Cristina Romer To Chair CEA

Through his deeds, President-Elect Obama is proving himself to be a worthy feminist, imo. Today, the President-Elect will name Cristina Romer the Chairman of his Council of Economic Advisers:

ABC News has learned that President-elect Obama had tapped University of California -Berkeley economics professor Christina Romer to be the chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, an office within the Executive Office of the President.

Romer, a widely respected economist with an expertise on the U.S. economy, will be one of the key economic advisers whom Mr. Obama will introduce to the nation this morning, along with New York Federal Reserve president Timothy Geithner, tapped to be Obama's nominee for Secretary of the Treasury, and former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers, who will serve as the director of the National Economic Council.

More . . .

I know nothing about Prof Romer but I do know this -- with little fanfare, the President-Elect has placed women in positions of prestige and influence in his Administration - State, Homeland Security, Director of Communications and now Chair of the CEA.

Some will say that by focusing on the fact that these appointments are women I am belittling their qualifications. I do not see it that way. There have always been very well qualified women capable of doing these tough jobs (including the Presidency for that matter.) But by actually naming women to these posts, the President-Elect makes manifest this important point. And hurrah for him for that.

By Big Tent Democrat, speaking for me only

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    Feminist? (5.00 / 2) (#6)
    by BigElephant on Mon Nov 24, 2008 at 09:28:58 AM EST
    I'm not sure i buy that putting females in top ranking positions makes you a supporter of women's rights.  It could also simply be selfish motivation that they're the best people for the job.  Similarly, I don't feel that Bush is any less racist because he hired some blacks into top cabinet positions.  

    Look at their policies and how they effect every person.  This is why I didn't think the Clintons were racist during the campaign.  I could look at what Bill and Hillary had done for the past 20 years and put MUCH less emphasis on the comments they had made (with that said, had Rove made the same comments, I think it would just solidify what I already believe about him).  

    We need to get past dissecting each little move these politicians make and start looking at the bigger picture.

    It's just a shiny object (none / 0) (#28)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Mon Nov 24, 2008 at 03:48:53 PM EST
    Pay no attention to my past history or the hiring of Summers....I just hired me some wimmin-folk too.  See what a feminist I am?

    Obama should choose (none / 0) (#37)
    by Lolis on Mon Nov 24, 2008 at 07:06:17 PM EST
    most qualified person for the job and not base his economic posts on comments made in other areas. I believe Sumners has already apologized and been punished for his comments.

    If Obama were putting him in charge of math/science programs for women then his comments would be relevant, but I don't feel they are for this position.

    We are in an economic crisis and we need the best people even if they are socially awkward and have said stupid things in the past.


    Feminist? (5.00 / 2) (#8)
    by Pepe on Mon Nov 24, 2008 at 09:40:37 AM EST
    Saying feminist is a big stretch in the diary.

    Now I'd say that his Emily's List appointment is a nod to the Feminists. But the latest appointment is not. And neither will any other women appointed unless of course they come from backgrounds or organizations that are based in Feminism.

    If many women being appointed makes you sympathetic to feminism them George Bush is a Feminist. Currently 5 out of 15 top level Cabinet members are women. And before that he had several more who resigned including Christine Todd Whitman. Currently even his Press Secretary is a woman.

    Let's not belittle women here by saying that every one appointed rallies Feminism. Because even with the qualifier in the diary that is what is being implied by rah-rahing Obama.

    Thanks... (none / 0) (#9)
    by BigElephant on Mon Nov 24, 2008 at 09:45:32 AM EST
    for stealing my subject heading!!

    I didn't steal it (none / 0) (#18)
    by Pepe on Mon Nov 24, 2008 at 10:33:38 AM EST
    I photo-copied it!

    }{ero}{ed it? n/t (none / 0) (#20)
    by Fabian on Mon Nov 24, 2008 at 10:43:53 AM EST
    BTD: I know nothing about Prof Romer... (none / 0) (#12)
    by jerry on Mon Nov 24, 2008 at 09:57:44 AM EST
    I think it's also problematic for BTD to speak good or bad of this appointment if he confesses he knows nothing about Professor Romer.

    She could be a terrible manager (as Summers is claimed to be.)
    She could have very disappointing views on fair trade.

    There are many ways she could be the wrong choice for the position and BTD knows none of that.  He only knows about her gender.

    I'm not sure that makes for a great feminist endorsement.  In such a case, perhaps it is better to remain quiet.... (to quote from a past President from Illinois....)

    From reading Brad DeLong for a few years up until the past few months, I take it she is very highly regarded as an economist.  Though I have no idea how she falls in the fair trade/free trade debate.  I think keeping with the free trader orthodoxy would be a huge mistake for all of us, including women.  Now, I know nothing about Professor Romer really, let's hope she is a fair trader.


    Well keep in mind (none / 0) (#14)
    by Pepe on Mon Nov 24, 2008 at 10:24:55 AM EST
    that BTD is a Free Trader. Probably because Free Trade creates so many new jobs here </snark> particularly in Ohio and Michigan where people hate Free Trade. Free Trade by virtue of bleeding jobs and driving down wage increases also weakens Unions which BTD says he supports (Unions btw are anti-free trade). Now how one can say they support unions and Free Trade at the same time is a mystery. Free Trade also forces companies to cut back on employee benefits like health care to remain competitive.

    Women appointees (none / 0) (#30)
    by christinep on Mon Nov 24, 2008 at 03:57:49 PM EST
    I think that numbers do matter. Why? Because "numbers" constitute one bit of objective evidence of a commitment. (For myself, I do not buy into the "this woman is really a feminist, and that one is not" routine. While that may sometimes be the case, it is a bit of a trap in terms of who decides which person is worthy enough.) From a person who has watched "numbers" in terms of significant appointments--power appointments--I believe that the expected appointments of H. Clinton at State and J. Napolitano at Homeland Security, together with a key Senior Advisor in the WH in V. Jarrett amount to significant strides for women in government. The C. Romer appointment is also nice, and follows in the footsteps of L. Tyson in the Clinton years. If ABC's reporting on S. Rice as UN Ambassador is quite good as well, and follows M. Albright and J. Kirkpatrick in times past. Again, the reason "numbers" count is that it shows action and not simply talk/excuses/rationales. So...in that regard...things are looking up.  (My thanks to BTD for tracking this important appointment aspect.)

    Chairperson (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by Lora on Mon Nov 24, 2008 at 10:26:27 AM EST
    Today, the President-Elect will name Cristina Romer the Chairman of his Council of Economic Advisers:

    How about Chairperson?  Chairwoman?  Perhaps just Chair.

    Oh, for God's sake. (none / 0) (#26)
    by jnicola on Mon Nov 24, 2008 at 12:52:36 PM EST
    In Anglo Saxon, a waepman referred to an adult male; wifman to an adult female. Ercongota, an Anglo-Saxon princess, was 'a man of wonderful piety' according to the Anglo Saxon Chronicle. The use of -man as a suffix derives from this and is therefore gender neutral. Fighting idiotic battles against non-existent sexism does not help beat down real sexism.

    Fine... (none / 0) (#42)
    by Lora on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 12:33:18 PM EST
    We can just go with Chairwoman for all genders then.  OK by me if OK by you.

    BTD himself (none / 0) (#43)
    by Lora on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 12:36:14 PM EST
    Some weeks ago referred us all to a gender neutral reference page to use when writing.  I doubt very much that "chairman" was listed as acceptable there.

    This is the best laugh I've had all month. (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by tootired on Mon Nov 24, 2008 at 02:34:31 PM EST
    You did mean as this as snark, didn't you? Obama is a feminist? Hardly. I guess the women he's choosing are "likeable enough".

    WTF? (5.00 / 1) (#36)
    by Lolis on Mon Nov 24, 2008 at 07:01:17 PM EST
    How does Obama saying off-the-cuff that Hillary is "likeable enough" have to do with whether or not he is a feminist?

    I majored in Women's Studies at Berkeley and we generally thought of a feminist as someone who believes in equal rights for men and women. Obama clearly meets that criteria both as a public figure and private citizen.

    Do you disagree?


    Larry Summers (none / 0) (#1)
    by Erehwon on Mon Nov 24, 2008 at 08:29:56 AM EST
    ends the cited paragraph! A Freudian slip? :-)

    Not from me (none / 0) (#4)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Nov 24, 2008 at 08:36:04 AM EST
    My feelings on Summers as HARVARD PRESIDENT are a matter of record.

    And she's from Berkeley no less... (none / 0) (#2)
    by Dr Molly on Mon Nov 24, 2008 at 08:32:44 AM EST
    ...that hotbed of pinko, liberal, treehugging, lefty intellectualism! hee hee.

    p.s. is it just me or does your link not work?

    John Yoo (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by Pepe on Mon Nov 24, 2008 at 09:29:30 AM EST
    is from Berekley also and the only tree hugging he ever envisioned was a suspected terrorist tied to it for 'enhanced interrogation'.

    I've often wondered what his Liberal law students think of him. Or how many actually want to take a class for him.


    I took a class under Yoo (none / 0) (#31)
    by Trickster on Mon Nov 24, 2008 at 04:10:36 PM EST
    A Seminar in National Security Law.  This was around 1999, before he became infamous, but he was well known for being very conservative.

    He was a good teacher, extremely knowledgeable, and a good discussion leader/provoker.  He actually trotted his theory of the unitary executive (when it comes to foreign affairs) by us, but to tell the truth he didn't expect anyone to buy it and he didn't even really seem to totally buy it himself except as a clever academic construct to provoke thought and discussion.


    Pinko mystique (5.00 / 2) (#10)
    by Stellaaa on Mon Nov 24, 2008 at 09:46:13 AM EST
    As a resident of Berkeley, the University is not a hotbed of pinkos and never really was, the pinkos were always outside agitating.  :)

    In fairness to Bezerkly's reputation (none / 0) (#17)
    by Pepe on Mon Nov 24, 2008 at 10:31:38 AM EST
    They have had their fair share of faculty and student body who embraced the Left - sometimes to the extreme.

    And yes many Lefty's were not affiliated with the university as Berkeley and the surrounding Bay Area are full of proud Lefty's. God had a plan and a place for the enlightened.


    Fixed, thanks (none / 0) (#3)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Nov 24, 2008 at 08:35:20 AM EST
    Nice New Face (none / 0) (#5)
    by squeaky on Mon Nov 24, 2008 at 08:39:05 AM EST
    On the Us gov.

    CEA and NEC (none / 0) (#11)
    by gyrfalcon on Mon Nov 24, 2008 at 09:53:57 AM EST
    What's the difference between the Council of Economic Advisers and the National Economic Council??  I realize the CEA is within the president's office and has only an advisory role, but where's this National Economic Council and what's its role?

    George W Bush (none / 0) (#13)
    by Carolyn in Baltimore on Mon Nov 24, 2008 at 10:17:07 AM EST
    put Condi and Powell in important cabinet positions. Does that make him feminist and anti-racist? Did their policies help women and blacks?
    GHWB and RRR put Thomas and O'Connor in the Supreme Court. Thomas was outrageous and O'Connor was centrist but did her share of damage.
    Appointing tokens doesn't make you non-xxxxist, it is what your appointments believe and do in their positions. And what your policies do.
    So far Obama has not impressed me as far as feminism - he mentions gays more than women and dog-whistled Senator Clinton pretty obviously during the primaries.
    He does have a smart wife. But 'just a minute, sweetie' still rings in my ears.
    Maybe he could add the ERA to the list of civil rights laws he wants to pass......

    Areas of special interest to feminists (none / 0) (#16)
    by Fabian on Mon Nov 24, 2008 at 10:30:46 AM EST
    Justice - specifically discrimination and compensation.

    Health - reproductive health care plus so very much more.

    Those are the two areas that are the most important to me.  I especially would love to see a bona fide, unapologetic feminist of any gender as Surgeon General.  If Obama wants to woo feminists, that's the place to do it.

    Barnes (none / 0) (#21)
    by CST on Mon Nov 24, 2008 at 11:19:24 AM EST
    At Domestic Policy Council is a good start.

    Isn't she Roy Romer's daughter-in-law? (none / 0) (#19)
    by progressiveinvolvement on Mon Nov 24, 2008 at 10:35:08 AM EST
    She's married to David, who is also, by the way, one of the world's great economists.  If I'm not mistaken, David is Roy's son.

    Are you perhaps thinking of... (none / 0) (#22)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Mon Nov 24, 2008 at 11:41:49 AM EST
    Paul Romer?  She's not married to David and he's a State Senator in Colorado.  Paul is the renowned economist (at Stanford) of the family...

    Will there be a separate post (none / 0) (#23)
    by oculus on Mon Nov 24, 2008 at 11:53:56 AM EST
    on the appointment of Desiree Rogers as White House Social Secretary?  She appears to be African American, has an MBA from Harvard, is from Chicago, and looks a bit like Hallie Berry, i.e., beautiful.

    Feminist...ha! (none / 0) (#24)
    by Noticed on Mon Nov 24, 2008 at 12:11:40 PM EST
    Larry Summers believes women are biologically inferior to men when it comes to math and science. Putting him anywhere near my country's money deeply offends me.

    Melissa over at Shakesville sums it up nicely:


    inflammatory and untrue (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by txpublicdefender on Mon Nov 24, 2008 at 12:50:43 PM EST
    Larry Summers believes women are biologically inferior to men when it comes to math and science.

    This is simply false.  Larry Summers never said that he believed that women are biologically inferior to men when it comes to math and science.  That is a complete distortion of what he said and the context in which he said what he actually did.  At an academic conference on the lack of women in high positions in academia, he suggested many areas which would be appropriate for research.  One of those things was the possibility of biological differences between men and women that may somehow contribute.  Saying that he said that he personally believes that women are biologically inferior in this area is no different than saying that Obama wanted to teach kindergartners all about sex.  

    If you didn't get his implication (none / 0) (#29)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Mon Nov 24, 2008 at 03:49:48 PM EST
    well, I'd say you might be naive.

    i'm not naive (none / 0) (#33)
    by txpublicdefender on Mon Nov 24, 2008 at 05:33:38 PM EST
    Perhaps rather than naive, I actually believe that an open discussion and objective research are better tools to address a problem than political correctness.  I am a feminist.  I don't personally believe that women are biologically inferior to men in intrinsic aptitude for math and science.  But, I am not opposed to doing a study or studies to see if there is some merit to the theory, or to rule it out altogether.  That's what researchers and scientists do when confronted with a problem.  Maybe the reason for the disparity is simply that the flying spaghetti monster wants it that way.

    'objective research'? (none / 0) (#34)
    by Dr Molly on Mon Nov 24, 2008 at 06:35:12 PM EST
    There is no supporting evidence for innate differences in abilities - so him expressing his 'wondering' about it was a canard. You don't have all the context of this story either. And there is no 'problem' confronting scientists and researchers to investigate.

    So I guess if he had 'wondered' about doing some research to investigate whether there were innate differences between whites and blacks (since those success numbers are even worse than those between women and men), you'd be OK with that too? I doubt it.

    What there IS ample evidence for, shown in many studies, is how different social roles for women (family, most of the childcare burden, schooling, etc.) affect their success rate relative to men in academia post-graduate school. But he pooh poohed that and instead waxed in wonderment about innate differences.

    Amazing, the apologists for Summers' stupidity.


    again with a problem with context (none / 0) (#35)
    by txpublicdefender on Mon Nov 24, 2008 at 06:45:31 PM EST
    And there is no 'problem' confronting scientists and researchers to investigate.

    The "problem" I was referring to was the underrepresentation of women in the relevant fields.  

    That 'problem' (none / 0) (#38)
    by Dr Molly on Mon Nov 24, 2008 at 07:08:28 PM EST
    has been thoroughly investigated by social scientists and the conclusions are much more explanatory than potential 'innate differences'.

    She's a "new keynesian" (none / 0) (#32)
    by chew2 on Mon Nov 24, 2008 at 04:28:23 PM EST
    I don't know that much about her either.

    But she and her husband, Paul Romer, were leading "new keynesians" which was thought to be on the liberal side of the profession, which isn't saying much.  However, they seem to be against raising taxes on capital, claiming it hurts economic growth.  I seem to recall that Paul Romer actually signed the economist letter touted by the McCain campaign that criticized Obama's economic policies.

    So I'm a little suspicious about her.  I assume she is basically a free marketer when it comes to trade and the financial markets, but I don't know for sure.

    Christina is not married to Paul Romer (none / 0) (#40)
    by cymro on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 04:24:36 AM EST
    Christina and David Romer are Berkeley professors.

    Paul Romer is a Stanford professor.

    BTW, I can thoroughly recommend these new research tools called Google and wikipedia. They are great for minimizing factual errors and avoiding wasting other people's time correcting such mistakes.


    Here's some more background (none / 0) (#41)
    by cymro on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 04:38:38 AM EST
    Interview with the Romers.

    Their research conclusions make interesting reading -- in particular, tax cuts do not reduce government spending. What a surprise!


    Had Prof Romer for an economics class (none / 0) (#39)
    by abdiel on Mon Nov 24, 2008 at 09:26:23 PM EST
    She was a very good professor, intelligent and knowledgeable.  You're going to be disappointed if you expect her to be progressive, however.  Like most academic economists, her work is quite moderate (yes, even Paul Krugman and Brad DeLong are quite moderate in their work, their personal views are different).  

    As a woman who also specializes in American economic history, I wouldn't expect many radical changes or wholehearted support for a new New Deal.  People who study the old New Deal don't think it was that great.