Politico: Affirmative action change under Obama?


Affirmative action change under Obama?

Among the California voters suffused with hope at the prospect of the election of Barack Obama is one Ward Connerly. 

He supports Senator John McCain out of small-government principle, but on the cause for which Connerly is best known—the drive to end the programs referred to by most as “affirmative action” and by him as “race preferences”—he says of a potential Obama administration: “I’m hopeful.” 

“[Obama] is a very, very bright man who thinks through the nuances of issues and I cannot help believe he realizes the inherent flaw in race preferences,” Connerly, 69, said in a telephone interview last week. “If you listen to him carefully, you cannot help but think he is really torn by this issue, and that he is leaning in the direction of socio-economic affirmative action instead of race preferences.” 

The election of the first black president would inevitably alter views of race in America. The campaign itself, in which Obama has played better in lily-white Montana than in diverse South Carolina, has revealed a complex picture. Should Obama move into the White House, it would further change the country’s conversation about race, though not necessarily in predictable ways. 

A black president from a troubled big city could turn new attention to the problem of race or make the political choice to take his black support for granted; his own race may convince some of the benefits of diversity while others would take it as proof that racism is so far in the past as to no longer needs remedies. 

Affirmative action has not been on the agenda of either presidential campaign, and while it’s been a hot issue at times on the national stage, it’s not a necessary feature of the White House agenda.

Educational policy is conducted largely at the state and local level, and broader economic woes have pushed the battle, and most other socially charged issues, into the background. 

But experts say that President Bush’s additions to the Supreme Court could come down harder against race-based affirmative action then previous courts had, and a conservative group’s recent lawsuit against the University of Texas could force that question during the next president’s term. 

And Connerly is one of several opponents of race-based affirmative action who say they think Obama is far more likely than Senator John McCain to abolish, or profoundly alter, that system. Their hopes are founded on Obama’s remarks that well-off black children don’t need the program—something that he, unlike most Democrats with a national profile, could say without rebuke, because he was referring to his own daughters. 

Blog for our Future: Mandate Watch – Bellwether Races/Initiatives To Watch Below The Presidential Contest

Blog for our Future

Mandate Watch – Bellwether Races/Initiatives To Watch Below The Presidential Contest

So how will we know the shape, size and depth of whatever mandate comes out of this, the most ideologically polarized election since 1980? Top-line numbers from the presidential contest are only going to give us a snapshot of what really happened. We’re going to have to look at specific bellweather races and ballot initiatives to really know what happened at a structural level. Here are the bellweathers I’ll be watching, beyond the state-by-state results in the presidential race:


– Amendment 46: Sponsored by the infamous Ward Connerly, this disgusting initiative aims to stoke the old Angry White Man backlash against minorities and women with a measure to essentially ban affirmative action and equal opportunity programs. The latest Denver Post poll suggests this is going to be a close one – if progressives defeat it, they will show that even here in the heart of the Mountain West, we can defeat race/gender-based wedge politics.


– African American Turnout: Will African American turnout be significantly higher in these southern states in 2008, and will that increased turnout be enough to swing both contested presidential and key down-ballot races blue? If yes, it will dent political scientist Tom Schaller’s theory that progressive efforts to compete in the South are futile.


OpenLeft: Egg Industry Shill Plays The Race & Class Cards On Prop. 2


Egg Industry Shill Plays The Race & Class Cards On Prop. 2

The industrial egg industry has truly lost its collective head over the prospect of Californians passing Proposition 2, the legislation that would give farm animals the luxury of stretching their limbs.

Julie Buckner, the Californians for Safe Food spokesperson who went on Oprah to claim thatProposition 2 would destroy California’s egg industry, is trying a really tacky new tack,according to today’s New York Times.

Buckner told the Times that Winfrey’s implied support for the measure “only codified her sense that the ballot measure is being pushed by “wealthy, narrow-minded elitists” who do not understand its real-world consequences.”She went on to dis the Humane Society, who’s sponsoring Proposition 2, for being funded, apparently, by diamond-encrusted dog-loving dilettantes:


“This is an organization raising money from upper-middle-class white women writing $100 checks,” she said.”

Colorado Independent: Colorado coaches speak out against Amendment 46

Colorado Independent

Colorado coaches speak out against Amendment 46

Three Division I basketball coaches in Colorado publicly opposed Amendment 46 on Wednesday, saying that the so-called Colorado Civil Rights Initiative would diminish diversity at their institutions.

University of Colorado coach Jeff Bzdelik, Colorado State University coach Tim Miles and University of Northern Colorado coach Tad Boyle decried the measure, which will banish public affirmative action programs across the state.


“Rather than eliminate opportunities for minority students attacked by this initiative, we should figure out strategies to improve college opportunities for all low-income kids,” said Bzdelik in a press release. “We don’t want to see our university weakened by Amendment 46. Diversity makes CU strong — we need more of it, not less.”

Amendment 46 and a similar measure in Nebraska are being promoted by Ward Connerly, a California businessman who wants to dismantle affirmative action nationwide. The initiative has also been denounced by the National Association of Basketball Coaches, the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association and the Black Coaches and Administrators.

Detroit Free Press: Shameless anti-stem cell ad

Detroit Free Press

Shameless anti-stem cell ad

But opponents to Proposal 2, the Nov. 4 ballot initiative that would legalize embryonic stem cell research in Michigan, may have set new standards for shameless fear-mongering

An ad titled “In the Name of Good,” (See it here.) which began running today, compares the research that Prop 2 would allow to the human experimentation horrors at Tuskegee University. Using an actor whose voice “sounds” black, the commercial says (quite falsely) that stem cell research won’t be regulated, and implies that it could therefore lead to abuses similar to the Tuskegee experiments, in which hundreds of African-American men were purposely infected with syphillis by researchers.

The point is clear: to frighten minority communities into voting against Prop 2 by drawing a false connection with past abuse. 

It’s far past shameless, and well into reckless and even pernicious campaigning. 

Think Progress: Right-Wing Ad Tries To Frighten Minorities By Comparing Embryonic Stem Cell Research To Tuskegee Study

Think Progress

Right-Wing Ad Tries To Frighten Minorities By Comparing Embryonic Stem CellResearch To Tuskegee Study

Up for consideration in Michigan is Proposal 2, a measure to permit embryonic stem cell research. As the NIH has outlined, embryonic stem cells offer the most promise for medical breakthroughs

Right-wing opponents of the measure have resorted to desperate, “shameless” fear-mongering. A new ad compares embryonic stem cell research to the Tuskegee study, which the Detroit Free Press calls “horribly offensive, race-baiting.” Watch the ad:


Booker Rising: VIDEO: Ward Connerly On Race

Booker Rising

VIDEO: Ward Connerly On Race

The founder of the American Civil Rights Institute and libertarian Republican discusses his battle to end affirmative action in Colorado and Nebraska

Oregon Live: Oregon voters will parse English immersion debate

Oregon Live

Oregon voters will parse English immersion debate

Measure 58, which claims the best way to learn English is to immerse children in it without regard to their native language, squarely fits with a language controversy as old as America itself.

Some supporters say immersion is the way since the 18th century: sink or swim, assimilate. Others say that wasn’t always true. Historically, some immigrant children were taught in a language other than English when they arrived, even as far back as the 19th century, including in Oregon.

The rise and fall of U.S. immigration rates, with the accompanying alternating attitudes towards immigrants, influences the debate. Language, especially English immersion, most recently has been cast as a surrogate for an anti-immigrant stance.

“The polemics about language are inextricably linked to newcomers who give the appearance of not wanting to become part of the melting pot,” said Carlos Ovando, professor at Arizona State University. “Language allows people to take a xenophobic position and doesn’t make them look so bad.”

Others see bilingual education as “an experiment that was not successful,” said Rosalie Porter, author of books on immigrant children’s education. “It is the responsibility of the schools to give children English. It’s a pro-immigrant idea; it’s a civil rights issue. Our immigrant children deserve a quality education.”

In Oregon, where 15 percent of English learners are taught part of the day in their native tongue, both supporters and opponents cast the measure as an education rather than immigration proposal.

Colorado Independent: Hickenlooper says ‘no’ to Amendment 46

Colorado Independent

Hickenlooper says ‘no’ to Amendment 46

Today at 2 p.m., Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper will speak out against the Colorado Civil Rights Initiative, a ballot measure that will destroy public affirmative action programs statewide.


Hickenlooper will speak on the front steps of the City and County Building in Denver.

Late last month, Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter also slammed the measure during a press conference, calling it a “California import.” The initiative has received hundreds of thousands of dollars in funding from Ward Connerly, a California businessman who is attempting to ban affirmative action state by state.

While similar projects in other states failed this year, both Colorado and Nebraska electors will vote on whether they’d like to cut preferential treatment programs for women and minorities

Politicker AZ: Republican officials come out strong against Prop. 202

Politicker AZ

Republican officials come out strong against Prop. 202

A group of prominent Republican legislators and public officials gathered outside the state capitol Wednesday to express their opposition to Proposition 202, the “Stop Hiring Illegals” ballot measure that would increase civil penalties for employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants, but, according to opponents, would negate the current employer sanctions law passed by Arizonans only last year.