Bill Frist is a nightmare for the Democrats, but that won’t stop them from pounding away on the race issue for the next two years, with plenty of help from the mainstream media. This could be an endless thorn in the Republicans’ side, but it could also be an opportunity, if it finally leads the party to take an unequivocal, principled stand on the issue. If the Republicans will simply declare that the government should never discriminate against any of its citizens on the basis of race, they can turn the issue around very quickly. This anti-affirmative action position is morally right, represents sound public policy, and is popular with a large majority of the American people. If the Republicans take a principled stand, they can put the pressure where it belongs, on the Democrats, who would then have to argue in favor of affirmative action, instead of simply denouncing everyone who opposes it as a racist. If the Democrats have to actually sell the argument that opposing race discrimination makes one a racist, they will lose.
Why don’t the Republicans do this? Certainly not for fear of losing black votes; they can’t do much worse, and taking a principled anti-discrimination stand would, in my opinion, allow them to do better. I think they are deterred more by the popularity of affirmative action in the business world. Big business is heavily committed to affirmative action, and would resent any effort by the Republicans to point out the immorality of this near-universal practice. Some older Republicans may also be deterred by a residual sense of guilt that afflicts both Republicans and Democrats of a certain age. If so, they need to get over it. Black Americans are perfectly competent to compete with Americans of other races, and patronizing them helps no one. On the contrary, it has introduced a corrosive, divisive element into our society that now represents our biggest domestic problem. If the Lott fiasco leads Republicans to finally take a principled stand opposing all race discrimination, it will be a great blessing not only to the Republican Party, but to America.
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“Arise and take our stand for freedom as in the olden time.” Winston Churchill
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