The White House announced this morning that, as anticipated, senior advisor to the president Pete Rouse will replace Rahm Emanuel as the president’s new Chief of Staff. And, thanks to a story that seems — by all accounts — to have been broken by Jeff Yang, the media and the Asian American blogosphere is buzzing about the fact that Rouse is the first Asian American to hold the position of White House Chief of Staff.
Angry Asian Man wrote something of an understatement in his reaction: “All things considered, this is quite awesome.”
Happily, mainstream media has been paying attention to the positive reaction to Rouse’s appointment on this site and throughout the Asian American blogosphere. The Washington Post-affiliated WhoRunsGov.com political site linked to this site, as well as Jeff and Angry Asian Man in their article on Pete Rouse’s appointment, citing other ethnic “firsts” who have held the office of Chief of Staff. Rachel Maddow re-tweeted the WaPo article, proclaiming “Pete Rouse, first Asian-American White House Chief of Staff”.
With four Asian Americans in four key Cabinet positions, a White House staff that includes several other Asian Americansm, and an increasingly active presidential advisory committee on Asian American and Pacific Islander issues, it is clear that Obama is reaffirming his campaign promises to the Asian American community. He has worked diligently to correct the systemic underrepresentation of Asian Americans in federal positions of leadership, not only through his Cabinet appointments, but in his judicial nominations to federal circuit courts. (Sadly, the GOP seems intent to block those actions; they are holding up the nominations of Judges Goodwin Liu and Edward Chen, apparently for political reasons.) President Obama has improved the lines of communication between the White House and the Asian American community, and has prioritized small businesses, immigration reform and education — all issues that Asian American voters tends to find particularly relevant.
Frankly, President Obama may be suffering from declining popularity numbers, but right now, I don’t for an instant regret my support of his presidency. As far as I’m concerned, he has delivered on several of his campaign promises, particularly those made to the Asian American community.
I look forward to seeing how Pete Rouse fares as our new Chief of Staff.