Friday, June 29, 2007

Trusting the Electorate

Two big news stories today in the Boston Globe:

On the Supreme Court decision the Globe’s story quotes the Chief Justice:

"To the extent the objective is sufficient diversity so that students see fellow students as individuals rather than solely as members of a racial group, using means that treat students solely as members of a racial group is fundamentally at cross-purposes with that end"

The Globe news story ignores Roberts’ summary line, but the Boston Globe editorial board cannot:

"The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race," Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the 5-to-4 decision.

This is a pithy slogan, but a gross oversimplification that ignores social reality.

No. It is a behavioral prescription, endorsed by law.

Conservatives should be grateful that Harriet Miers did not have a vote in this decision. And speaking of foolish politics, I wonder if Andrew Card also managed the Bush administration strategy on immigration? Yesterday that plan went down in flames on the Senate floor. The Globe’s coverage is humorous. Susan Milligan writes:

Some lawmakers said yesterday's vote is another example of the demise of bipartisanship, an old Senate tradition in which lawmakers from both sides hunker down to work out a solution to a major issue…

But Senate Republicans were split and 15 senate Democrats (plus Vermont Socialist Bernie Sanders) also voted against the bill. As Milligan later reports:

Ultimately, a majority of lawmakers in both parties decided to kill a proposal that had been picked apart by interest groups across the political spectrum.

The bill was rejected by a majority of both parties? How could a Senate vote be more bi-partisan than that? As the story reports:

…the White House and lawmakers in both parties crafted during months of excruciating negotiations

These negotiations were kept as private as the 1993 formulation of Hillary Clinton’s health care. In both cases disregard for the value of public debate undermined voter confidence in the bill. The effective meaning of the “bi-partisanship” alluded to earlier is legislation without public discussion. That behavior may be necessary and is fully democratic when performed by elected representatives, but the cost is low public confidence in the product.


Dean Barnett has a choice comment on the losers he calls THE IMMIGRATION BILL WATER-CARRIERS:

Lindsey Graham’s approval ratings in South Carolina have dipped to 31% because of his obnoxious antics while supporting this bill. Trent Lott has made himself a national laughingstock. Again. I know – dog bites man...

I’ll even make a bold prediction: Reading the writing on the wall, Senator Graham will decide that K Street beckons and remove himself from public life before his constituents do the deed for him. As for Trent Lott, how many opportunities should this guy get to embarrass himself and the party as a leader of the caucus?

Senators like Trent Lott, Lindsey Graham, Arlen Specter, and of course John McCain, are embarrassing enough to drive registered Republicans into the closet.

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