McCain Opposes Affirmative Action

Continuing his pronounced move to the extreme right, John McCain announced his support for an Arizona initiative to ban affirmative action:

Presidential candidate John McCain on Sunday endorsed a proposal to ban affirmative action programs in his home state, a policy that Democratic rival Barack Obama called a disappointing embrace of divisive tactics. In the past, McCain has criticized such ballot initiatives.

Barack Obama rightly notes that this is yet another reversal of McCain's position and a move to the extreme right:

"I think in the past he had been opposed to these kinds of Ward Connerly referenda or initiatives as divisive. And I think he's right," Obama said, referring to a leading critic of affirmative action.

John McCain continues to makes himself one of the most extreme Presidential candidates we have seen run for office. That he has reversed himself on so much to make this rightward move shows there is not an ounce of maverick in him. He is a prototypical extreme right wing Republican candidate.

By Big Tent Democrat, speaking for me only

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    Remember the supposed subject of (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by andgarden on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 09:06:53 AM EST
    hands? McCain is getting set to race bait.

    Also, this smells like a play for Michigan (5.00 / 0) (#2)
    by andgarden on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 09:09:18 AM EST
    How can it be a play for MI, they got rid of (none / 0) (#9)
    by samtaylor2 on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 09:30:40 AM EST
    Affirmative action here last year.  

    He knows it's a salient issue (5.00 / 0) (#10)
    by andgarden on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 09:31:47 AM EST
    It is a Hail Mary (5.00 / 0) (#25)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 09:48:40 AM EST
    McCain will do more and more of this now.

    this will likely be the ugliest campaign we have ever seen.

    It will be interesting to see how the Media deals with it.


    ugliest campaign (5.00 / 1) (#52)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 10:07:43 AM EST
    I completely agree.  its going to get ugly.  

    As soon as I read the post title, (none / 0) (#13)
    by pie on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 09:35:44 AM EST
    I thought the same thing.

    It was, still is, a very contentious issue here.


    Correct (5.00 / 0) (#56)
    by americanincanada on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 10:09:21 AM EST
    It was, still is, a very contentious issue here.

    AS it is in many states. It is a vile ploy on McCain's part but it will probably work in the sense some people will never admit to pollsters or even friends how they really feel on the issue.

    Obama needs a clear, concise statement on the mater that expresse the progressive view. In the past he has not been very good at that.


    "never admit to pollsters" (none / 0) (#60)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 10:12:36 AM EST
    this is correct.  we are going to see the term "Bradley Effect" again.  but from now on it may very well be known as the Obama Effect.
    I say a good 5 points and maybe more.

    admit to pollsters (4.00 / 1) (#132)
    by Valhalla on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 01:09:08 PM EST
    First, Obama will never come out clearly in defense of Aff Action.  No way.  It blows up his whole 'move to the center'.  I'd expect a lot more vagued-up rhetoric calling McCain divisive and pretty much no clear stand whatsoever from BO.

    On polling -- It's only really sensitive liberals who never  criticize Aff Action.  I move in a lot of different circles, not just latte ones.  Among people younger than me (I'd say starting with the under 30s), there's a tendency to disbelieve that racism exists, esp. in employment combined with a startling faith in the idea that the U.S. has become a race-blind meritocracy.  It parallels the belief in the 'post-feminist' age where there's no sexism anymore.  So even if there's no great anti-Aff Action sentiment there, there's on great support for it either.

    And among people for whom losing a job is not just a sucky occurrence but a catastrophe,  Aff. Action (esp. quotas) superficially violates principles of fairness and threatens their financial security.  In a bad economy people are scared and angry.  There are a million reasons why, but few that people feel they have control over.  Voting on an anti-Aff Action initiative is something they can control.

    Fact is, supporters of Affirmative Action (of which I'm one) have not won the framing war on this for years.  The dominant propaganda is that it's unfair and no longer needed, if it ever was.  And Obama himself is superficial proof that it's no longer needed.  I'm really not sure how shy most people are, these days, about voicing disagreement with Affirmative Action.

    This was always going to come up in this election with Obama as the nominee.  His campaign should have seen it coming a long way away (I'm not saying they didn't, just that I haven't seen evidence yet that they did).


    Smells like an attempt to make Obama (none / 0) (#85)
    by ruffian on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 11:00:33 AM EST
    pick a side. It's gonna get ugly however he responds.

    This is not a "move" to the extreme (5.00 / 2) (#3)
    by scribe on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 09:18:39 AM EST
    right, as McSame never was anything other than a hard-line winger.  It was only his public persona (aided and abetted by his BBQ-munching, massage enjoying base in the TradMedia) that held him out to be other than a hard-core wingnut.  

    So, this is the wolf dropping his sheepskin.

    And, FWIW, the NRA and other rethug surrogates have been phone push-polling the whole idea of "Liberal-Obama-quota" for months, couching it in terms of a quota of guns you might be limited to buy by the liberal Obama.  I got a couple back in March or April.

    Opposition (none / 0) (#41)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 09:56:55 AM EST
    to racial preferences in hiring and admissions is hard-line right wing!!  You just classed two thirds of the country that way.  

    Are you like George Wallace? "Racial preferences now, racial preferences tomorrow, racial preferences forever"


    you have a poll for that? (5.00 / 0) (#46)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 10:01:02 AM EST
    A real one I mean?

    polls (none / 0) (#100)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 11:22:32 AM EST
    McCain is running a terrible campaign (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by stxabuela on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 09:23:45 AM EST
    I know almost everyone has said the race is Obama's to lose, but McCain seems to be doing everything he can to ensure a landslide victory for the Democrats.  

    In a year when a large majority of Americans say the country is heading in the wrong direction, we get the choice of right of center, or right off the cliff.  What happened?  

    Same question in 2004 (none / 0) (#123)
    by stefystef on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 12:48:34 PM EST
    The war was sucking early and the economy was having problems and many people thought that Bush COULDN'T win a second term.
    Kerry was polling better than Obama at this time in 2004 against the Republicans.

    And yet, we know what happened.   Things change everyday and people say one thing and act in another way.  This may be the case in November again.


    McCain's attempt to get Obama ... (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by Robot Porter on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 09:24:11 AM EST
    to sound like a liberal.

    Of course, Obama's position on affirmative action is another spongy area for him. Using the Ouija board you need to determine Obama's position on many issues, he seems to be in favor of eliminating "race-based" affirmative action.

    One of the positions that soured me on him in the early days.

    He never said that (none / 0) (#16)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 09:37:44 AM EST
    Like all of Obama's positions ... (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by Robot Porter on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 09:50:32 AM EST
    you need to read between the lines a bit.  And I think I know how to do that now.

    (And I noted this in my comment.)

    But even his biggest fans have to admit he's not a stalwart defender of Affirmative Action.


    No you can read the words (5.00 / 1) (#35)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 09:53:23 AM EST
    They are perfectly clear, unless you do not want them to be.

    They are not perfectly clear. (none / 0) (#94)
    by Robot Porter on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 11:14:04 AM EST
    But from what you can intuit he wants to give class greater value than race.

    Most experts agree that this would result in a de facto end to "race-based" Affirmative Action.

    Many think this is a good idea.  I don't.


    I have always hoped (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by Steve M on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 09:48:22 AM EST
    that Obama would be the guy to bring the Democratic Party towards a "mend it, don't end it" position on affirmative action.  Politically, I think it would be a very helpful move, and the likely outcome is that we'll end up in a better place if we reform affirmative action ourselves than if we do nothing and let these state ballot initiatives continue to chip away as part of a growing backlash.

    From a policy standpoint, I think it's important to take a hard look at where affirmative action is working and where it isn't.  I'm a big believer in the concept, but I'm also a big believer in empirical evidence, and secondary education is different from college education which is different from employment and so forth.  If there are areas where affirmative action is failing in its goal of remedying past discrimination by moving closer to equality, we need to investigate whether our solution can be improved at all.

    It may still happen, but Obama doesn't seem like he's looking for any bold moves, and it's not like he needs to find yet another way to demonstrate that he's not a doctrinaire liberal.  Let me be clear, though, if I didn't think this was the smart thing for the Democratic Party from a policy standpoint, I wouldn't be in favor of throwing affirmative action recipients under the bus for purely political reasons.

    I think Obama is precisely (5.00 / 0) (#33)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 09:52:17 AM EST
    where you want him to be.

    I especially like the stress on the value of diversity.


    I hope so (none / 0) (#47)
    by Steve M on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 10:02:31 AM EST
    If he is, though, he's not getting nearly the political mileage out of it that he could.  I think "mend it, don't end it" would be a broadly popular message but he hasn't really made this issue a focus.

    Something I have impressions about, but no real knowledge, is what impact this sort of stance would have among some of the minority groups other than African-Americans, many of whom seem to feel like they don't really get a fair shake out of the deal.


    McCain if certainly headed right (5.00 / 2) (#27)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 09:50:27 AM EST
    expect more.  gay marriage in on the ballot in CA, expect more about immigration.  we just passed the 100 day mark.  its going to get interesting now.

    Against Gay Adoption (5.00 / 1) (#78)
    by squeaky on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 10:44:20 AM EST
    Earlier this month, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) took an extreme position on gay adoption, telling the New York Times he believes in "traditional" families even if it means leaving children in orphanages. "I think that we've proven that both parents are important in the success of a family so, no I don't believe in gay adoption," he said.

    think progress


    I think in other settings he has been (none / 0) (#81)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 10:48:19 AM EST
    a bit more nuanced but how does Obama feel about gay adoptions? do we know?

    This is what Obama said about it (none / 0) (#88)
    by CST on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 11:04:27 AM EST
    "As your President, I will use the bully pulpit to urge states to treat same-sex couples with full equality in their family and adoption laws."

    so (none / 0) (#90)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 11:06:27 AM EST
    he will leave it up to the states.  seems I have heard McCain say more or less the same thing.

    In other interviews (none / 0) (#87)
    by americanincanada on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 11:04:13 AM EST
    his campaign's position has been a bit more moderate calling for states to make the decision and insisting each case be decided in the best interests of the child. See CNN interview with Mitt Romney on the subject of McCain and gay adoption.

    sorry that should be (none / 0) (#29)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 09:50:54 AM EST
    IS certainly headed right.
    happy monday.

    How pathetic (5.00 / 1) (#31)
    by Lahdee on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 09:51:10 AM EST
    He'll pander wherever and whenever. It may be a play for Michigan, but I'll bet he had the base in his home state in mind also. With a 9% lead (5% undecided) in a Rasmussen poll from June he needs to keep his base happy.
    I wonder if he'll come home to them on immigration policy next?

    Affirmative Action (5.00 / 3) (#44)
    by bocajeff on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 09:59:30 AM EST
    Is one of the issues that has cost Dems elections in the past (as did Forced Busing). I believe this is not because people are racists per se, but they see that something is just not right. Where I think Dems have been wrong on this issue is that it Affirmative Action should be class based rather than raced base. A poor white person in Appalachia needs assistance too - probably more than a rich African American.

    As a white father of biracial children you better believe I'll take advantage of any program that helps my kids, but my wife and I know there are many others who could benefit more that don't qualify.

    Yeah I agree. And Obama (5.00 / 1) (#53)
    by CaptainAmerica08 on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 10:08:03 AM EST
    SPECIFICALLY mentioned the problems Forced Busing and Affir. Action pose in his much ballyhooed Philadelphia Race Speech. He said that just because a white person feels alienated does NOT make them a racist. As a HRC supporter, I'm embarrassed by the lies, jealousy and resentment directed towards this one guy.

    Well (5.00 / 1) (#55)
    by Steve M on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 10:08:43 AM EST
    A poor white person versus a rich black person is an easy case, sure.  But the trick is adding financial status into the equation without turning the entire concept into a class-based system, because at the end of the day, healing the damage from racial discrimination is still a primary goal.

    Because there are more white people in poverty than any other group (since there are a lot more white people overall), it's hard for a system to remedy race discrimination if it's administered solely on the basis of financial status.  So you have to find a middle ground.

    The good news is that it's a lot more popular to give extra benefits to the lower classes under the rubric of reforming affirmative action than it would be if you just unveiled a vaguely socialistic redistributive system out of nowhere.  It's a neat trick!


    Your first sentence (5.00 / 3) (#66)
    by bocajeff on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 10:19:07 AM EST
    Your first sentence is the problem - "It's an easy case sure" - except that it isn't taken into consideration at all! You will never end the racial strife as long as people are pitted against each other based on their skin tone or ethnicity. It's absolutely impossible! The goal of affirmative action is beautiful - but it's the wrong tactic to reach the goal because you are trying to include people by excluding people and expect the excluded people to be open to the idea.

    By the way, here at Talk Left, how many of the contributors are African American?


    Brilliant. (5.00 / 1) (#80)
    by oldpro on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 10:47:32 AM EST
    The very best statement I have ever seen on why affirmative action is problematic:

    "The goal of affirmative action is beautiful - but it's the wrong tactic to reach the goal because you are trying to include people by excluding people and expect the excluded people to be open to the idea."

    Wish I could give you a thousand highfives for that statement.  Simple.  Clear.  Correct.

    Re TL AAs....who knows?  No Demographics except for those who self-reveal.  I've seen a few here, both male and female...same for Hispanic.  Others?  Occasionally.

    Why do you ask?


    So Hillary clinton did not (5.00 / 1) (#110)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 11:54:19 AM EST
    do it for you on this issue I take it.

    What a load of claptrap you are endorsing.

    And you say the democratic Party left you? Like it left Joe Lieberman I imagine.


    C'mon... (none / 0) (#127)
    by oldpro on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 12:54:34 PM EST
    no need for insults, Big Tent.  Joe Lieberman and I are not in tandem.  What's THAT comment about?

    As for Hillary...can't say I agree with her on every single issue any more than I agree with any pol I know on every single issue...and neither do you.  To tell the truth, I don't even know what Hillary is saying about Affirmative Action these days.

    My comment and current thoughts about affirmative action as a way to achieve diversity and level playing fields is that it has run its course as a policy under the old definitions.  We can't sell it politically, so two things need to change: the name and the tactics.  Not the goal.

    First, stop calling it affirmative action.  And as Obama and others are evidently calling for and implementing, make the metrics include class, income, etc. as well as race and sex.

    So,,,what am I endorsing that you object to?


    Now where have we heard that before? (none / 0) (#145)
    by Alien Abductee on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 03:41:09 PM EST
    "The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race."

    Forced busing (5.00 / 1) (#59)
    by pie on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 10:12:10 AM EST
    was not the answer.  But the problems inherent in innercity schools have gotten worse.  As far as I can see, nothing is being done to address those problems and the disparity in the quality of education continues to grow.

    ALL schools have gotten worse (5.00 / 0) (#64)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 10:15:44 AM EST
    I have several public teachers in my family and I hear about it constantly.  poorer schools may feel it more but they are all feeling it and they are all getting worse.  we need to fund public education in this country.

    Going (none / 0) (#83)
    by oldpro on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 10:56:06 AM EST
    OT to respond, I suppose, but couldn't let it pass.

    Funding is not the problem...not in all bad schools.  See D. C. public schools, for instance.  Perhaps Michelle Rhee can do something about that.  She's certainly trying.  And NYC is having 'a go' as well.

    Funding is only one problem.  The use of resources is a bigger problem.  So is 'good teachers.'  Not enough of them.  Also, especially, principals.  My basic principle/rule, 'good principal, good school....bad principal, lotsa luck.'


    from what I hear (none / 0) (#86)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 11:01:59 AM EST
    the "good teachers/principles" thing is also more or less a problem of funds.
    people have to do it for love.  it would be nice if there was enough money to pay them.
    and while it may not be the only problem, money would  help with almost all the others.
    again.  I am just reporting what I hear from relatives who are teachers.
    but I hear it a lot.  btw these are all people who work in mostly poor mostly white mostly rural areas.

    Ask them what (none / 0) (#95)
    by oldpro on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 11:16:34 AM EST
    their salaries are.  You might be surprised.

    And keep in mind that public employees tend to have the best healthcare and retirement packages of any workers in any state.  Strong unions have done their work effectively on that score.

    In my state (WA) the average teacher salary is over $50,000 for 180-185 days' contract...plus benefits.  Beginners (first year employee) over $30,000.


    Yes, but (and way OT) (5.00 / 0) (#112)
    by cmugirl on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 12:01:07 PM EST
    That starting salary is after 5 years of college (most teacher ed programs are now required 5 years, instead of 4 like everybody else, including a forced internship where you don't get paid, but instead have to pay for a whole semester of credits).

    That $50K also accounts for the fact that there are "steps" and someone with 30 years' experience is probably making the same (or close to it) salary as someone with 10 years' experience.

    Do this little trick:

    I don't know what the going rate for teenage babysitters is , but let's say $5/hour.

    Let's pay teachers like babysitters.

    $5/hr per kid
    Assume 25 kids per classroom (a gross underestimation for some districts)
    Assume 6 hours per day (we won't count time teachers work after school and at home).
    Assum 180 days per year.

    $5 * 25 * 6 * 180 = $135,000 / year (for babysitting - plus you get teaching too!)

    I think you're getting a bargain in Washington state.....


    here ya go. (none / 0) (#99)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 11:22:17 AM EST
    the real problem:

    our public school teachers making an average salary $6,258 below the national average of $49,026. However, if our classroom teachers were paid as much as our high school football coaches, we would lead the nation in teachers' salaries. C.S. Murphy's fine article today documents the state's educational culture and the warped judgment of local school boards that pay some football coaches $30,000 more than classroom teachers at the same school with equivalent education and experience.


    thats arkansas btw (none / 0) (#102)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 11:25:42 AM EST
    I was surprised it was that  high.

    Yep. The real problem (none / 0) (#118)
    by oldpro on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 12:26:52 PM EST
    is well documented in the Murphy article.

    It's democracy.  The people.  The elected officials, from school boards to state legislators...and little leadership to change much when it comes to coaches/athletics, parents and alumni.

    The teachers' union could change things tho.  Wonder why they don't?  Guess the members aren't pressuring their union for change any more than parents are pressing their school boards.

    Pathetic.  A lot of the 'change' talk is just that...talk.


    Having former coaches as principals (none / 0) (#139)
    by splashy on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 02:42:09 PM EST
    And as the heads of the school boards leads to things like this.

    Why is that anyway? Why are coaches promoted more than other employees? Is there some kind of criteria that does this?


    Busing (5.00 / 2) (#71)
    by bocajeff on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 10:30:51 AM EST
    Was not the answer! It was far worse than that - it created white flight into suburbs and exurbs, property tax reform like Prop. 13 in California because people didn't want their property taxes raised so they can have their kids bused (especially after they moved into neighborhoods primarily for the schools), and helped create Reagan Democrats.

    You can not - can not - treat people equally by treated them unequally...


    So simple.... (none / 0) (#82)
    by oldpro on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 10:50:32 AM EST
    so straightforward.

    So clear.

    Bocajeff speaks for me on this subject.


    I am a left-wing opponent of Aff Action (2.00 / 0) (#141)
    by denise on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 02:56:44 PM EST
    I think it was what led us to decades of Republicanism. If you wanted to divide and conquer the working classes, you could not have come up with a better way to do it.

    Obama's in a tough spot with this one, having probably benefited from it himself. But I think it's a losing issue for him, as he's courting Republicans and libertarians.


    If Obama makes affirmative action (5.00 / 2) (#76)
    by samanthasmom on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 10:36:17 AM EST
    one of the issues that he is willing to spend political capital on, he opens the door for someone to ask if he and Michelle were benefited by affirmative action policies when they were applying for college admissions and employment. Depending upon one's viewpoint of Obama's resume and qualifications to be president, being the first "affirmative action president" is a good thing to be or not such a good thing. Those who support Obama enthusiastically could point to his candidacy as a prime example of the success of affirmative action. My guess is that Obama would reject the idea that he might not have been accepted to Columbia if not for affirmative action. He is clear that his own daughters have no need for any special treatment. As a woman who was sought after by several engineering schools because they were looking to improve their male/female ratios, I would have been offended if anyone had suggested that I would not have been accepted if I had been male. When push comes to shove, this issue may hit too close to home for Obama to campaign heavily on it.

    precisely.... (2.00 / 0) (#154)
    by p lukasiak on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 06:01:24 PM EST
    one of the issues that he is willing to spend political capital on, he opens the door for someone to ask if he and Michelle were benefited by affirmative action policies when they were applying for college admissions and employment.

    The big reason that I did not support Obama was that he was not qualified for the job.... and the closer that one looks at his resume the more you find that suggests that much of what he "achieved" was "affirmative action" based.  (Sure he was the first AA Editor of the Harvard Law Review....and he was the first Editor of the Harvard Law Review to not publish an article too.)

    As someone who supports Affirmative Action, I think Obama represents a serious threat to that program, because Obama is "evidence" of what is "wrong" with Affirmative Action -- the fact that Obama is not a "true" Affirmative Action candidate (because in order to be considered under AA, you have to be qualified) won't make a difference.

    This is Obama's problem -- someone who is supposedly so attuned to the racial dynamic of the American people and wants and "honest" dialogue about race had to have known that his lack of a strong resume would lead to AA becoming an issue.  McCain has every right to exploit Obama's lack of preparation for the Oval Office as a campaign issue, and every right to make 'racial preference' an issue in this campaign, given that Obama owes his 'presumptive nominee' status to his 80%+ support from African Americans in the primaries -- and is counting on record turnout from the Black community in November.


    I suppose this latest development struck (5.00 / 2) (#96)
    by Anne on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 11:16:48 AM EST
    me as more evidence that both of these candidates are doing their best to appease and pander to whichever demographic they feel they need to shore up at any given moment; we've certainly seen it from Obama, and more lately from McCain, so I don't know why anyone is surprised.  It's to the point where I don't think anyone - Republican or Democrat - can rely on the candidates' stated positions for any longer than it takes them to pivot or sidestep or back away from them.  Both seem to be afraid to sharply define themselves without reference to each other and instead are left with defining themselves dependent on what the other is saying.  How is anyone supposed to know what these two people are all about, what they will and won't do, who will and won't advise them, what they do and do not believe in?

    Day after day, week after week, we get breathless reporting on what these candidates have said that is in conflict with some previous statement.  After being jerked this way and then that, I've gotten to the point where campaign news might as well be a daily weather report: don't like today's campaign statement?  Wait until tomorrow.  Last week's statements - a distant memory.

    How sad that this is what we have to choose from.

    [I haven't had time to read all the comments, so apologies if this has already been mentioned or covered...]

    A lot of people oppose affrimative action (5.00 / 2) (#98)
    by dianem on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 11:20:18 AM EST
    I used to support it. I want more equality. But you can't have equality as long as one group is given preferential treatment. If people get promoted to certain positions because of who they are instead of how well qualified they are, then people start suspecting that any black person or women who is in a position of power must be there because of their race or gender. This diminishes the accomplishments of everybody who fought against prejudice to get where they are. It embitters people who feel that they earned their place through hard work but that people look at them and assume that they were promoted because of their race or gender, not their qualifications.

    You can't regulate everything. We can level the playing field a bit by making blatant racism and sexism illegal, but the hard work has to be done through social change, not laws. Affirmative action may have been necessary to give people a hand up, but now that there are cracks in the glass ceilings, affirmative action is holding people back by reinforcing the idea that they can't make it without help - that women and minorities aren't as good as white men, and they can't make it on their own.

    The remnants of racism and sexism in our society can't be regulated away. They will mostly die off as those who won't let go of outmoded ideas die off.

    Hillary Clinton disagrees with you (2.66 / 3) (#108)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 11:52:36 AM EST
    It seems more and more many Clinton supporters are discovering they are actually Republicans.

    that's pretty pathetic big tent democrat (5.00 / 2) (#117)
    by oldnorthstate on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 12:26:36 PM EST
    when all else fails, call your opponent a rebublican.  but this is far from surprising as i've seen you stoop pretty damn low over and over again on the blogs over the years.  the truth probably is that you're too hotheaded to have such vocal roles on the blogs.  sometimes logic just isn't your friend.

    Do you oppose Affirmative Action? (3.00 / 2) (#120)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 12:41:56 PM EST
    Is that the Republican position?

    On this, you are a Republican are you not?


    I oppose it in most cases (none / 0) (#143)
    by denise on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 03:13:04 PM EST
    That may put me out of step with most Democrats, but it doesn't make me a Republican.

    I am somewhere between a liberal & a socialist. I've voted Democratic for 36 years. I do it because of the two major parties its positions in general are closer to my own views, not because I've signed up for a list of beliefs that I have to hold all of. I do my own thinking.

    I pondered Affirmative Action a great deal over the years before coming down against it. I'm not interested in debating the issue now, but it is not a litmus test for being liberal.

    Yours is exactly the point of view that is referred to as PC, and led to liberal being a dirty word for 3 decades. If you tell people they can't be Democrats if they hold certain opinions, then you're telling them to be Republicans. Not very smart.


    How low are you going to sink? (none / 0) (#114)
    by dianem on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 12:09:42 PM EST
    Calling somebody who has proclaimed repeatedly that they aren't Republicans and who has never espoused Republican principles is over the top. You've done this before, and I find it just as offensive now as I did then. I'm a moderate, plain and simple. You may not agree with my views, but it would be more productive to disagree in a rational way than to simply call me names that are not appropriate in any way. And yes, I do think that calling somebody a Republican is calling them names. You are perfectly capable of having a rational argument. Stop sinking to the level of the lowest troll on this site.

    And for the record: I also support the death penalty, but in a limited sense that is not currently reflected by current policy. I opposed the Iraq War from the outset, but I don't want to abandon the Iraqis now that we have destroyed their political structure. I would like to see the U.N. involved in setting up some kind of stable system. I oppose affirmative action for race or gender, but I support helping out people who did not have an opportunity for a good education. I liked Bill Clinton's welfare reform. I support a national single payer health plan, but want people to also be able to pay out of pocket. I don't particularly care about telecom immunity, but I oppose having the government spy on citizens. I support efforts to protect us from terrorists, but oppose crackdowns on illegal aliens. And yes, I call them illegal aliens, to distinguish them from legal aliens like my husband. My views don't fit nicely into either extreme right or extreme left, but they are far more left than right. I am proud to be a moderate in many ways. I am proud that my views are controlled by my own carefully considered ideas of right and wrong, not by rules defined by "the left".


    Well dianem your (5.00 / 1) (#121)
    by CaptainAmerica08 on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 12:42:14 PM EST
    comments imo reflect a difference of opinion, not a radically hateful/spiteful viewpoint. That's different from some on this post spewing outright lies about one candidate's opinion. That's wrong. BTD may have just lashed out because he's sick (like me) of the cultist/anti-cultist nature that Obama's candidacy seems to have wrought on a significant portion of American politics.

    Proclaim what you want (5.00 / 1) (#122)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 12:42:32 PM EST
    Like Obama, I judge you on your position on issues, not on what you say you are.

    Joe Lieberman says he is a Democrat too.


    I'm not a Democrat (5.00 / 1) (#131)
    by dianem on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 01:08:13 PM EST
    I have been an independent for the past few months after being a Democrat for 25 years.Joe Lieberman supports the right on many issues. I support them on very few, and generally in a nuanced way. I am simply not reactive against them automatically, which seems to be the major qualification for being a Democrat nowadays.  The only reason you have for accusing me of lying is that you think that my views aren't liberal enough. I think I remember why you annoyed me on Daily Kos many years ago. I was wondering, because you seem to be very good at reasoned arguments, and I generally like that, even if someone disagrees with me. But you sometimes get annoyed and choose to use insults instead of arguments. I don't like that. It's unfair, and beneath you.

    I agree with Clinton (none / 0) (#128)
    by MichaelGale on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 12:57:03 PM EST
    I believe in quotas and think they have contributed to the best for many.

    Dismantle affirmative action and see how fast it returns to the subjective past.


    You are forgetting crucial details (none / 0) (#142)
    by splashy on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 03:06:09 PM EST
    Such as how a person is being raised, what kind of environment they are in pollution wise, whether they have to spend a lot of time working just to survive so don't have the luxury of being able to study more, and all kinds of things that can affect how well a person can compete.

    It seems to me that people that are in better situations are just fine with saying "lets judge everyone equally" when they know they are getting a better break because they don't have all the handicaps.

    Since the environments are not equal, you can't judge equally.


    I have no problem with class based ... (none / 0) (#150)
    by dianem on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 04:44:20 PM EST
    ...assistance. Poor people often need help to get into colleges and financial assistance paying for a decent education. I just believe that basing public assistance on race or gender leads to everybody who didn't benefit from the quotes to be suspected to be less than qualified simply because they might have. When people are promoted based on race or gender, other people tend to believe that they couldn't have succeeded on their own. That's not fair to the many who did succeed on their own. And in today's climate most people can succeed on their own, even if they are black or female. There are positions that are closed, but quotas don't generally cover those positions.

    Just to play devil's advocate (none / 0) (#151)
    by Steve M on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 04:48:06 PM EST
    Wouldn't the same stigma attach to recipients of class-based affirmative action?

    How can you tell? (none / 0) (#152)
    by dianem on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 05:54:33 PM EST
    The person would have to volunteer that they were poor. I am not suggesting that we should require employers to preferentially hire disadvantaged people. I simply want them to get preferential access to educational tools that will enable them to compete fairly in the free market (oops - there is another Republican term!). Some people would resent them being given a hand up, but everybody would benefit because education is the key to reducing poverty among all people, and these people would be better able to contribute to society. I am a really strong believer in education, from Head Start to college scholarships and tutoring/remedial education. I believe in giving people tools to improve themselves, not simply giving them preferential treatment so that they will be hired whether they are the best qualified. I think that all people can succeed, regardless of their gender or skin shade, although they may not be able to succeed in the way they want. That will take time. The government can't legislate "Fair", no matter how hard it tries. People who want to be bigoted and sexist will be. We can't change that. What we can do is survive and thrive in spite of them, and, eventually, their kind will be put out of business by corporations who are willing to hire the best talent, regardless of their race or gender.

    Opposing AA "extreme"? (5.00 / 1) (#113)
    by Exeter on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 12:02:35 PM EST
    I would say no-- especially when only about a 1/3 of Americans support it.  

    I'm a minority (5.00 / 2) (#119)
    by StevenT on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 12:29:09 PM EST
    and i too opposes affirmative action. I believe in giving help to those who deserves them and this means providing extra fundings for free tutoring and such. But to make this extra help into a regulation.... a no no. I remember when UC Berkeley started an affirmative action policy sometime ago, the intakes for Asians drop dramatically so much so that they decided to cancel this policy as it is like switching one minority for another. So no no to affirmative action for me. Not to say that this would be the perfect bait for Obama to take.

    McCain Has Little to Lose (5.00 / 0) (#124)
    by squeaky on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 12:50:42 PM EST
    On this, but what he may hope for is to force Obama to make himself the black candidate. It also implies, as many anti-Obama cultists have suggested here at TL, that Obama is the product of affirmative action. Sounds utterly Rovian to me.

    You know (5.00 / 1) (#129)
    by SoCalLiberal on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 12:59:33 PM EST
    I'd love to vote for and wholeheartedly support McCain.  But I won't and I can't and things like this remind me why.  This isn't a Richard Riordan Republican running, this is a right wing phony running.  

    Mixed feelings based on own experience (5.00 / 0) (#134)
    by Dr Molly on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 01:27:01 PM EST
    I've always been a strong supporter of affirmative action, and continue to be. But, I've shocked myself over the last 5-10 years when I've begun to wonder if the benefits are worth some of the fallout. This is based on my own experience in academia, and it's related to gender affirmative action, not racial affirmative action.

    I beat out 5 guys who interviewed for my tenure-track position. I thought I'd done it on the merits. Color me shocked when I started to hear hurtful innuendo and whispers over the next few years that I'd gotten hired because I was female. Same happened to me during my tenure process. I had a solid, no-brainer tenure package according to everyone, but it didn't stop the resentful comments I heard from young academic men that I and other women were getting preferential treatment. Several women I know got similar treatment upon their hirings at various universities. So I've started to wonder:  is it worth it? Are women always going to be suspected of not succeeding on their merits as long as people think affirmative action exists?

    In my field, it is not an exaggeration to say that I know of no woman hired who was not best qualified for the position, never on affirmative action grounds, and I've served on several search committees and observed hundreds. Yet, the perception is still out there that women are hired and promoted when they don't deserve it because they are women. I know a lot of young guys who tell me they think they lost jobs because their competition was female. I see no support for that hypothesis, but they will continue to believe it because they want to.

    I don't know....

    I still think affirmative action is necessary but I also see that it's used as a weapon against the very groups it is supposed to support.

    Similar experience (5.00 / 1) (#137)
    by CST on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 01:58:47 PM EST
    As a woman who went to a prestigious engineering school I would say I get 1 of 2 reactions. The main one is positive, "that's great that you were able to overcome gender bias."  The other reaction is "You only got in because you're a girl".  I would say it is mostly the first one, but every time you hear the second it really burns.  
    Likewise, I went to a highschool that had a very high-profile lawsuit over it's quota system while I was there.  The quota was abolished.  However, before the quota was abolished there were many complaints by minority students that they were treated differently by techers/other students because people assumed they only got in by being "affirmative action" students.  So now that sentiment is gone, but at the same time the school is much less diverse.
    This is a very complicated subject.  Ultimately, my school decided to spend a lot of money on outreach to the minority community to make up for the lower number of minority students.  So far, they have done a mediocre job.  Personally, I think if they had switched the quota from minority students to public school students they would achieve a similar goal in a less divisive way.  It becomes economics based instead of race based, but most public school students in the city are minorities anyways so the end result is similar.
    Finally, I am not opposed to affirmative action, but I do think the right wing has succesfully framed the issue in the American psyche that it can be a liability to the same people it has tried to help.  I certainly don't think abolishing it is the answer though, I think it needs to be "re-framed" in the American psyche, I just don't know how to do that...

    Yes, it's complicated (5.00 / 0) (#140)
    by Dr Molly on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 02:54:46 PM EST
    I appreciate your thoughtful comments on the subject. Like a lot of issues, it's not as black-and-white (pardon the pun) as right or left usually make it out. I don't pretend to know the answer. I value diversity and think we should help those who don't start from an advantageous position but I'm no longer as sure as I used to be that this is the best strategy in the end. I'm sure there are AAs who end up on the receiving end of the kind of resentment we are talking about, and what good is that?

    It's LITERALLY not a black and white issue (5.00 / 1) (#144)
    by denise on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 03:35:49 PM EST
    It was the issue of who are "Hispanics" and the discrimination against Asians that finally led to my coming down against AA.

    There was a case in a Fire Dept., I don't remember which city. Someone was promoted because of extra points given to him for being Hispanic. Others who were not promoted opposed this on the grounds that he was a white guy with some distant Spanish ancestry. They wanted a committee to be established to determine who was "really" Hispanic after looking into applicants' backgrounds.

    Of course they had a very good point. What lunacy to give someone preferential treatment for having a Spanish last name, when he could be a Spanish aristocrat or a Guatemalan Indian or a white American with one Spanish great-great-grandfather.

    But are we really going to have ethnic purity committees? The idea is too repulsive to even contemplate.


    "reframing" (5.00 / 0) (#157)
    by p lukasiak on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 06:22:38 PM EST
    reframing the nature of the scapegoating impulse in the human psyche takes generations.   If the grousing about your opportunity wasn't about gender, it would be about something else (i.e. she got it because she's a kiss a$$", etc).

    Remember, if 10 people apply for a job, nine of them won't get it, and some will resent the person who did get the job on the slightest pretext.  It doesn't matter who got the job -- these people will always resent the person who got the job.


    If there was a way to hide the gender (5.00 / 1) (#147)
    by splashy on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 03:43:17 PM EST
    Then there might be a more equal hiring practice.

    They did it in orchestras. They had them audition behind screens, so the judges couldn't see who it was, and erased everything in the resume that could imply what gender or race they were.

    Up until then, most orchestras were made up of white males. Suddenly, there were all kinds of talented and accomplished women and minorities in the auditions where before few of them could cut the mustard(sarcasm).

    Now, when you look at orchestras you often see a real balance in genders, and more minorities too. The results have been great for them.

    We need something like that in many other areas of life, and specific help for those that have abilities but not enough resources to develop them, like financial and tutoring help.


    Yes (5.00 / 1) (#149)
    by Dr Molly on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 04:06:41 PM EST
    The same effect has been shown for rates of acceptance for publication in scientific journals and rates of success for grant funding (if the names are unavailable to the reviewer, females and minorities are more successful than if the reviewer knows their gender or race).

    This would not be that difficult (none / 0) (#153)
    by dianem on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 06:01:13 PM EST
    Most job interviews could be conducted over the internet, at least in the initial stages. If employers had a chance to get to know candidates without dealing with biases imposed by their physical appearance, I think it would be easier for them to overlook "negatives" such as race, gender, disabilities, or physical appearance. Of course, they would have to meet the person before the person could be hired, but they would have a first impression based on something besides outside factors. And it would also provide information about how effectively the candidate was able to write - a major issue with many employers.

    Prediction: (4.50 / 2) (#75)
    by Wile ECoyote on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 10:33:52 AM EST
    Anyone who votes against Obama in Nov. will be called racist by most progressives.

    agree (none / 0) (#77)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 10:41:40 AM EST

    which is why there will be a large "Bradley Effect".

    I agree (none / 0) (#89)
    by americanincanada on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 11:06:02 AM EST
    People are not going to tell the truth to their own family and friends much less pollsters. I don't think any of these polls between Obama and McCain are really indicative of anything because of that.

    I absolutely agree. (none / 0) (#97)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 11:18:36 AM EST
    it actually scares me a little.  someone here the other day said she was worried what might happen if Obama has a 6-10 point lead all the way until the election and loses and was called a racist for saying it.
    it was suggested her comment should be deleted for suggesting such a terrible thing.
    well, I worry too.  not about violence really but about a broader sort of getting along. I have said for months this campaign will set race relations back years if not decades.

    Not only that (none / 0) (#101)
    by CaptainAmerica08 on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 11:25:21 AM EST
    but if you think the 2 party system is bad, wait until you get a load of a 1 party or 1 and 1/2 party (repubs and blue dogs) system.

    That's me (none / 0) (#146)
    by denise on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 03:41:49 PM EST
    I am in the closet and will remain so, so I'm sure lots of others are as well.

    It's easy to tell strangers on the internet that I'm not voting for him, but I'm not up to subjecting myself to the hostility of my family & friends. It's possible I will never tell anyone. Or maybe I will on my deathbed.


    I mentioned my reservations (none / 0) (#148)
    by splashy on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 03:48:21 PM EST
    To some friends, and they recoiled as though I had said something horrible.

    But, when I mentioned some things like FISA, his "feeling blue" comment about late term abortions, what happened at the RBC with the delegates, and a few other things, they got really quiet.

    They had no idea who McKinney was when I mentioned her. It was interesting.


    I don't talk about it in public (none / 0) (#155)
    by dianem on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 06:03:56 PM EST
    Seriously. I don't mention that I'm not an Obama supporter. People think I'm a Clinton fanatic or a racist or, as BTD suggested, a closet Republican. They aren't interested in hearing my reasons. As far as they are concerned, the truth is what Olbermann reports, and if I don't agree with that then I am suspect.

    tell them you are voting for McKinney... (none / 0) (#156)
    by p lukasiak on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 06:06:40 PM EST
    its a good strategy for discrediting the "you're a racist because you won't vote for Obama" nonsense...

    Affrimative Action is a touchy subject (4.00 / 1) (#115)
    by stefystef on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 12:10:27 PM EST
    I think many Americans do not support Affirmative Action because there is the false belief of equality and that people get jobs unfairly through Affirmative Action.

    This is a subject that many Americans may agree with, but don't say it out loud.  I have the feeling there is an underground support for McCain and the Republicans that is not being polled or address in the Obama- enamored media.

    In one (2.60 / 5) (#7)
    by tek on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 09:27:57 AM EST
    of Obama's Great Speeches he said right out that he disagrees with Affirmative Action on the basis of race and ethnicity.  He thinks if it continues it has to be on merit, that's all McCain is saying.  

    I can see I'll have to keep dropping in here to keep you people honest.

    Democrats will be sorry they gave Obama so many passes.  This guy is a Republican.

    No he did not say that (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by samtaylor2 on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 09:32:17 AM EST
    He said race should be an issue, but that class and opportunity should supercede race.

    So, what's your point? (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by dk on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 09:37:55 AM EST
    My bet is that if you pitched it to McCain that way, he'd probably not disagree.

    I'm not saying what Obama said is wrong, but I am saying that the more factors you introduce into the equasion, the harder it is to implement real policy.  And Obama's attempt to say all things to all people is, in the final analysis, no better than McCain's pandering to silly ballot initiatives.  Both are attempts by our paid policymakers to avoid having to do their jobs.


    He did disagree (5.00 / 2) (#23)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 09:47:37 AM EST
    Are you kidding me? do you even know what the Connerly initiatives are about?

    this is a serious issue for some of us. If all you want to do is blast Obama then you do not care about the issues.

    that seems to be a pattern with a few of you.

    John McCain has adopted an outrageous position and your insitinct is to defend it, driven by your dislike of Obama.

    you are now part of an anti-cult.

    It is as distasteful as the cult that believes Obama can do no wrong.


    I know exactly what the (none / 0) (#42)
    by dk on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 09:57:35 AM EST
    Connerly initiatives were about.  I lived in California and was a student at Berkeley when that initiative was voted on, and I was vociferally opposed to it.  It is exactly one of the reasons why I think that all state ballot initiatives are a horrible, horrible way to make public policy.  I have never met a state ballot initiative that I have liked.  Period.

    But, to make the statement that this proves that McCain is far right is not, in my opinion, acknowledging the complexity of all of this.  First of all, the point that significant majorities of voters in several states have approved such initiatives immediately cancels out your theory, because I do not believe that majorities of Americans hold "far right" views.  A lot of people who voted for those initiatives did so because they were frustrated that their paid elected officials weren't addressing how to deal with affirmative action in a responsible way, and this seemed "easy" to them.  Now I don't agree with this, obviously, but that's what many were convinced to believe.

    And sorry, I do think that Obama has talked out of several sides of his mouth on the issue, and, like many other things, I don't think he will expend "political capital" on the issue, and thus, in the end, the effect of either candidates position will end up being roughly the same.  Continue to call me all sorts of names if you want, but there it is.


    Significant majorities (5.00 / 0) (#45)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 10:00:36 AM EST
    supported the Iraq War.

    Excuse me, are you for or against the connerly initiatives?

    and if you are against them. why are you not denouncing McCain's position here, which oh btw, is a complete flip flop for him.

    Why is you focus on attacking Obama?



    Um, regarding (none / 0) (#57)
    by dk on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 10:11:53 AM EST
    my position on the Connerly initiatives, what part of the words "vociferally opposed" do you not understand?  You should apologize to me for trying to imply I said anything else.

    And, if you read my initial comment in this thread, I STARTED by denouncing McCain's position and recognizing it as a flip flop.  But, I also said that I don't think it necessarily represents what you say it represents, and I pointed out my opinion that Obama doesn't have clean hands on the issue, as a response to your decision to use Obama's words in your main post.

    If you want to shout me down by misrepresenting what I wrote, fine I'll just move on.  It's your blog.


    Respectively (5.00 / 1) (#51)
    by samtaylor2 on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 10:04:13 AM EST
    I believe that there is a difference between saying race is important and so is class and opporunity and endorsing tossing out affirmative action.  That is, I could support McCain's actions on this issue if he said I want to get rid of affirmative action as we know it, but before we do let us implement its replacement, instead he uses class and opportunity to shield himself from the real purpose of his endorsement, getting rid of opportunities for poor people of color.  

    I don't understand how McCain's endorsement of this is about Obama.  McCain's actions are his own and deserved to be discussed on their merits or lack there of.


    The post was about McCain's (none / 0) (#136)
    by Valhalla on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 01:42:26 PM EST
    position and Obama's response.  So both are on-topic.

    Plus, I don't find much to discuss re: McCain's position.  If his endorsement of the ban initiavite is representative of his views (and I believe it is), he's against it.  I disagree.  Not much to discuss there.

    Obama's position (as well as the Dem party's in general) is more interesting because it's neither an outright condemnation nor an enthusiastic endorsement.  Democrats lost the framing war on the Aff Action debate a long time ago.  If they are changing the frame now, there's a whole lot more discuss with that.


    both politicans are adopting, (none / 0) (#58)
    by sancho on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 10:12:08 AM EST
    i would think, positions they think they need to adopt in order to win. mccain could not win with an anti-affirm action plank. his position is hardly a surprise, btd. scribe is right--the wolf is shedding his sheep outift.  a pol is a pol, as they say. and it will get ugly--just like the last two.

    of course it will get ugly (none / 0) (#65)
    by americanincanada on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 10:15:54 AM EST
    was there ever any doubt? I believe the press will also turn on Obama but that's just my opinion. they love a dirty fight, we would all do well to remember that.

    I also agree a pol is a pol but if we keep saying it as an excuse for Obama's behaviour then we must also use the same phrase to excuse McCain's flip flops. He can't be the anti-christ for doing the same thing Obama has done on other issues. They both are running, IMHO, terrible campaigns for different reasons and in different ways.


    I would disagree (none / 0) (#67)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 10:22:42 AM EST
    that they have both run terrible campaigns.  I think the Obama campaign has been pretty flawless.  the McCain campaign has been terrible, absolutely.
    I think the most interesting thing is that they are running pretty even considering those two things.

    My assertion (none / 0) (#74)
    by americanincanada on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 10:33:44 AM EST
    that the Obama campaign has been terrible, IMO, is because we are seeing and hearing the same tired arguments against democrats that we always do. Words like arrogance, hubris, elite. If you add in new things like presumptuous and the statement that he  is running for 'president of the world' I think a disturbing picture emerges. I believe the Obama campaign could have avoided all of that if he had simply run his campaign with a little more consideration to how his photo-ops would be perceived.

    "Obama campaign has been terrible" (none / 0) (#79)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 10:44:49 AM EST
    I dont think its been great but considering the campaigns of the previous two dem presidential candidates I dont think, in a historical context, it has been terrible.
    it could certainly have been better.  and by comparison to the McCain campaign it has been looking pretty good.
    it almost seems like McCain doesnt think he has to run a smart campaign.  and apparently he is at least partly correct.

    What? (none / 0) (#91)
    by oldpro on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 11:09:22 AM EST
    Those aren't the same old tired arguments against Democrats that we always hear/heard.

    We got rid of those, thanks to Bill Clinton!  What were they?  Oh, things like "tax and spend" liberals and "welfare queens" for openers.

    Arrogance, hubris and elite are fairly new arguments against Democrats.  Accurate, though.  I'll give you that.


    I would hardly call (none / 0) (#92)
    by americanincanada on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 11:12:08 AM EST
    those attacks old since after Bill Clinton they were used heavily against both democratic candidates seeking the office, Gore and Kerry.

    And in that I mean (none / 0) (#93)
    by americanincanada on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 11:13:14 AM EST
    elite, arrogant and out of touch. Not new and not old. Hubris is a new one though, my bad.

    So...what say you (none / 0) (#111)
    by oldpro on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 11:56:21 AM EST

    Were Gore and Kerry "elite, arrogant and out of touch?"

    Hard to disagree, I'd say....


    Not old, ancient! (none / 0) (#107)
    by wurman on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 11:52:04 AM EST
    Adlai Stevenson was accused of being an arrogant, "egghead" elitist; an out-of-touch intellectual academic.  Stewart Alsop coined the term "egghead."

    Spiro Agnew: "effete, intellectual, impudent snobs" aimed generally at Dems & specifically at Humphrey & McGovern.  "Nattering nabobs of negativism" aimed at all academics & newspaper editors.
    ---from a speech in Houston TX 22May1970:

    A spirit of national masochism prevails, encouraged by an effete corps of impudent snobs who characterize themselves as "intellectuals".

    From Wikipedia, limousine liberal:
    . . .Mario Procaccino coined the term to describe Republican Mayor John Lindsay and his wealthy Manhattan backers during a heated 1969 campaign. It was a populist epithet, carrying an implicit accusation that the people it described were insulated from all negative consequences of their programs intended to benefit the poor. . . .

    The term was shifted from Lindsay to Ted Kennedy & his colleagues during the 1970s.


    Good points. You win! (none / 0) (#109)
    by oldpro on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 11:53:56 AM EST
    Good book, not read by me. (none / 0) (#126)
    by wurman on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 12:51:46 PM EST
    I chose not to reference this because I've only scanned the review (published 2006), but . . .

    William Jennings Bryan, Hubert Humphrey, and the Jeffersonian Legacy
    by Jeff Taylor
    University of Missouri Press

    If national party leaders are committed to elitist ideas--some as old as eighteenth-century conservatism and some as modern as limousine liberalism and political correctness--is it likely Democrats will regain majority status on a consistent basis? What changed and why?

    18th century "elitist" ideas in the Democratic Party----really!!!


    Wurman... (none / 0) (#130)
    by oldpro on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 01:02:46 PM EST
    .....they're baaaaack!

    You mean . . . (none / 0) (#133)
    by wurman on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 01:14:01 PM EST
    . . . the creative class?  Oh no.

    Thank you. (none / 0) (#72)
    by dk on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 10:31:03 AM EST
    This is exactly my opinion as well.

    Oops. I should say (none / 0) (#73)
    by dk on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 10:31:35 AM EST
    that I'm referring to americanincanada's comment.

    You are writing nonsense now (5.00 / 3) (#14)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 09:36:45 AM EST
    there are legitimate reasons to criticize Barack Obama.

    Your comment is not raising any of them. It is simply wrong.

    You do the discussion here a great disservice with this type of comment.


    I noted this up thread ... (none / 0) (#12)
    by Robot Porter on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 09:34:38 AM EST
    of course the "proggy blogs" don't care much about affirmative action.  Not one of "their issues."

    But if Obama gets his way on Affirmative Action he's likely to become the most hated president in the AA community since Rutherford B. Hayes.


    That is false (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 09:37:04 AM EST
    You can believe what you want to believe ... (none / 0) (#63)
    by Robot Porter on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 10:15:09 AM EST
    but I'm not alone in my belief.  Glenn Loury on a recent Bill Moyer's Journal put it this way:

    ... if we say affirmative action at leading American universities is now open to poor people, regardless of their race, no more of these middle class blacks who have lower test scores getting into places like Princeton or Harvard or any place like that. The result of that, the actual result of doing it, just like that and nothing else will be for every black that might have benefited, there are going to be ten poor whites who could potentially benefit.

    It will be a significant reduction of the number of blacks at these institutions. Now, maybe that's okay. Maybe that's not okay. But to reach that result without explicitly engaging the question, what will happen to the racial representation of African-Americans if we make this shift, will be to do blind universalism. And I'm not for that.

    If you support such an outcome fine.  I don't.

    And later in the interview Loury says:

    But the other thing that I wanted to say about Obama is with respect to blacks is who are voting to Barack Obama in 90 percent levels in the primary season, and who constitute a very important element of his political coalition. I don't know that they recognize that they're voting for the end of race as we've known it in the country. I don't know that they recognize and I don't mean to belittle them. I'm just asking a question. I'm not sure they recognize that--

    Now Obama speaks in such a way that you can parse virtually any of his positions to claim he believes thus or so.  But I think people who've looked long and hard at these issues, understand what Obama is proposing.


    I read (1.00 / 0) (#116)
    by tek on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 12:14:11 PM EST
    the whole article about McCain's speech.  He used the exact same words that Obama used during the primaries when asked about Affirmative Action.  Obama said that he would not support Affirmative Action based on race because he believed the U. S. should provide opportunity to all Americans, that all children should have a quality education and all adults should have job opportunities.  He said in his Great Race Speech that whites are resentful of Affirmative Action so he thinks it should be dismantled.

    Today he is slamming John McCain for making the same statement.  Hypocrisy, thy name is Obama.  

    I actually think McCain's statement shows real leadership because he made this speech before a group of Hispanic businessmen.  He told them a hard reality even though he might lose their votes.  This is the very thing American politicians seem incapable of nowadays:  speaking hard realities that are the truth.

    This looks like a pander to me... (none / 0) (#6)
    by kredwyn on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 09:24:45 AM EST

    Well, (none / 0) (#8)
    by dk on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 09:28:19 AM EST
    I personally think that McCain's switch to supporting state ballot initiatives is less about him turning to the extreme right as it is giving an endorsement to mob rule (which, IMHO, is what state initiatives represent regardless of the issue to be voted on).

    And, I hate to do a "but, but, Obama" here, but since BTD brought Obama's reaction to McCain's position into his main post, it seems appropriate.  Hasn't Obama been slippery on affirmative action?  I mean, to some audiences he said flatly that he supports it, but then he always puts in the caveat about "quotas," and then sometimes he seems to indicate it may be more appropriate to offer class-based preferences as opposed to race-based prefences.  Frankly, they both pander on the issue to avoid making tough decisions on a tough subject.

    No he has not been slippery on AA (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 09:38:59 AM EST
    He has been quite clear on Affirmative Action.

    Yesterday Obama said (5.00 / 2) (#20)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 09:44:09 AM EST
    I am a strong supporter of affirmative action when properly structured so there it is not a quota, but it is acknowledging and taking into account some of the hardships and difficulties that communities of color may have experienced, continue to experience, and it also speaks to the value of diversity in all walks of American life," he said.

    "I've also said that affirmative action is not going to be the long-term solution to the problems of race in America, because, frankly, if you've got 50 percent of African-American or Latino kids dropping out of high school, it doesn't really matter what you do in terms of affirmative action. Those kids aren't going to college."

    People are going (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by pie on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 09:48:54 AM EST
    to call it a quota. Those who are eliminated are going to feel that they were treated unfairly.

    I don't know how it could be "properly structured" to avoid that.  


    People have been calling it a quota (5.00 / 1) (#32)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 09:51:28 AM EST
    Since Bakke. Are you new to this issue?

    No. (none / 0) (#39)
    by pie on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 09:56:10 AM EST
    I'm saying that they will continue to do so, despite what Obama says.  

    I have no problem with affirmatve action.  But, obviously, it needs some mending, as Steve M says, if it is to be less controversial.


    Of course they will and have (5.00 / 1) (#49)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 10:03:08 AM EST
    what is your point? You think Obama thinks he can stop them? You think Clinton thought so?

    all right, I am done eith this thread.

    Continue with the mindless Obama bashing on this issue even though it is McCain who opposes all affirmative action in a complete flip flop.

    Let the Obama hate be the way for the discussion for some of you.

    I am done with it.


    Um. (none / 0) (#54)
    by pie on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 10:08:42 AM EST
    I am not bashing him or even criticizing him.  And I welcome a continuance of this program, but the rhetoric/qualifications will have to change.  I'm sure the same people can benefit.

    Affirmative action (5.00 / 1) (#125)
    by MichaelGale on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 12:50:45 PM EST
    includes women.  If it were not for Affirmative Action, there would be a different tapestry with women and employment, education, sports, religion, and choice.

    That's what I was going to say (5.00 / 1) (#135)
    by splashy on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 01:38:01 PM EST
    In fact, I bet more women have benefited from it than blacks, when you include women of all racial groups.

    So, if you are against affirmative action, you are not only trying to keep minorities down, you are also trying to keep women down.

    Oh, and recently, affirmative action has been used to justify helping white males get into college, since there has been an overbalance toward females lately.

    It really is a good thing, for everyone!


    I agree with Obama's statement (5.00 / 1) (#70)
    by stxabuela on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 10:30:26 AM EST
    Especially his statement that the problems begin long before college and job searches.  

    When college tuition costs are skyrocketing while Pell Grants are decreasing, even affirmative action won't help a lot of kids.  Locally, we have a Collegiate High School funded by the Gates Foundation, in partnership with Del Mar College.  High school students who complete the program graduate with both a HS diploma and an associate's degree.  Unfortunately, the program lacks extra-curricular activities like athletics or band/orchestra, and some students are not willing to give those up.  I wish there was some way to offer a program like this at every high school.  


    RE 'collegiate high school' (none / 0) (#103)
    by oldpro on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 11:27:46 AM EST
    Sopme states, including mine (WA) have that program statewide for all students in all schools who want it...called Running Start.  Kids can go full time (earn an AA degree and graduate high school at the same time!) or part time and earn college credits.

    Essentially, it's free public college education for two years.  One of the best deals ever made.


    Obama is correct. (4.00 / 1) (#104)
    by oldpro on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 11:34:09 AM EST
    Affirmative action can't be 'the long-term solution to the problems of race in America' any more than it can be the solution to long-term problems of sexism in America.

    We saw that revealed in this primary season.  Yet, affirmative action benefited women (white AND black and hispanic and asian, etc.) more than any other defined group/classification.  

    It didn't solve the more basic problem...it only solved access to certain professions in certain schools and in public employment.  Made a small dent in private employment.  Made a backlash in the treatment of women in some venues.


    Well, I guess we can (none / 0) (#22)
    by dk on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 09:47:16 AM EST
    agree to disagree on how "clear" that is.  I think he left enough loopholes in their to drive a mack truck through the clarity.

    And nowhere in that particular response is the additional nuance he brings to his answers when the discussion turns to class-based discrimination.


    That's ridiculous (5.00 / 2) (#30)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 09:50:58 AM EST
    It is affirmative action as currently constituted.

    Let me ask you this, do you think Bill Clinton was unclear on affirmative action?

    I tell you who was prefectly clear - john McCain opposes ALL affirmative action in any way, shape or form.

    but you like that. you have not a word to say about it.

    At this point, a lot of you are so blind with Obama hatred, that you have nothing to add to any discussion.


    BTD, you've spoken eloquently ... (none / 0) (#69)
    by Robot Porter on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 10:28:58 AM EST
    about how Obama needs his feet held to the fire on many issues.

    I think many feel Affirmative Action is one of those issues.

    No "hatred" of Obama is required to have a problem with his stand on a single issue.


    I think I get it now (none / 0) (#38)
    by Melchizedek on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 09:55:47 AM EST
    For some commenters here, when a Clinton takes a nuanced position it's called being "tough" "pragmatic," an attempt to "get things done," to "work with those across the aisle." Otherwise, someone is being "spongy" and using "loopholes."
    Non-nuanced affirmative action elects Republicans-- I'd rather it develop than be wiped away entirely.

    It seems as though... (none / 0) (#34)
    by kredwyn on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 09:53:19 AM EST
    he's taken a two-sided approach to the issue in the past:  
    George Stephanopoulos asked Obama if his daughters should be able to benefit from affirmative action when the time comes for them to go to college. The girls "should probably be treated by any admissions officer as folks who are pretty advantaged," Obama said.

    Stephanopoulos was driving at the question of whether race-based affirmative action programs are still needed. Another way to frame the issue is whether race or class is the more important factor in our society. Are minorities raised in middle-class or wealthy homes still held back by racism? Or should we now focus on socioeconomic status as the principal barrier keeping people from reaching their potential?

    Obama's answer, basically, was yes. To both questions.

    Obama has repeatedly gone on record as a supporter of affirmative action. But "if we have done what needs to be done to ensure that kids who are qualified to go to college can afford it," he said in the ABC interview, then "affirmative action becomes a diminishing tool for us to achieve racial equality in this society."

    He seemed to side with those who think class predominates when he said, "I think that we should take into account white kids who have been disadvantaged and have grown up in poverty and shown themselves to have what it takes to succeed."

    No (5.00 / 1) (#40)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 09:56:14 AM EST
    he is talking about including class based concerns.

    The Obamas are well of now. But they are also black.

    It is possible to be advantaged and disadvantaged in different ways.

    This is actually a pretty straight forward discussion and folks who have followed the debate understand perfectly what Obama is saying.

    On this issue he is crystal clear.


    So you say... (5.00 / 1) (#50)
    by kredwyn on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 10:03:25 AM EST
    But class situations rarely show up in these discussions in the hiring committees I've served on.

    Nor is there a place to check for class status on the various and sundry cards I've had to fill out as part of the application process for jobs.


    One way to do it (4.00 / 1) (#61)
    by CST on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 10:14:35 AM EST
    I used to work in admissions for a university.  The way they did it there, minority applications were flagged, but so were people from "unusual backgrounds" (that is, unusual for the school).  For example, if a student was from Wyoming, and one of the comments might be "we don't have any students from Wyoming" - and that person would have a much more favorable review than someone with the same record from say, Westchester.  In that way, a lot of students from rural places with fewer opportunities for advancement were cut some slack on their lack of A.P. exams, for example.  This isn't exactly "class based", but it is "opportunity based" affirmative action you might say.

    Although there is a lot more freedom in universities due to the broad nature of the application than there is in the private sector.


    read the comment again... (none / 0) (#68)
    by kredwyn on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 10:28:19 AM EST
    departmental hiring committees are not connected to Admissions.

    Apparently, (none / 0) (#19)
    by pie on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 09:39:37 AM EST
    not that clear.

    when people want to act as if it is not clear (5.00 / 2) (#21)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 09:45:32 AM EST
    then they will write anything. Too many commenters here are now in that mode.

    I am not shy about criticizing Barack Obama. But I criticize him for things he says and does, not things I want to imagine being true.

    What some are doing now is destroying the discourse here.


    Not muddy, but room for interpretation (none / 0) (#48)
    by samanthasmom on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 10:02:53 AM EST
    On the one hand he has said this,

    Asked if his young children would be candidates for affirmative action when they reach college, Obama said their middle-class upbringing should disqualify them.

    "I think that my daughters should probably be treated by any [college] admissions officer as folks who are pretty advantaged," Obama said in an interview with ABC News. "We should take into account white kids who have been disadvantaged and have grown up in poverty and shown themselves to have what it takes to succeed."

    On the other hand, he has said this,

    In response to a Globe request for comment, Obama's campaign issued a statement by him that said affirmative action programs, when properly structured, "can open up opportunities otherwise closed to qualified minorities" without harming whites. Yet, "we shouldn't ignore that race continues to matter" in American society, Obama said; to suggest otherwise "turns a blind eye to both our history and our experience - and relieves us of the responsibility to make things right."

    One statement does not negate the other, but it does support the claim that Obama is open to affirmative action based on class as well as race.


    well BTD, (none / 0) (#36)
    by cpinva on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 09:54:59 AM EST
    He never said that

    that's kind of the problem with sen. obama, no one's ever quite certain exactly what it was that he said, about damn near anything.

    no doubt, sen. mccain is running just as fast as he can, with no cover, to the extreme right-wing of the the republican party. that's kind of a given. so what else is new?

    what i read, was that sen. obama is against "quotas". his vision of affirmative action would include race and gender as factors in the selection process (whatever that process might pertain to), but not to the extent that slots were specifically set aside for minorities and women, solely on those basis alone.

    anyhow, that's what i read.

    Nope (5.00 / 1) (#43)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 09:58:08 AM EST
    I follow this issue closely and I understand his position perfectly.

    He is arguing that there are a number of ways of being disadvantaged - not just race, but also class (income).

    If anything, Obama is taking an extremely progressive position on AA, including both race and income level as legitimate concerns for affirmative action.

    He is not only right, it is a very defensible position politically.


    If you introduce class ... (none / 0) (#84)
    by Robot Porter on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 11:00:15 AM EST
    into the equation the number of African Americans that benefit will substantially decrease.

    This will result in a de facto end of Affirmative Action.

    The only way to introduce class equitably into university admissions, for example, would be to decrease the advantages that wealthier applicants have.

    Some universities have already begun to attack the problem this way.


    Not necessarily (none / 0) (#105)
    by oldpro on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 11:40:47 AM EST
    the only way...

    "The only way to introduce class equitably into university admissions, for example, would be to decrease the advantages that wealthier applicants have."

    Another way is to expand access by increasing the actual numbers admitted to the school/college/university/department, etc.

    Yes.  Some have already begun to attack the problem by using class as modifier in admissions.


    True ... (none / 0) (#138)
    by Robot Porter on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 02:02:21 PM EST
    but a lot of colleges and universities can't do that.

    And Obama hasn't suggested helping them do that to deal with the inherent flaw in introducing class to the equation.

    But you struck on the key point.  It's all about slots.  Expanding the opportunities to non-minorities decreases the opportunities for minorities if the number of slots remain the same.


    he is also trying (none / 0) (#37)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 09:55:44 AM EST
    to Solomonicly split the baby on Gay Adoptions.

    BTD May Be Surprised... (none / 0) (#62)
    by bmc on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 10:14:53 AM EST
    Well, after reading through the comments and BTD's responses to them, it's pretty clear that BTD firmly upholds his view that Obama is clear on his support for Affirmative Action, and thinks Obama's been consistent in his statements about it.

    Maybe so. But, Obama has not been consistent on most things; he's changed his positions on issues many times, on that I think BTD would agree. So, whatever Obama's position on Affirmative Action now, it could be different at some future point.

    I am inclined to think that affirmative action is good in the sense that it includes race, gender, and economic hardships as part of a comprehensive qualifying assessment for college admissions or employment. For example, some positions give preferential consideration to applicants who are female, minority, or veterans.

    No one is talking here in this discussion about affirmative action for veterans. As a veteran myself, I consider that a true need, particularly now, since many veterans are having a difficult time finding employment in the current economy. I personally believe that status as a veteran should override any racial, economic, or gender status too. That may offend some progressives.

    Any thoughts on that?

    In the past (none / 0) (#106)
    by oldpro on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 11:45:35 AM EST
    since the GI Bill following WWII, there have been many areas where veterans' preferences applied...from college entry to job placement...particularly in public employment.  It had the effect of granting, as I recall, 2 years 'experience' on the salary scale...so there was an economic benefit as well.

    Dunno if any of that has gone away with Republican rule.  I tend to doubt it.