Follow the bouncing double standards.
President George Bush nominates to the Supreme Court Clarence Thomas, a black man, formerly the head of the Equal Opportunity Commission. Because of Thomas' presumed opposition to affirmative action and abortion on demand, liberals like Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) oppose his nomination.
President-elect George W. Bush nominates Sen. John Ashcroft, D-Mo., for attorney general. Ashcroft's critics oppose the nomination, some calling Ashcroft racist for opposing the judicial nomination of Ronny White, a black nominee.
Moral to the story? Someone like Kennedy can, for ideological reasons, oppose the judicial nomination of a black. No one calls this bigotry. If, however, a conservative opposes a black jurist -- even for ideological reasons -- he metamorphoses into a Great White Bigot.
Next, pro-abortion forces attack Ashcroft for his "extremist views." That is, Ashcroft opposes abortion even in the cases of rape and incest. This is extremism? Assuming one adopts the pro-life position, why does it follow that compassion demands exceptions for rape or incest? Most pro-lifers believe in the supremacy of human life "whether born or unborn." After all, the fetus neither raped nor committed incest and thus remains, say pro-lifers, "innocent." Object with this view if you will, but "extremist" or "unreasonable"? Please.
Ashcroft's opponents say he cannot be trusted to uphold laws with which he personally disagrees. But before assuming office, Attorney General Janet Reno spoke out against the death penalty, dismissing it as an instrument for "vengeance." Yet as attorney general, Janet Reno enforced the government's pro-death-penalty position. Apparently, only liberals possess enough integrity to enforce laws with which they disagree.
Ashcroft's critics also feel uncomfortable about his religiosity. How do we know that Ashcroft's faith does not dictate policy? But apparently the same crowd found no problem with democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Lieberman's religiosity: "We need to reaffirm our faith and review the dedication of our nation and ourselves to God and Gpd's purposes. ... So let us break through some of the inhibitions that have existed to talk together across the flimsy line of separation of faith: to talk together, to study together, to pray together and ultimately to sing together his holy name."
Lieberman even based his support for prescription drugs for seniors on scripture, "Isn't Medicare coverage of prescription drugs really about the values of the Fifth Commandment -- 'Honor your father and your mother'?"
Where were the racism abolitionists during the confirmation hearings of former California State Sen. Dianne Watson, whom Clinton nominated for ambassador to Micronesia? Watson, a black woman, attacked Ward Connerly, a black man, and the moving force behind California Proposition 209, the successful ballot initiative to abolish race- and gender-based preferences in the public sector.
Connerly, who happens to be married to a white woman, received this verbal love-note from Watson: "He's married a white woman. He wants to be white. He wants a colorless society. He has no ethnic pride. He doesn't want to be black."
Foes attack Ashcroft for his opposition to affirmative action. Since when did opposition to affirmative action become synonymous with a charter membership in the Klan? In 1962, President John Kennedy addressed the question of preferential treatment for blacks.
"The Negro community," Kennedy said, "did not want job quotas to compensate for past discrimination. What I think they would like is to see their children well educated, so that they could hold jobs ... and have themselves accepted as equal members of the community. ... I don't think we can undo the past. In fact, the past is going to be with us for a good many years in uneducated men and women who missed their chance for a decent education. We have to do the best we can now. That is what we are trying to do."
Ashcroft appointed the first woman to the Supreme Court of Missouri and appointed the first black judge to serve on the Missouri court of appeals covering St. Louis. Of the 27 black judicial nominations considered by Sen. Ashcroft, he approved all but one.
"What can George W. Bush do to woo the black vote?" scream television pundits, newspaper articles and magazine features. After all, Bush received a smaller percentage of the black vote than did Bob Dole! But why don't we talk about what the Democratic Party's lack of "white vote" support? After all, not since 1964 has the Democratic candidate for president captured the "white vote."
In the 2000 presidential election, Republicans enjoyed a 24-point spread among white male voters and a 12-point margin among all white voters. One headline in a front-page story in a major city newspaper read, "Bush Has His Work Cut Out in Mending Ties With Blacks." So where's the article, "Dems Have Work Cut Out in Mending Ties With Whites"?
New year, new president, same old double standards.