given that, you’d think Mr. Boehner, who bent the rules by letting Ryan bust the party’s chairmanship term limits and remain as head of the budget committee, would scour the ranks for at least one non white male face.
Take Tim Scott, the lone black Republican in the 113th congress, thanks to Allen West’s Florida flameout and the failure of Mia Love to get enough love from Utah voters to get elected this November. Scott, a Tea Party congressman from South Carolina, has little seniority, but that didn’t stop the GOP brass from touting him for House leadership as soon as he got elected in 2010. In 2013? He’ll remain a back-bencher.
In the Grand Old Party’s defense, as the Huffington Post pointed out in its post about the 113th Congress’ all white male GOP leadership team, chairmanships are typically handed out on the basis of seniority.
And the fact is, women and minorities have simply been getting elected longer and more often as Democrats.
So while Scott is the lone black member of his caucus, Democrats for the first time in U.S. history will have a House caucus that is majority black, brown and female, according to data compiled by Businessweek, while the GOP House will be approximately 90 percent white.
Meanwhile, Democrats are widely expected to name at least nine women and minorities among their 19 committee leaders, including Maxine Waters, who is expected to be the ranking member of the financial services committee, and Michigan’s John Conyers, who will likely retain his spot as ranking member of the judiciary committee. And South Carolina Congressman James Clyburn is likely to remain the number three in the House leadership, with Nancy Pelosi having announced she’ll stay on as minority leader.
And in a number that’s proving to be magical in 2012, white men will make up 47 percent of Democratic House members. Sorry, Mitt Romney.
Women will make up about 30 percent of the House Democratic caucus, and female Dems will outnumber Republican women by 61 to 20.
For Hispanics, the D to R ratio will be 23 to five, and that includes 10 new elected Latino members (nine Democrats and one Republican, Ted Cruz of Texas.)
There will be five new Asian members, all Democrats.
And of course, there will be four new African-American members, for a ratio of 41 Dems to good old Tim Scott.
Follow Joy Reid on Twitter at @thereidreport