How depressing that pressure is mounting on President Obama to nominate the first female Secretary of Defense.

The notion that any choice for a Cabinet position should be based on gender is appalling in this day and age. And women don’t need this kind of “help” nowadays. Diana Furchgott-Roth has a new book out that shows how misguided such paternalism is.  

The reasoning of feminists, however, seems to be that if Senator John Kerry is named as Secretary of State—which seems to be regarded in some circles as a woman’s preserve—then women are "owed" something else big. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta is expected to leave the job.

The point way back when wasn’t that women needed special privileges. The idea was that they be free to make their own choices without  gender being a roadblock to professional attainment.

The name that is being most frequently bandied about for the Defense slot is that of Michele Flournoy, who previously held the job of Under Secretary of Defense for Policy. It is the third-ranking job at Defense. Flournoy is a cofounder of the Center for a New American Security.

She has impressive educational credentials, including both Harvard and Oxford’s brainiest college, Balliol.

Does this sound to you like somebody who needs an extra assist because of her gender?

If Ms. Flournoy is tapped to become Secretary of Defense, the pressure brought to bear on her behalf by feminists may actuallyserve to make her appear less qualified.

With friends like these…