- The Washington Times - Monday, January 13, 2003

It is one of President Bush's most admirable qualities, that he refuses to pander to race. As governor of Texas, Mr. Bush refused to support the racial quota system employed by the University of Texas law school and helped to broker a deal that extended opportunity to all of the state's disadvantaged students. On the presidential campaign trail, Mr. Bush pledged to continue these inclusive practices as president. "I support what I call 'affirmative access' not quotas, not double standards, because those divide and balkanize," Mr. Bush told the Associated Press. His efforts to reach out to the Hispanic community have been noticeably void of any of the divisive identity-politics so ably practiced by the Democrats, and have consisted instead of nothing more than simple salesmanship of conservative ideology. And, as his strong rebuke of Sen. Trent Lott demonstrated, the president has been quick to cast partisan considerations aside and condemn any whiff of racism.
In all of these instances, in both his words and actions, Mr. Bush has shown a clear distaste for the policies and politics of those who would employ race at the expense of another. As such, we're confident that on Jan. 16, the president will remain true to his record of inclusiveness and commit his administration's voice against the discriminatory admissions criteria employed by academic institutions. In a case before the Supreme Court, the University of Michigan employed just such a quota scheme to promote underqualified applicants, and the administration is weighing whether to support the cause of those students who were slighted.
In truth, the unfairness at the heart of the Michigan case is not one on which the Supreme Court needs guidance. The court has made a number of forays into the remedial-measure quagmire over the past decade, and its justices are well-versed in the issues at hand. But the administration's support will send a strong message that American society has moved fully beyond the days of desegregation, and that those who stand against remedial measures do so unabashedly and unafraid of the fringe left's accusations of racism. Whatever their hate-mongering rhetoric, the overwhelming majority of Americans know that opposition to affirmative action no longer means de facto support for segregation.
Given the importance of this issue, and the boldness the president has displayed on other civil-rights matters, we're confident Mr. Bush will make the right decision and oppose the discriminatory schemes of affirmative action. To do otherwise would be just as unprincipled as the supposed egalitarianism of affirmative-action's boosters.


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