Black Activist Issues Warning to President-Elect

Washington, D.C. – Project 21 Senior Fellow Deneen Borelli is issuing a warning to President-elect Barack Obama: Don’t let special interests control your Administration.

Borelli’s comments come in light of the apparent success of ultra-liberal feminist groups in derailing the predicted nomination of Lawrence Summers to the post of Treasury Secretary.

Summers had been considered a favorite for the post, a job he held in the Clinton Administration.  Politico reported this caused an “intense backlash” from feminist groups, which, Politico said, “have issued press releases slamming a Summers’ appointment, organized e-mail campaigns to key Obama transition staff and communicated their outrage through back-channel connections.”

Summers drew the ire of feminist groups in 2005 when he speculated that, among other possibilities, including possible discrimination, “innate differences” between men and women could account for the relatively small number of women in prestigious positions in science and engineering.

“President-elect Obama faces two dangers here,” said Borelli.  “The first is if he permitted the feminist groups to blackball Summers for the Treasury post.  The second is if feminist groups and other special interests believe he did.  If they believe this, correctly or not, they’ll attempt to derail other nominations and appointments of anyone they don’t like.  They’ll make Obama appointees fearful of speaking their minds honestly, as they’ll always be looking over their shoulders, fearful that the Administration will buckle under any left-wing criticism of their work.  In such an atmosphere, it would be very difficult for the Administration to get anything accomplished.”

“It’s best,” continued Borelli, “that Obama be tough early and often with the special interests.  He should slap them down hard anytime they try to blackball decent people just because they aren’t 100 percent in lockstep with the left-wing agenda, or dare to raise issues that may not be convenient for the left to consider.”

In the Summers case, Obama also could send a signal a subtle way, Borelli said.  “The President-elect could let it be known that Summers’ contribution to robust intellectual debate was one of the reasons he appointed Summers to the directorship of his National Economic Council.  He need not even mention the specific controversy; everyone will know what he means.  This will signal to the feminists that he nominated Timothy Geither to the Treasury Secretary post because he likes Geither, not because he was too afraid of the feminists to appoint Summers.”

Project 21, a nonprofit and nonpartisan organization sponsored by the National Center for Public Policy Research, has been a leading voice of the African-American community since 1992.  For more information, contact David Almasi at (202) 543-4110 x11 or [email protected], or visit Project 21’s website at


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