Affirmative Action Reax

by Chris Bodenner
In a rare moment of me completely agreeing with the Corner, Roger Clegg:

Obama's criticism is wrongheaded for at least three reasons:  (1) it is obviously preferential policies that are divisive, not their abolition; (2) the “big problem” of helping people from disadvantaged backgrounds can be addressed by helping people of all colors who are disadvantaged, rather than crudely and unfairly using race as a proxy for disadvantage; and (3) Obama himself has recognized as much, ... acknowledging the divisiveness of preferential treatment (in his Philadelphia speech), and the fact that his own daughters, for starters, come from privileged backgrounds and thus are “probably” not deserving of preferential treatment.
This is a solid, important commitment by [McCain] to the principle of E pluribus unum, and Americans across the political spectrum, but especially conservatives, should applaud him.  As for Barack Obama: This is a critical moment in his campaign.  Is he a candidate of change who will transcend race and bring us all together, rejecting divisive policies he knows in his heart are outdated and irrelevantor just another Democratic pol who lacks the courage to stand up to powerful but aging interests in his own party, which remain hopelessly infatuated with identity politics and insist on perpetuating a set of policies that have always been unfair and divisive and are now outmoded to boot?

In her predictable distrust of McCain, Malkin:

The McCain camp can’t push back because there is no difference between the 1998 measure and the one that citizens in his state may finally have a chance to vote on in November. They can’t explain why it’s not a flip-flop, because it is a giant, XXL one.  If, that is, McCain meant what he said. Big if.

[Clegg] argues that McCain should be applauded for his remarks yesterday. I must respectfully disagree. McCain’s ridiculous “have not seen the details” clause gives him just the space he needs to renege–and turn his back on conservatives when his open-borders friends and Big Business donors start pressuring him to back off. Like he’s done before. ...  Barack Obama, a lifelong preference-monger, has the wrong convictions on this issue. McCain doesn’t have any.

Describing what I fear most about the fallout of Obama's resistance, Betsy Newmark:

[Obama supporters will try] to imply that opposition to both the Civil Rights Initiative and Obama is anchored deep in racism, but such accusations are just going to get people's backs up. Every time they try to portray McCain as a racist for supporting the referendum, they'll be injecting race into the campaign and not in that gauzy post-racial way that Obama likes. And expect talk radio and conservative gruops to make the connection between Jeremiah Wright's rhetoric and the demands for race-based preferences. People don't like to be told that they are racist just because they believe in getting rid of preferential race and gender programs.

The smartest take I've seen so far is by La Shawn Barber:

The whole point of the civil rights movement was to bar the government from preferring one citizen over another based on factors like race. But our government continues this odious practice, and I can think of nothing more unfair or divisive, no matter which race or sex benefits from the discrimination. A government with the power to discriminate in favor of blacks has the power to discriminate against blacks.

Here is something that grates on my nerves as much as the term “African American”: People use the terms “affirmative action” and “race preferences” interchangeably, but they are not even synonymous. Affirmative action was a policy designed to provide qualified blacks with opportunities to compete with others for jobs. The “cast a wider” imagery described the process. The goal was to include more qualified blacks into the hiring pool. Affirmative action as conceived quickly became what’s known today as race preferences. Under this standard, blacks are not expected to compete against whites, only against one another. Public colleges and universities are notorious for unofficial separate admissions tracks, for example. It is truly tasteless.