Thursday, September 20, 2012

Ron Barber Said Something Dumb — But He Wasn't Incorrect

Posted By on Thu, Sep 20, 2012 at 12:00 PM

If you didn't read the Arizona Daily Star yesterday (and who would blame you?), you might have missed this exchange of words between CD2 candidates Ron Barber and Martha McSally — in particular, this bit from Barber:

“The Democratic side of the House is a rainbow of colors and ethnicities and religious beliefs,” he said. “Quite frankly, on the other side, it’s essentially a bunch of white guys.”

The irony there is that his opponent, McSally, is a woman.

Of course, this quote gave area conservatives (such as conservative talk-show host Jon Justice) a case of the howling fantods.

But honestly, Barber isn't incorrect. Let's look at the figures, using the Congressional Research Service's "Membership of the 112th Congress: A Profile,"published August 1, as a guide:

As a whole, Congress has 456 Caucasian members; 43 African-Americans; 12 Asian-Americans; 31 Hispanics/Latinos; and one Native American (with a few multi-ethnic members being counted multiple ethnic groups). Of those ethnic minorities, 75 are Democrats, while 13 are Republicans.

As far as gender representation is concerned, 93 women serve in the U.S. Congress. Of those women, 74 are Democrats, 29 are Republicans.

Of the 287 Republicans in Congress, there are 29 women, and 13 ethnic minorities. And of the 241 Democrats, there are 74 women and 75 are ethnic minorities.

So, while both parties tend to lean toward white males of the Baby Boomer generation, it's safe to say that Ron Barber isn't wrong when he says that the Republican party in Congress is "essentially a bunch of white guys."

It's a dumb way to put it, yeah — but he's still not wrong.

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