Thursday, May 29, 2003
NRO's all excited about black conservatives: Deroy Murdock is stumping for Herman Cain to run for the Senate from Georgia, and Jay Nordlinger is all for Chief Justice Thomas should Rhenquist retire (something I suggested was both likely and logical some months ago).
But both authors - and conservatives generally - seem a bit embarrassed to be pushing a candidate for office in part because the candidate is black. They seem to think it violates their race-blind principles. Well, it doesn't.
This is politics. People are not chosen for political offices, elective or appointed, because they are "most qualified" in some sense that excludes their political effectiveness. They are chosen in part, and sometimes primarily, for their qualifications in that area alone. And it's crazy to say that race is not relevant in politics. Politicians balance all sorts of different interest groups - geographic, economic, religious, ideological, etc. Why are racial and ethnic groups different? Why is it OK to pick a guy with 1000 on his SATs who's close to the unions to run the Department of Labor but not OK to pick someone black for this or that post to make a political point? That's what politics is about!
The problem with affirmative action is that it injects politics (by Federal fiat) into every private decision by an employer or school. But it's pretty silly to complain about injecting politics into . . . politics.
So don't be ashamed. Let Bush appoint the first black Supreme Court Chief Justice. Heck, let him talk Alan Greenspan into retiring so he can appoint Roger Ferguson to be the first black Fed chief. And, having appointed blacks to two of the most powerful appointed positions in the nation - positions, moreover, that are relatively insulated from political interference, and hence more powerful - then let's see how race plays out in the '04 elections.