Jason Zengerle is all over Ponnuru's glib assertion that Sotomayor is "Obama's Harriet Miers." Ramesh is usually a lot better than that. In the course of defending himself, Ponnuru pins a double standard on liberals who called Bush a "moron" regardless of his Ivy credentials yet laud those same credentials in Sotomayor. Zengerle pounces:
Bush went to "those schools" during an era (actually, at the tail end of an era) when admission to those schools wasn't necessarily a sign of towering intellect, at least if you hailed from the right family, as Bush did. As Nicholas Lemann explained it in his 2000 New Yorker profile of Bush:
After Bush's class was admitted, Yale's new president, Kingman Brewster, Jr., a liberal-reformist New England patrician, brought in an insurrectionary new director of admissions, only twenty-nine years old, named R. Inslee Clark, Jr. Clark set about making Yale more of a national institution dominated by public-school graduates who were picked for their academic abilities. He made so many people mad that he lasted only five years in the job, but by that time the revolution was substantially complete. A good way of encapsulating the abrupt change from Old Yale to New Yale is this: George H. W. Bush is the eldest of four brothers. All four went to Yale. George W. Bush is the eldest of four brothers, too. He is the only one who went to Yale.
This approach, of course, spread to the rest of the Ivies, which is how Sotomayor, a poor Hispanic girl from the Bronx who went to a Catholic high school, got admitted to Princeton, from which she graduated summa cum laude.
And Bush, of course, touted a "C" average. If we truly want a meritocracy in the US, we should get rid of both legacy and affirmative action.
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