Politics

Obama Has Vastly Changed the Face of the Federal Bureaucracy

President Obama has appointed more women and minorities than any of his predecessors. (Carolyn Kaster/AP Photo)
President Obama has appointed more women and minorities than any of his predecessors. (Carolyn Kaster/AP Photo)

(The Washington Post) – Friday afternoon announcements in Washington are usually aimed at attracting as little attention as possible, but last Friday was different. President Obama’s decision to nominate Eric Fanning — an openly gay man — to head a branch of the military which only four years ago did not allow gays and lesbians to serve openly, was both historic and attention-grabbing.

And it underscored an often-overlooked feature of the Obama presidency: Obama has presided over the most demographically diverse administration in history, according to a new analysis of his top appointments. The majority of top policy appointments within the executive branch are held by women and minorities for the first time in history.

The transformation partly reflects a broader trend in U.S. society, but it also reflects the results of a calculated strategy by the nation’s first African American president. The shifts are significant enough, experts say, that they may have forever transformed the face of government.

With Obama, said Robert Raben, a Democratic consultant and lobbyist who works on diversity issues, “We have now settled the fact that diversity is a permanent part of the federal government.”

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