Karl Zinsmeister is currently President Bush’s chief domestic policy adviser, hired when Claude Allen stepped down after being charged with shoplifting.
Before joining the White House, Zinsmeister was editor in chief of The American Enterprise, the conservative think tank’s magazine. In a piece he wrote in 1996, Zinsmeister stated, “[C]olorblindness has become a real risk today. … The penalty for the person who, ignoring race, turns down the wrong street today can literally be death.”
A new article in The New Republic shows that Zinsmeister was also hostile toward women. A former American Enterprise editor, Karina Rollins, remembers that Zinsmeister constantly attacked the magazine’s art director, Jo Roback-Paul, criticizing her for going to a doctor’s appointment and for taking maternity leave:
But the biggest grievance harbored by the magazine’s staff concerned Zinsmeister himself. “He went to his son’s basketball game, and then he would give Jo [Roback-Pal] a hard time about a doctor’s appointment,” Rollins says. … While Zinsmeister frequently complained about Roback-Pal to other staffers at the magazine — telling [then-business manager Garth] Cadiz that she was “useless” and “never there” — her former colleagues say that she never missed a deadline and that he was “abusive” toward her. When she angered him by taking a four-month maternity leave, Zinsmeister told Cadiz, “I am never going to hire another woman because they just get pregnant and leave.”
The Bush administration has a track record of using pregnancy as an excuse to not hire women. It’s unclear whether Zinsmeister has lived up to his no-women pledge while at the White House.