President Obama today announced that White House Director of Intergovernmental Affairs Cecilia Muñoz will be his new chief domestic policy adviser, installing a longtime Hispanic activist in a senior position just as the campaign season ramps up.
The appointment is a sure sign to major Latino organizations that Obama intends to get serious about immigration reform if he is reelected. The president will need Latino leaders not only in his corner but bursting with enthusiasm in order to help him get out the Hispanic vote.
Obama in his first term put immigration reform on the back burner, choosing to spend his political capital on the stimulus bill and health reform instead.
Asked about the effect of her appointment on Obama’s relationship with Hispanics, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney answered simply that she is the best person for the job.
Well, she’s not.
Here’s what she’s done, according to the White House.
Prior to joining the Obama Administration, Muñoz served as Senior Vice President for the Office of Research, Advocacy, and Legislation at the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), the nation’s largest Latino civil rights organization. She supervised NCLR’s policy staff covering a variety of issues of importance to Latinos, including civil rights, employment, poverty, farmworker issues, education, health, housing, and immigration. Her particular area of expertise is immigration policy, which she covered at NCLR for twenty years.
As you can see, her experience in domestic policy focuses on Latino issues. She is an immigration activist, not a domestic policy expert.
Even in her current post, which is supposed to be about the administration’s ties to state and local governments, Muñoz is the White House point person on immigration.
She’s a bright woman, and will probably do fine in her new post. But she’s not the best person for the job.