Obama abandoning affirmative action?

A mostly political Weblog.
May 14 2007 7:37 PM

First Alterman, Then Obama!

The end of affirmative action, continued.

Dispute Resolution: It's left vs. right on Barack Obama's alleged "45 m.p.g." mistake. ... Winner: It looks like the left is right. Obama was pretty clearly referring to m.p.g. averages in Japan, not average m.p.g. of Japanese cars sold in the U.S.. ... Emotion: Relief that Obama's not as not ready for prime time as initial accounts had it. .. [via RCP's handy new blogfight page ] 4:19 P.M.

Hagel Incoherence Watch: From Face the Nation ...

I am not happy with the Republican Party today," Hagel said. "It's been hijacked by a group of single-minded almost isolationists, insulationists, power-projectors."

Isolationists? Bush? Iraq? If the isolationists had hijacked the Republican Party we wouldn't be in this mess. ... Is Hagel just instinctively, mindlessly hitting the Sunday-morning MSM's erogenous zones (i.e., it's not respectable to be an "isolationist"). That's what he seems to do for a living. ... Update: Rich Lowry and his readers try to make sense of Hagel. It may be beyond the massively networked power of the Web. ... 12:11 P.M.

Matt Yglesias suspects"the whippersnapper window is closing." After Ezra Klein they pull up the drawbridge. Yikes. ...  Can't they wait until the new generation of post-Bush, anti-Kos neolibroots rebels comes online? These people are, like, only 12 at the moment. ... 11:43 A.M.

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The End of Affirmative Action--First Alterman, Now Obama? Even Barack Obama, under pressure from George Stephanopoulos, seemed to be abandoning the affirmative action idea and shifting toward embracing a class-based preference system, notes Roger Clegg. ... This is more than a potential 'Sister Souljah moment' for Obama. Obama would not be showing that he can reject the more extreme, wacky positions of his party's component interest groups. He'd be showing he's rejecting what has been a central and widely accepted demand of an interest group with which he is inevitably identified.  He's not quite there yet--and maybe he'll have to backtrack after his ABC This Week comments--but he's at least on the verge of giving voters not merely a reason to not oppose him, but a big reason to support him--the prospect that President Obama will end race preferences and the long, divisive debate they generate. Hillary cannot make that promise. Her husband famously balked at making exactly the shift--from race to class--that Obama seemed to endorse. And even if Hillary made that leap, she couldn't shift African-American opinion away from race preferences the way a black president could shift African-American opinion. She can't put the issue to rest. Obama can. ... P.S.: I blame Jennifer Gratz. Michigan's  stunning 2006 anti-preference vote  is still resonating. Pols paid attention even if the press didn't. ...

Update: Jonathan Chait  suggests Obama's shift towards class-based preferences is itself a class-based appeal. ... See also Yglesias. 10:32 A.M. link

"Any Weapon to Hand": Some readers have asked for a definition of that phrase when I've applied it to my excitable former boss. It means using any rhetorical trick, including trumped up outrage, to bash your opponent even if you are going to take a contradictory position when it helps bash whoever is your opponent a couple of months later. Example!

March 9, 2007:Andrew Sullivan condemns my use of the word "wussy," featuring a quote from a reader who argues

"The misogyny behind it - as behind so much homophobia - is pretty clear."

May 9, 2007: Sullivan questions  why gun owners might not want their names published.

"Glenn Reynolds argues that the important thing is keeping people guessing about who has a gun or not. Fair enough. But I'm not that impressed by wusses who don't want to be ostracized by liberal elites at their neighborhood barbecues." [E.A.]

(Thanks to alert reader R.W., who argues the two month lag "before assuming the opposite position" actually represents a slowing of Sullivan's cycle of righteous self-contradiction.)

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