Saturday, February 05, 2022

Affirmative Action, Not Affirmative Action

Let's be honest. A few days ago, NBC News reported

Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., compared President Joe Biden’s pledge to nominate a Black woman to the Supreme Court to affirmative action, prompting the White House to defend Biden’s move as building on past presidential promises that elevated women to the high court.

In an interview on a local radio show, the senator was asked if Biden was demeaning his future nominee’s qualifications by using race or gender as a criteria.

“The irony is the Supreme Court, at the very same time, is hearing cases about this sort of affirmative racial discrimination and while adding someone who is the beneficiary of this sort of quota," he said on "The Paul Gallo Show.” “The majority of the court might be saying, writ large, it’s unconstitutional. We’ll see how that irony works out."

“I’ll guarantee you this, Paul. This new justice will probably not get a single Republican vote," Wicker added.

I don't think he meant "irony." It might be "because" or more likely "coincidentally." Instead, irony would be were I to criticize a United States Senator because he uses (incorrectly) one of my favorite words.

Nonetheless, if President Biden's nominee, a black woman, fails to get a single Republican vote, it will not be because of her race or gender.

Wicker is being disingenuous. The irony is that Emma Vigeland, co-host/second banana on Sam Seder's The Majority Report (video below), also is being disingenuous in criticizing the Senator.  On Biden's three-woman shortlist is J. Michelle Childs, a former corporate lawyer being promoted by House Majority Whip and kingmaker Jim Clyburn, and Vigeland usefully points out

I don't know if that's in representing companies who were the subject of discrimination complaints, not the people making the discrimination complaints. And so the left and the people who are actually talking about these three candidates who are mostly being discussed. Unlike what the right tries to portray, we are actually talking about, the substance of their qualifications. But they want to pretend that that's not the case because it's an easy straw man and it's an easy way to drum up racial resentment.

It is an easy way to drum up racial resentment, though partisanship is far more critical to GOP opposition than is race. However, is dismissive about victims of employment discrimination, adding

If you got a job or you lost a job as a white person and you feel like it's, oh, because my company has to make these racial quotas, etc. That's easy chum for them because there's no obscure way they can say this is too close to an election. I mean, this is what they've settled on.

This is not what they've settled on. I don't know what Judiciary Committee Republicans will settle on, but it won't be affirmative action. And that's only in part because it accounts for the nomination, thus eventual approval, of Amy Coney Barrett (gender), Clarence Thomas (race), and Sandra Day O'Connor (gender). "There's no obscure way," Vigeland says, that the GOP can pull up the Merrick Garland dodge because it's not close to an election. Nor can the Party claim that Biden has resorted to "affirmative action" without making the issue explicitly about race.

No, Republicans will make some other charge the centerpiece of their campaign.  And they will do so even though Joe Biden already has done his best to make race the central issue

Let's be fair- and honest. It was former vice-president Joe Biden, campaigning for the Democratic nomination for President, who privately promised South Carolina's Clyburn that his nomination for the first vacancy on the Supreme Court would be a black woman. It was Biden who was reminded by Clyburn backstage during intermission of a debate before the South Carolina primary of the promise. It was the Delawarean who the next day was endorsed by Clyburn, who then swept to victory in the primary and went on to sweep away and all challengers on his way to the nomination. 

It was Joe Biden and Joe Biden alone who made race the primary. gender the secondary, issue in the Supreme Court selection.  Having made that promise, he will properly nominate a black woman for the tenured, extraordinarily desirable position. She will be very well qualified because there are  many black women who are. In all likelihood, she will be relatively young (as is necessary) and probably will help rectify the ideological imbalance of the Court. 

It was Joe Biden who, dead in the water before South Carolina, decided to exploit the racial divide already promoted by the Republican Party, the entertainment industry, and others.  Youth and health, principles and beliefs are far more crucial than race or gender to the effort to maintain the republic and promote laws and policies which will benefit the nation.  Republicans realize that, and that is what they most despise.


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