Susan Stamper Brown

At least Romney had binders. Binders full of qualified women to fill cabinet positions, that is. Democrats mercilessly pounded Romney for the binders comment he made during the 2012 presidential campaign, but I'll bet the Obama campaign now wishes Romney had passed the binders on to Obama since it seems he's having a hard time picking women to fill his second term cabinet positions.

The recently released official White House photo of a predominately pale-faced and testosterone-filled cabinet (which I have no problem with) is enough to cause any misinformed voter into wondering what has become of the so-called party of women.

To be fair, women fill about half the White House staff positions, but the highest- level cabinet positions are currently extremely male and predominantly white. This seems a bit odd, considering the media narrative over the past 50 years has painted Republicans as the party of rich white men. But that's not the case, if you look at the actual highest-level cabinet positions women were appointed to since Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR).

FDR appointed Frances Perkins as the first female cabinet member in 1933. Democrat presidential successors Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy, and Lyndon B. Johnson, appointed zero.

Republican president Dwight D. Eisenhower appointed Oveta Culp Hobby as the first secretary of the US Department of Health, Education and Welfare and Republican president Richard M. Nixon, zero.

At that point in history, after four Democrat and two Republican presidents, two female cabinet members were appointed, one per party.

Republican president Gerald Ford appointed Carla Anderson Hills as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development and then Democrat president Jimmy Carter appointed Shirley Ann Mount Hufstedler as Secretary of Education, Patricia Roberts Harris as Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary, and Juanita Morris Kreps as Commerce Secretary. The score: Democrats 4 and Republicans 2.

Republican Ronald Reagan appointed Margaret Heckler as HHS Secretary, Ann McLaughlin Korologos as Secretary of Labor, and Elizabeth Dole as Transportation Secretary. Reagan's successor Republican president George H.W. Bush, appointed Elizabeth Dole as Labor Secretary, Lynn Morley Martin as his second Labor Secretary, and Barbara Hackman Franklin as Secretary of Commerce. Democrats 4 and Republicans: 8.

Susan Stamper Brown

Susan Stamper Brown's weekly column is nationally syndicated. She can be reached at or via her website at Her Facebook page can be found here.