Thursday, April 17, 2008
I Knew That! Several journalists have emailed me questioning whether Obama's answer on affirmative action last night represented any sort of new position, given that he'd suggested a year ago on ABC's This Weekthat his daughters "probably" shouldn't benefit from race preferences. See update below for why I think last night's statement was a significant strengthening of his position, and potentially a big deal. ... I will now go check the Web to see if he's backtracked yet. ... [You're getting zero pickup on this. You seem to be the only person on the planet who thinks it was significant.--ed The official post-debate story line, laid down by The Curve himself, has to do with ABC's negative questions and Obama's reaction to them. Fair enough. The MSM isn't thinking about affirmative action and doesn't want to think about affirmative action. That doesn't mean it's not significant. Check back in a couple of months.] 5:23 P.M.
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Note to HuffPo: "Screw 'em. You don't owe them a thing" isn't condescending! It's not friendly, but it's something you say about opponents who are social equals. ... 'There, there, you poor people cling to God to explain your frustrations'--that's a violation of social equality. ... Backfill: Allahpundit made this point at 4:30. ... Maguire notes that Hillary was saying 'screw 'em' this in defense of traditional liberal policies (which were said to be alienating "Reagan Democrats.") But I don't see why that makes it different from Obama's comment. Obama is advocating traditional liberal policies too. ... P.S.: The full passage isstill a timely reminder of what a rebuke the 1994 election was to Hillary's disastrous pursuit of health care reform before welfare reform. As David Plouffe would say, experience does not necessarily equal judgment. ... 9:10 P.M.
Philly Debate watching--Pivot Now! Am I crazy or has Obama just opened up a potentially huge Pivot Possibility on affirmative action? His proposal: Allow individualized consideration of "hardship," with overcoming race discrimination being one of the possible hardships that you get points for overcoming.. ... The problem, I suspect, is that this interesting intermediate position (between banning any consideration of race and having race be an automatic plus factor) would, if honestly applied, exclude a huge portion of the current beneficiaries of race preferences (who tend to be the sort of affluent African Americans who, like Obama's daughters, have a more difficult time making an individual "hardship" case). Will Obama now be denounced by the civil rights establishment? Will that help him in Pennsylvania? It would certainly get rid of the Cling. ... Developing! ... Rick Kahlenberg, you're up! ... Note: I think last night's statement adds to what Obama has said before. See below.
P.S.: Aside from that, I thought Obama got the worse of it in the debate. He was on the defensive, and non-inspiring. Hillary was fairly palatable,** despite a few rough moments. ... I have no criticism of Gibson or Stephanopoulos. A relentless focus on negative character attacks can be revealing--and it was. That's especially true in this campaign, where the actual policy differences between the candidates have been small and often tedious. ...
Update: Here's a transcript of what Obama said about race preferences [E.A.]:
And race is still a factor in our society. And I think that for universities and other institutions to say, you know, we're going to take into account the hardships that somebody has experienced because they're black or Latino or because they're women --
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: Even if they're wealthy?
SENATOR OBAMA: I think that's something that they can take into account, but it can only be in the context of looking at the whole situation of the young person. So if they look at my child and they say, you know, Malia and Sasha, they've had a pretty good deal, then that shouldn't be factored in. On the other hand, if there's a young white person who has been working hard, struggling, and has overcome great odds, that's something that should be taken into account.
So I still believe in affirmative action as a means of overcoming both historic and potentially current discrimination, but I think that it can't be a quota system and it can't be something that is simply applied without looking at the whole person, whether that person is black or white or Hispanic, male or female.
What we want to do is make sure that people who have been locked out of opportunity are going to be able to walk through those doors of opportunity in the future.