Monday, October 31, 2005

Bush, Miers, Affirmative Action

Of course President Bush doesn't like affirmative action. He, and many conservatives, consider affirmative action to be a quota system in which underqualified people get jobs they can't handle over more qualified candidates who have the misfortune of being white and male.

(Sarahlynn's snide aside: gee, that sound similar to another way that poorly qualified people get jobs they can't handle - cronyism.)

And you know what? He's almost right. Nowhere is Bush's version of "affirmative action" more obvious than with his nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court. If you nominate a candidate who is less qualified than other candidates just because she's of the appropriate race or gender, well, that insures that indeed "affirmative action" just sucks.

It also makes everyone else in the under-represented group look bad, as if this candidate is the best we have to offer.

Miers has not demonstrated the intellect or experience for the job. I'm not suggesting that she's unintelligent or lazy; she has achieved some pretty impressive milestones. But many of her biggest gains have been through "who you know" kinds of appointments rather that "what you know" appointments.

Just contrast her record with Roberts'. It's embarrassing.

I'm glad that she withdrew her nomination. More, I wish it had never happened. By nominating Miers, Bush made it look like there are no women who really have what it takes to be Supreme Court Justices, paving the way for his nomination of Samuel Alito Jr.

This year, with O'Connor's retirement and Miers' failed nomination, women took a big step backwards. So did affirmative action, which really is important and really does work, when it's understood and administered properly.

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