Rocket Man, interesting speculation on why the Republicans don’t take a strong principled stand against racial preferences. I’m not convinced that they are deterred by big business. I don’t think the commitment of big business to affirmative action runs very deep, and I suspect that most business leaders would not react one way or the other to a strong Republican stance against preferences. Residual guilt may play a role, although there aren’t many Republican leaders left who have reason to feel direct guilt about America’s racist past. My guess is that Republicans are deterred by fear of being hammered by the media as racists. Recall the backlash against Lee Atwater for the Willie Horton ad in 1988. A few years later, Jesse Helms ran a powerful ad depicting the effects of racial preferences on whites that received similar rebuke. Jesse could take it, but not many politicians can. Nor, I suspect, do they perceive the need to. Republicans probably feel they can count on the votes of those who oppose racial preferences for minorities without taking a public position, and thus without receiving public condemnation, on the issue.
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