People on the right always scream about affirmative action being unfair or against meritocracy in things like college admissions, but have you ever heard them protest against legacy admissions, that long honored practice of accepting subpar kids because their dad was a graduate or gave alot of money?
I mean, seriously... Do you think George Bush got into Yale on merits? You think a C+ student got into Harvard Business on merits? From the description of his early life, I'm guessing that John McCain got some help getting into Annapolis. Do you think all those kids at St. Albans or Sidwell are really the best and brightest?
And yet no one on the right in Washington complains about that, although legacy admissions are an incredibly racially tilted program.This whole Sotomayor thing
is a very ugly (fundraising and rallying) call keyed to resonate in a very ugly bit of the Republican base's psyche. I just wish people would stop being shocked at what they're saying and move forward to the very political reasons of why they're saying it and why it works in the base.
Republicans tried rallying their people on "fiscal issues," but that wasn't enough, so now they're tapping into a sense of victimhood constructed on the twin pillars of "reverse racism" and the broader sense of loss of power.
In some ways, this plays on a broader sense that Obama (a black man) and Pelosi (a woman) are not legitimate leadership.
This is a remnant of "the angry white man" thing of the nineties, that cultural moment of the nineties tapped into by Gingrich and Limbaugh back then. It's not about affirmative action. It's about a broader shift in demographics pushing more minorities and women into the work place. It's a Republican reach into the white male anger over a declining role in society very loosely tied to the huge loss of manufacturing jobs.
This Sotomayor "race" show that we're watching is part of that great anti-sixties movement begun by Reagan. It's part of the conservative call to white males to go back to simpler times (before all those feminists and multiculturalists messed up America.)
It's a very ugly call when you really think about it. Republicans promise to take their people back to Andy Griffith's Mayberry.
But, as I've said before, there were no black people in Mayberry.
When your party is against blacks, against Hispanics, against other religions, somewhat against women in power, is there any way to interpret it that is not ugly?
So, I wish we'd get away from all the shock over the individual statements and look at the political totality of what we're seeing. It's not about what Limbaugh, Gingrich, or Tancredo said on a given day. It's about why they said it and the unspoken political realities of the all white party.
(Sorry, spent all my time this morning on this one rambling post.