President Bush's new Cabinet will include at least four women, if his nominees are approved by the US Senate. This includes a move for Condoleeza Rice from National Security Advisor to Secretary of State, replacing Colin Powell. Rice would be only the second woman to hold the post, following Madeline Albright, who was appointed by former President Clinton.
Bush has nominated domestic policy advisor Margaret Spellings to replace Rod Paige as Secretary of Education. Spellings, who was also an education advisor to Bush when he was Governor of Texas, was key in drafting the controversial No Child Left Behind legislation. Her husband, a lawyer, lobbied in Texas to promote school vouchers, according to the Washington Post. Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton and Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao are remaining in their posts. Bush also appointed Harriet Miers, currently White House deputy chief of staff, to head the White House Counsel’s office, an important but not Cabinet-level position. She would replace Alberto Gonzales, who has been nominated for Attorney General. He is controversial on civil and human rights and for his authorship of a memo justifying the use of torture in the war in Afghanistan,
President Bush has also named a number of minorities to key Cabinet positions. However, civil rights and women’s rights groups caution that commitment to policies favorable to women and minorities is just as important as increasing representation within the Cabinet. “There’s diversity of color [in Bush’s Cabinet], but it’s the policies that one would be more interested in,” US Representative Charles Rangel (D-NY) told USA Today. Kim Gandy, president of the National Organization for Women (NOW), pointed out to USA Today that those Cabinet members who challenged Bush policies, such as Christine Todd Whitman (former Environmental Protection Agency administrator) and Powell, did not stay on for Bush’s second term.
Media Resources: White House 11/17/04; USA Today 12/9/04; Washington Post 11/18/04; People for the American Way