In journalism it takes three examples to create a trend story. Today President Obama will name Peter Rouse as his new White House chief of staff. The New York Times reports that "Intensely private, Mr. Rouse is unmarried and lives alone in northwest Washington with his two cats. (He is a big cat person, friends say.)." That comes on the heels of Mr. Obama's appointment to the Supreme Court of Sonia Sotomayor (divorced in 1983 with no children, not remarried) and Elena Kagan (not married, no children.)
As a general matter I care about what public officials do in their government jobs, not about their private family life at home. But I wouldn't be surprised to see a spate of commentary coming up about what it means that three of Mr. Obama's choices for top jobs have no spouse and no children. Is the amount of job-related work necessary to reach the very top tier in law or politics inconsistent with a more conventional family life? I can think of at least a couple of Pulitzer-Prize winning opinion journalists at top newspapers who are in the same boat. It has the possibility of playing into the President Obama-as-"other" meme. Anyhow, look for it in the weekend papers.