Patterico's Pontifications


John McCain on Affirmative Action (Updated)

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 2:24 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

ABC reports that, in an interview on “This Week With George Stephanopoulos,” John McCain “reversed himself on affirmative action” when he expressed support for a referendum that would end race and gender-based affirmative action in Arizona. ABC noted that McCain has long opposed quotas but points to McCain’s 1998 statements that ending affirmative action would be “divisive” as evidence that he has reversed his position.

Meanwhile, the AP described McCain’s position on affirmative action in a different way:

“Presidential challenger John McCain said Sunday that he supports a proposed ballot initiative in his home state that would prohibit affirmative action policies from state and local governments. A decade ago, he called a similar effort “divisive.”

Over the years, McCain has consistently voiced his opposition to hiring quotas based on race. He has supported affirmative action in limited cases. For example, he voted to maintain a program that encourages the awarding of 10 percent of spending on highway construction to women and minorities.”

I think it’s fair to question McCain about whether he’s changed his position, and it’s equally fair for McCain to point out that he supported targeted programs and that a lot can happen in 10 years. After all, in 2003, even the Supreme Court set what sounds like a 25-year deadline on the need for affirmative action.

UPDATE 7/27/2008 @ 2:35 PM PST – CNN’s Political Ticker has a swift response from Obama and Al Sharpton:

“Obama told attendees to the Unity conference that he was “disappointed… that John McCain flipped and changed his position. I think in the past he had been opposed to these kinds of… initiatives as divisive. And I think he’s right.”

Civil rights leader Al Sharpton, a prominent Obama supporter, issued a statement accusing McCain of having made “a stunning reversal on his respectable record on affirmative action.”


13 Responses to “John McCain on Affirmative Action (Updated)”

  1. Let me see if I understand this:

    The mainstream media is trying to tag McCain as a flip-flopper on issues?

    Truly? And if they are doing this because Obama flip-flops like nobody’s business, then it had better be okay when McCain does it.

    Unless this is just an attempt by the MSM to influence elections….


    Eric Blair (2708f4)

  2. If McCain is moving, he is moving in the right direction, in terms of both policy and politics.

    I hope the Obama crowd shouts out very loud about what a wonderful thing racial preferences are.

    NCC (d671ab)

  3. Obama cannot flip flop. He does not actually mean any position he takes beyond the moment he says it.

    JD (5f0e11)

  4. Of course it’s divisive. But do you know what’s even more divisive? Handing out jobs and enrollments based on an applicant’s race.

    If Obama was a “unifier”, he would support an end to Affirmative Action. Of course, Obama isn’t what he pretends to be…

    Roy Mustang (989b48)

  5. Anyone who thinks affirmative action, ie.”quotas”, is a good thing thing should be required to read all of the lunatic rants by Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post.

    PhuBaiPhat (ee5690)

  6. If McCain would just remain silent he would discover that, in the long run, Obama is the greatest asset his campaign has.

    huey (917cf7)

  7. Affirmative action = racism to the max and anyone who supports the program funded by the working class is a racist. If after years of desegrated schools you can’t compete on an equal basis you are simply stupid and no amount of financial help will help you. Look at Hussein O, years of affirmative action schooling and he knows less about America and the world than most 4th grade students. All he knows is if he doesn’t get his way or someone tells him no, scream racism.

    Scrapiron (c36902)

  8. Flip flop away. If that’s the case. I distinguish flip flops that solidify the base from those that attract the middle. In the case of the former, they’re good for unity of party and those voters are not about to vote for the other candidate. McCain has done so on taxes and now, apparently, this. In the case of the latter, the candidate is pandering for new voters. Obama started out so far left that every flip has been to get new voters in the middle. The question for those voter is whether he’s lying. So far, McCain has flipped to the middle on only offshore drilling, but with such a dramatic change in facts, the that flip can be justified–70% of the country wants it and Obama is just pissed that he’s stuck with the hard left’s obsession with tree hugging.

    For someone–especially a white politician–who’s been around as long as McCain, changing positions over a career sounds fine to me. Unlike, say, abortion, nobody has been losing a life.

    In the case of affirmative action, it may have assuaged white guilt for a decade, two, or three after the 1960s, but enough is enough. Let’s get back to principles of the best person for the position or whatever. If Sharpton and Obama want to complain, so long as McCain is sincere, they can go complain to blacks and those whites suffering from white guilt.

    Next issue.

    SAM (c36902)

  9. Obama: “I think in the past he had been opposed to these kinds of… initiatives as divisive. And I think he’s right.”

    — An initiative that ensures there will be no government mandated divisiveness is itself divisive?

    Icy Truth (9cedd0)

  10. #7, 8, 9 good posts.

    #2 and 4 bring out the total lunacy of this supposedly post-racial candidate:

    I hope the Obama crowd shouts out very loud about what a wonderful thing racial preferences are.

    If Obama was a “unifier”, he would support an end to Affirmative Action. Of course, Obama isn’t what he pretends to be…

    Vermont Neighbor (31ccb6)

  11. Affirmative action – the solution to racial discrimination is more racial discrimination.

    I’d like to propose a political theorem: On any issue, Al Sharpton’s / Jesse Jackson’s level of opposition is inversely proportional to the wisdom of the other side.

    Justin (747191)

  12. John McCain supported affirmative action as practiced by the American military in April 2008:

    Then, he called the American military “America’s greatest equal opportunity employer.” Today, he’s announced support of an amendment that would ban the exact strategies the military uses in Arizona.

    He’s tried to ride the fence (incidentally, Obama has too) of saying he’s against quotas but in favor of affirmative action — now he’s against any affirmative action program that takes race into account for hiring, admissions, etc. It’s a complete reversal and he can’t be allowed to get away with saying otherwise.

    AlchemyToday (934198)

    Minority groups demand special treatment, but Equality should be equal for all Americans. We should not provide favoritism for any specific group, but we should provide equal opportunities for all. When we provide affirmative action, it’s always at the cost of someone else. In addition, when we provide millions of illegal immigrants health, education, and other services, it puts a huge drain on American citizens. That’s why California is now proposing a drastic cut in salaries to state employees. For some time now, our public schools have dumbed down their instruction to all students, in order to accommodate students who can’t keep up. This has resulted in American students ranking around 17th in academics compared to kids in other countries. The trend by the left is political correctness, which means pandering to the lowest common denominator. This doesn’t bode well for the future of America.

    Gina (f14f31)

Powered by WordPress.

Page loaded in: 0.0734 secs.