I recently visited the director of the Office of Diversity Assessment for The Office of Presidential Personnel. His office is housed in the all-glass Facebook-Amazon-Google building conveniently located in downtown Washington on BLM Plaza across from the Che Guevara Memorial Headquarters, now housing the Committee to Re-Elect the President.
The director, sporting a blue necktie with a redundant “Lux et Veritas” embossed on it, explained the difficulty of selecting an appropriately diverse group of people for the very visible jobs in the Biden administration.
“Take blacks,” he said. “It’s not enough that they be black; they have to look black,” he said as if he’d just solved Fermat’s last theorem. “Of course some will be on television, but some will only be seen speaking at large gatherings. People in the back have to be able to tell our guys are black. And that goes for all our diversity picks.”
“Uh huh,” I nodded noncommittally.
“And Latinos,” he said — pausing, and then adding, “I guess I should say ‘Latinx’ with an ‘x’ at the end [he scrunched up his face], but I’m not sure how to pronounce it — they’re particularly difficult. They have to be Latin [cop out!], of course, but they also have to look Latino [male pig!] — and not just at fancy restaurants, but on television. So skin color is as important as profile and other facial features.” (If he’d studied Latin in school he might have used “Latini,” and obviated the scrunching business.)
He was all technical and proud of it — I thought he should have been wearing a white coat like the Spectre scientists in a Bond movie.
“We have a special light meter [in my mind I heard, “Ve haf a shpecial meeta …”] that measures their complexion. Take the fellow we selected yesterday. He looks exactly like Pancho Sanza.”
Just how do you look exactly like a fictional character? He was on a roll, so I was reluctant to interrupt him. But I did.
“You mean Sancho Panza,” I said. (I was an English major.)
He paused, then flashed me the W sign, and a smile.
“And for a high position at Interior,” he continued, “we have a genuine Indian. Now I know what you’re thinking: ‘Dot or feather?’ Well, it’s feather — one hundred percent money-back guaranteed feather. And she comes with the best reference in the Democratic Party: Elizabeth Warren herself.”
I couldn’t fail to be impressed — though the first image that came to mind was that one of Warren in her kitchen: “Hold on a sec. I’m gonna get me, um, a beer.” Was the beer a Dos Equis? Is Warren an Indian-Latina? Or is it Latina-Indian? In a Joey Biden administration, it’s important to get those details straight.
“The gender thing is difficult,” he continued. “I mean, how do you look queer on television? Not to mention the rest of it: the whole LGBTQ+ menagerie. You can’t exactly do things on camera, if you know what I mean.” I worried how high they’d string him up when they discovered he’d gotten the initials wrong.
And “menagerie?” Whew! For his sake I hoped the NSA boys (and girls, and even the ones who aren’t sure) were at lunch or still out trying to link Donald Trump or Tucker Carlson to Vladimir Putin. And he said it with a schoolboy’s smirk that made me feel uncomfortably like part of the family.
“Uh huh,” was all I could get out quickly. Then I added, “You’re right: that’s tough. You must be very sophisticated to handle this job.”
“Well” — he preened just a bit — “my mother identifies as a man now, which is totally okay because . . . my father identifies as a woman!” I could feel the exclamation point. “And my sister and brother are both nones — I don’t mean they have no religious beliefs (though of course they don’t). I mean they don’t identify with any sex.”
I wasn’t quite sure how to respond to that. “Of course” seemed a bit complicit. And “no” might have seemed judgmental. So I fell back on “Uh huh.”
“What do your siblings do?” I sought to change the subject.
“You won’t believe it,” he replied.
He was wrong. I’d believe anything.
“They both teach third grade.”
I did believe it. “Where?” I asked, wondering how much it would cost to move.
“In a parochial school?” I asked, really as just a tease, but regretting it immediately.
He looked at me quizzically. “I didn’t know there were any parochial schools in California.”
“You’re probably right,” I said, feeling a tsunami of relief. I didn’t want him to look into it. Who can tell what a Joey Biden administration would do to them? Hunter might sell them to a Ukrainian energy company.
“Well,” I said as I got up to leave, “you sure have done an impressive job.”
“Yes,” he replied. “But of course there’s one problem.”
“Oh?” I said. “What’s that?”
“There won’t be a single high-ranking official on duty the third weekend in November.”
“Really?” I asked.
“Yes,” he said. “They’ll all be in the McKinsey box at the Yale-Harvard game. Boola boola, I say.”
I flashed him the “V” sign, and managed to get out a “boola boola” of my own as knowingly as I could, and sauntered out, trying to look suave.
Boola boola? It sounded great — but what the Hell does it mean? I went to a Christian college in Ohio.
Daniel Oliver is Chairman of the Board of the Education and Research Institute and a Director of Pacific Research Institute for Public Policy in San Francisco. In addition to serving as Chairman of the Federal Trade Commission under President Reagan, he was Executive Editor and subsequently Chairman of the Board of William F. Buckley Jr.’s National Review.
Email Daniel Oliver at Daniel.Oliver@TheCandidAmerican.com.