Mary Beth Maxwell is just the sort of hopey, all-American person you’d pick for Labor Secretary. She’s openly gay, is the founding Executive Director of American Rights at Work, a progressive labor organization, heck– she was Fox News’ go-to gal for union and worker-related rankings this past Labor Day. She’s raising an adopted African-American child. Beyond her rainbow diversity goodness, she’s been lauded by both the left and the right as someone who is committed to making smart modernizations to the U.S. Labor movement. She’s especially appealing to progressives who wonder if they’ll have a seat in Obama’s increasingly centrist Cabinet.
It’s no surprise that she’s on everybody’s short list for Labor Secretary. Even Rep. David Bonior, whose also been put in the running for the job thinks she should get it. Many AFL-CIO leaders agree. But guess which prominent gay rights group with a history of not supporting openly gay candidates backed somebody else?
Oh, Human Rights Campaign, you never fail to disappoint.
The HRC had endorsed Rep. Linda Sanchez for the post and suddenly realizing that “Hey! Maybe we ought to support this highly qualified Maxwell lady since you know, we’ve never had an openly gay person serve in a Cabinet-level position and what is it we do exactly again?” they decided to endorse both Sanchez and Maxwell.
HRC President and XM Radio Talk Show Host Joe Solmonese had already sent President-Elect Obama his first endorsement before sending another letter to Obama yesterday that read in part:
“You would have received our letter in support of Representative Sanchez’s candidacy for Secretary of Labor last week.
While we remain supportive of Representative Sanchez’s candidacy, it has come to our attention that Mary Beth Maxwell is also being considered for this crucial position. Given Ms. Maxwell’s long history of leadership on labor issues, HRC is pleased to also endorse Mary Beth Maxwell for Secretary of Labor.”
So, the nation’s largest gay rights advocacy and political action organization was caught totally unawares that there’s a highly qualified openly-gay person who would make a great candidate for Labor Secretary? Isn’t the primary goal of the HRC to help out and advocate for gay and gay-friendly politicians and legislation? Are they even tracking the openly-gay political leadership in the U.S.?