Republicans Grovel

Recently the Young Republican club at Grand Valley State University (Michigan) sponsored an affirmative action bake sale of the sort that has almost become a fixture on college campuses these days.

This one, however, was different, or at least ended differently. This time the club’s leaders were forced to resign, with the complicity of the club’s faculty advisor, a Republican official.

Paul Leidig, the club’s faculty adviser, said “the club supported the idea of the bake sale as a satirical form of expression against affirmative action.”

But Leidig, who also is chairman of the Ottawa County Republican Party, said he did not know the students planned to use a racially biased price scale when he approved the event.

“Had I known that, I would have not approved it,” he said.

As a result of the controversy, Leidig said he advised the students to consider a leadership change to acknowledge they respect the fact people were offended by the bake sale.

Kyle Rausch, the former president, now considers himself a former Republican.

“The university recognized the fact that as long as I was in the driver’s seat, I was not going to back down,” Rausch said.

“They used the Republican Party to force me out and got the group to apologize for something they never should have apologized for.

“I’ve been called a bigot and racist,” Rausch said. “There’s nothing racist about saying affirmative action should be based on economic means and not race.”

Rausch now describes himself as a “conservative independent” and said he plans to start a campus conservative student group next year.

With Michigan Republicans like this, and this, who needs Democrats?

UPDATE [8 April]

Several of the GVSU students involved in the affirmative action bake sale have been charged with violating university policies against discrimination, which brought the university to the attention of F.I.R.E.

GVSU’s moral obligation to guarantee its students’ free speech rights is clear; its legal obligation to uphold the First Amendment is indisputable. As a public university, GVSU has an overarching legal obligation, in addition to its moral obligation, to ensure the First Amendment rights of its students. The College Republicans’ bake sale protest is a clear example of political parody, and the complaining students’ reaction against it serves as an illuminating example of why the U.S. Supreme Court has seen fit to so heavily protect this type of expression. The very point of the protest was to parallel what the College Republicans view as discrimination in college admissions through affirmative action policies. Categorizing the “bake sale” as “discrimination” ignores—or willfully misinterprets—the expressive purpose of the event. Any punishment of the College Republicans or its individual members for their constitutionally protected expression would therefore be prohibited by the U.S. Constitution.

Furthermore, at least one GVSU administrator is on record suggesting that the real reason that the university is trying the students for their political expression is that some people found it “offensive.” GVSU Director of Student Life Bob Stoll was quoted in a March 25, 2005, article in The Grand Rapids Press as saying, “To do something this offensive is not appropriate.” Thankfully, the First Amendment does not permit state officials to punish expression merely because they deem it inappropriate or offensive.

GVSU can and should put out the F.I.R.E. it has lit by dropping all charges against the differentially-priced cookie sellers.

UPDATE II

David Beito discusses this matter here, and, in a comment below, points to a similar discussion here.

Say What? (35)

  1. actus April 7, 2005 at 1:55 pm | | Reply

    “There’s nothing racist about saying affirmative action should be based on economic means and not race.”

    This guy clearly doesn’t belong in the republican party.

  2. Nels Nelson April 7, 2005 at 2:55 pm | | Reply

    actus, you are confusing political parties with principles. The unabashed goal of the Republican Party is to increase its market share.

  3. notherbob2 April 7, 2005 at 3:10 pm | | Reply

    Just like CNN had to grovel to Hussein in order to remain in Baghdad, Republicans must grovel to administrators in order to remain on campus. Their presence is offensive to almost all of the faculty and administration. A probable reason they are tolerated at all is the amusement provided by their groveling. That, and the fact that they constitute a convenient means of identifying radicals like Kyle so that they can be properly dealt with.

  4. actus April 7, 2005 at 3:55 pm | | Reply

    ” The unabashed goal of the Republican Party is to increase its market share.”

    oh. Ok. then by all means, embrace my welfare loving leftness.

  5. Cobra April 7, 2005 at 8:34 pm | | Reply

    Will Affirmative Action be the litmus test for Michigan Republicans from now on? This is an excellent idea! Republicans should stand up and be counted. They should wear their convictions on their sleeves with HONOR.

    The 2006 election is only a year and half away, GOPpers. Let your voice be HEARD.

    –Cobra

  6. notherbob2 April 7, 2005 at 9:37 pm | | Reply

    Mmmmmm…I think the GOP voice was heard November 3. I think you are a little giddy with all the campus groveling going on, Cobra. You really do not want to hear the GOP voice again, now do you?

  7. Will April 8, 2005 at 3:04 am | | Reply

    Anyone who is a conservative should register as an Independent, not a Republican, if they are in a state with open primary voting. The GOP under Bush has become nothing more than a wholly-owned subsidiary of the wealthy and the corporations who fund their campaign with big $$$ contributions. On affirmative action and almost every other issue, Bush’s GOP is hopelessly out of touch with middle-class conservative voters.

    And Cobra,…if you don’t want the GOP to win, you should hope that they DON’T talk about affirmative action. Even in liberal states like California and Washington, the voters passed anti-affirmative action ballot propositions by large margins. Just like conservatives hurt the GOP by stressing abortion, the liberals could hurt the Democrats by supporting racial preferences.

  8. scott April 8, 2005 at 12:38 pm | | Reply

    “This guy clearly doesn’t belong in the republican party.”

    Well, he’s obviously not a Democrat.

  9. Cobra April 8, 2005 at 4:35 pm | | Reply

    Will writes:

    >>>And Cobra,…if you don’t want the GOP to win, you should hope that they DON’T talk about affirmative action. Even in liberal states like California and Washington, the voters passed anti-affirmative action ballot propositions by large margins.”

    Oh I disagree. When voters are given the WHOLE TRUTH about a referendum, including the disastrous consequences, (such as Ward Connerly’s vicious Proposition 54), people of good will tend to make the appropriate decisions. It’s when the spin-meisters massage the phrasings of proposals, the bait and switch occurs. For example, the MCRI won’t come out and claim to be against “Affirmative Action.” They claim to be against “racial preferences.” The end result of their proposal would indeed destroy Affirmative Action as we know it in Michigan, but that nuance is lost on those who aren’t suspicious enough to investigate and research the issue for themselves.

    In congress, we have instances of 1100 page long bills being ramrodded at the last minute for up and down party line votes by representatives who don’t have a clue what they’re voting for. What happens to the general public, with the right winged media echo-chamber is even more insidious.

    –Cobra

  10. Michelle Dulak Thomson April 8, 2005 at 5:09 pm | | Reply

    Cobra,

    “Affirmative action” once had meanings other than “racial preferences,” and for many people it still does. I think it’s fair enough for Connerly & co. to distinguish between, say, visiting majority-minority schools and encouraging the kids to apply to a university, and putting a thumb on the scale once they do. The one is “affirmative action” in its original sense; the other is “racial preferences.”

    What happens to the general public, with the right winged media echo-chamber is even more insidious.

    You know, I see more of this particular meme every day, and I don’t know what to make of it. In what sense is the “general public” trapped in a “right winged media echo-chamber”? You turn on the TV, you have the three old networks besides Fox; if you have cable, you’ve lots more besides that. You turn on the radio, you have NPR practically everywhere; it’s not like you have to listen to Rush or the like. In fact, I avoid listening to Rush and the like with effortless ease every single day. Try it; you can do it too! As for print media, I think it would be very difficult to find anything not Lefty around here by way of a daily or even weekly periodical, but even if there were a right-wing newspaper to be had, no one could force me to read it. There are so many alternatives, you see.

  11. John Rosenberg April 8, 2005 at 5:13 pm | | Reply

    cobra, there you go again:

    For example, the MCRI won’t come out and claim to be against “Affirmative Action.” They claim to be against “racial preferences.” The end result of their proposal would indeed destroy Affirmative Action as we know it in Michigan, but that nuance is lost on those who aren’t suspicious enough to investigate and research the issue for themselves.

    Your twisting here is almost humorous. I don’t know any conservatives (read “right-wing bigoted Republican extemists” if you prefer; the point still holds) who oppose “affirmative action.” Most of us do oppose racial preferences. I’ve challenged you before and you’ve neglected to respond (itself a noteworthy rarity): show me an affirmative action program that does not involve racial or gender preferences. If you can’t, then please be quiet about conservatives missing the “nuance” etc.

    But never let it be said that I disagree with everything you say. You said:

    Will Affirmative Action be the litmus test for Michigan Republicans from now on? This is an excellent idea! Republicans should stand up and be counted. They should wear their convictions on their sleeves with HONOR.

    And a truer thing was never said … at least by you!

  12. Cobra April 8, 2005 at 11:02 pm | | Reply

    John Rosenberg writes:

    >>>And a truer thing was never said … at least by you!”

    You see my friend, we CAN grow together!

    >>>If you can’t, then please be quiet about conservatives missing the “nuance” etc.”

    I didn’t accuse conservatives of missing nuance in this statement. It’s the ill-read masses that don’t dig deeply enough into an issue or topic on their own, and allow the loudest voices in the corporate media to figure it out for them. It’s my belief that at the root…the id craves simplicity, and that’s one of the most effective selling tools that the right has used in various platforms. How else can they get away with slogans like “culture of life” while simultaneously promoting war, medicare cuts, and the death penalty for minors? It’s no different with Affirmative Action in my opinion.

    >>>I’ve challenged you before and you’ve neglected to respond (itself a noteworthy rarity): show me an affirmative action program that does not involve racial or gender preferences.”

    John, I’ll be honest with you…they are HARD to find. But perhaps the answer lies with the MCRI, as they seem to think that Affirmative Action programs without race or gender exist:

    “MCRI supports

  13. John Rosenberg April 8, 2005 at 11:47 pm | | Reply

    I didn’t accuse conservatives of missing nuance in this statement. It’s the ill-read masses that don’t dig deeply enough into an issue or topic on their own….

    I don’t know what you’re trying to say here, but I don’t see any connection to my point that no one — conservatives or “the ill-read masses” (I’m old enough to remember the days when lefties liked “the masses”) — is missing anything or making any error in regarding affirmative action as synonymous with racial/gender preferences.

    John, I’ll be honest with you…they [affirmative action programs that don't involve preferences] are HARD to find….

    But if you can’t find one, why do you criticize those who equate affirmative action as it is currently practices with racial preferences? Have you already forgotten that you just wrote, above:

    For example, the MCRI won’t come out and claim to be against “Affirmative Action.” They claim to be against “racial preferences.” The end result of their proposal would indeed destroy Affirmative Action as we know it in Michigan, but that nuance is lost on those who aren’t suspicious enough to investigate and research the issue for themselves.

    What “nuance” have the unsuspicious (“the ill-read masses”?) missed? Would they discover previously hidden affirmative action programs that don’t employ preferences (and that you haven’t been able to find) if the read more deeply? MCRI would outlaw all racial preference policies and programs in Michigan. You seem to agree that that is tantamount to saying it would destroy “Affirmative Action as we know it.” In other words, you and MCRI agree on what affirmative action as currently practiced really is, and what effect MCRI would have. Thus your innuendoes about “spin-meisters massaging phrasings” etc. is nothing more than rhetorical posturing.

  14. Will April 9, 2005 at 1:18 am | | Reply

    No wonder people seem to often talk past each other in the affirmative action debate. People who support racial preferences pass laws and make judicial rulings, imposing racial quotas and racial preferences, but using euphemisms like “diversity (see Mrs. Sandra Day O’Conner vs. Barbara Grutter) or “affirmative action”.

    So on one hand they are defining “diversity/affirmative action” as the same as quotas/preferences. THEN, they go back to their liberal allies and say that “diversity/affirmative action” just means outreach & nondiscrimination, and that people who oppose it are racist bigots. So then conservatives think that blacks are racist for supporting reverse discrimination, and liberals think whites are racist for not supporting civil rights.

    At least some supporters of racial preferences, like Colin Powell, have been honest in describing what they support – “racial prefrences”, so people can have an honest debate. But of course it’s the liberals (including George Bush & the Supreme Court) who confuse & divide people with their double-talk just to pander to both liberals and conservatives, and both black and white people. Any racial distrust and animosity in the USA lies SQUARELY on their shoulders.

  15. Cobra April 9, 2005 at 11:14 am | | Reply

    John Rosenberg writes:

    >>>You seem to agree that that is tantamount to saying it would destroy “Affirmative Action as we know it.” In other words, you and MCRI agree on what affirmative action as currently practiced really is, and what effect MCRI would have. Thus your innuendoes about “spin-meisters massaging phrasings” etc. is nothing more than rhetorical posturing.”

    If you are trying to indict ME for agreeing with the MCRI on the definition of Affirmative Action, then where is your indictment of the MCRI? I posted that official press release by Chetly Zarko in response to your question:

    “show me an affirmative action program that does not involve racial or gender preferences.”

    Now, I’m honest enough to admit that they’re hard to find, mostly because President NIXON (R) believed as I do about the REASONS when he started the programs. Now, if you want to question the “Republican authenticity” of Richard M. Nixon, be my guest, but realize you’re going to be questioning a whole lot of other republican politicians, which I encourage you to do wholeheartedly. Of course, to my eternal shame, I find myself in bed with Nixon and the MCRI in one instance.

    Now ,whether you decide to argue based on word association and euphemism, as Will points out, is up to you. It’s the old “pro-choice vs. pro-abortion” dilemna. Now, as I stated before in a thread discussion with Chetly, it’s intellectually DISHONEST to claim that eliminating Affirmative Action will eliminate racial preferences. It simply forbids GOVERNMENT and its various enitities from considering race. But you know that already, John. I’m not going to beat a dead horse. The UNWASHED MASSES, who don’t read up on the subject may fail to get that nuance, especially with the consolidated, corporate homogenized media cherry picking information.

    Michelle disagrees with me on that:

    >>>In what sense is the “general public” trapped in a “right winged media echo-chamber”? You turn on the TV, you have the three old networks besides Fox; if you have cable, you’ve lots more besides that.”

    Who says the three old networks are “liberal?” They’re all owned by huge parent corporations whose primary concerns are ratings and profit. These huge parent corporations BENEFIT from pro-corporate republican policies, and they respond accordingly. The “independent” UPN/WB affiliates are often owned by groups like Sinclair, who have a blatantly right winged agenda. Radio is parcelled out by jovian supergroups like Clear Channel and Infinity, who are HARDLY bastions of moderate or liberal, and ALSO benefit from consolidation friendly conservative platforms.

    People like Rupert Murdoch of Newscorp can now own 39% of the media in any given city–television, radio, cable, newspapers, thanks to Republican controlled appointee FCC.

    Now, NPR and Public Television are INDEED options, but they aren’t ‘supposed” to be liberal “advocates”. They’re supposed to be “unbiased.” We can debate that on another thread.

    –Cobra

  16. Michelle Dulak Thomson April 9, 2005 at 12:54 pm | | Reply

    Cobra,

    [me:] In what sense is the “general public” trapped in a “right winged media echo-chamber”? You turn on the TV, you have the three old networks besides Fox; if you have cable, you’ve lots more besides that.”

    [you:] Who says the three old networks are “liberal?”

    Well, I didn’t; I implied that they are not “right-winged,” that’s all.

    They’re all owned by huge parent corporations whose primary concerns are ratings and profit. These huge parent corporations BENEFIT from pro-corporate republican policies, and they respond accordingly. The “independent” UPN/WB affiliates are often owned by groups like Sinclair, who have a blatantly right winged agenda. Radio is parcelled out by jovian supergroups like Clear Channel and Infinity, who are HARDLY bastions of moderate or liberal, and ALSO benefit from consolidation friendly conservative platforms.

    Well, now, we must distinguish. I’m perfectly willing to believe that the various corporate conglomerates you’re talking about here are out for their own financial interests, and tend to report news having to do with the corporate world badly, scantily, aslant, or all three. But does it follow that they are socially conservative? Quite the reverse, I’d say. Indeed, you’ve stressed the corporate enthusiasm for affirmative action in comments here many times yourself, so if there is criticism of AA on talk radio, network TV, whatever, it’s hard to see it as an outgrowth of the “conservative” corporate culture. (As for the other hot-button social-conservative issues — gay marriage, abortion, and the like — I just don’t see that as some kind of top-down corporate campaign. What would be the point?)

    People like Rupert Murdoch of Newscorp can now own 39% of the media in any given city–television, radio, cable, newspapers, thanks to Republican controlled appointee FCC.

    Now, NPR and Public Television are INDEED options, but they aren’t “supposed” to be liberal “advocates”. They’re supposed to be “unbiased.”

    My point, Cobra, was that if the explicitly right-wing media turn you off, you have other places to go. Which suggests, to my simple mind, that a lot of people watch and listen to this stuff because they want to.

    Look, TV and radio pay for themselves via advertising. If the audience isn’t there, neither is the profit. But when this argument is trotted out the assumption always seems to be that if Rupert Murdoch has 39% of the media outlets in a given city, he automatically gets 39% of the audience. Which is silly, because they have to want to read/listen to/watch what he puts out first. From the average discussion of Murdoch, you’d think he’d gotten an exclusive franchise on the Two Minutes Hate or something. Ridiculous.

  17. John Rosenberg April 9, 2005 at 9:27 pm | | Reply

    … it’s intellectually DISHONEST to claim that eliminating Affirmative Action will eliminate racial preferences. It simply forbids GOVERNMENT and its various enitities from considering race. But you know that already, John. I’m not going to beat a dead horse. The UNWASHED MASSES, who don’t read up on the subject may fail to get that nuance, especially with the consolidated, corporate homogenized media cherry picking information.

    Your points here are so convoluted I can’t tell when/whether you get things backwards. Did you mean to say that it’s dishonest to claim that eliminating affirmative action will eliminate racial preferences, or that that it’s dishonest to claim that eliminating racial preferences will eliminate affirmative action? Does it matter? To those of us who believe that affirmative action as practiced, and as defended by liberals, is nothing but racial preferences wearing a more appealing label it doesn’t matter, but it’s not possible to tell where you are on this.

    And the “nuance” that the UNWASHED MASSES (again, a curious view of people from a “progressive”) are said to miss? Here you seem to be saying this nuance is simply the fact that MCRI prevents only government discrimination, so private discrimination is free to continue (unless, of course, some wayward prosecutor decides to enforce the 1964 civil rights act or similar measures).

    Finally, I note that you still haven’t supplied any affirmative action programs that don’t employ racial preferences. Let me help you out: outreach efforts to schools that have not supplied many applicants to your university; aggressive steps to ensure that your employees do not discriminate; not only broadly advertising the fact that you are an “equal opportunity employer,” as everybody claims, but actually meaning it, which means that you don’t encourage or discourage applicants/customers/whatever on the basis of race; I could go on, but you get the idea. These are the sorts of behavior called for by the two presidential executive orders calling for “affirmative action” that I’ve quoted in a number of posts, and virtually all current critics of racial preferences support them. Liberals, on the other hand, generally don’t, because they are not as efficient as racial preferences at increasing numbers by race, which is the goal of preferences.

    Finally, cobra, the more you write the more imcomprehensible your position(s) become(s), so please keep those comments coming….

  18. notherbob2 April 9, 2005 at 10:24 pm | | Reply

    The reason that Cobra

  19. Cobra April 10, 2005 at 12:41 am | | Reply

    John Rosenberg writes:

    >>>outreach efforts to schools that have not supplied many applicants to your university; aggressive steps to ensure that your employees do not discriminate; not only broadly advertising the fact that you are an “equal opportunity employer,” as everybody claims, but actually meaning it, which means that you don’t encourage or discourage applicants/customers/whatever on the basis of race; I could go on, but you get the idea.”

    Let me get this straight, because I want to work with you on this one. I don’t want to take you out of context. I don’t want to veer off on any tangent. Just straight Cobra-love here.

    OK, from what I read in the above paragraph, there’s no “program” at all. This is simply an application of sound business ethics. Maybe that’s the secret punchline I’ve been missing all these long months.

    And your broad definitions are a bit confusing. What exactly are “aggressive steps to ensure that your employees don’t discriminate?” By what standard would they gauge that “discrimination”? I can personally attest to the HIGH burden of proof you have, based upon my “Cobra Arguments”

    Piling up applicants from a given high school isn’t the same thing as ADMITTING applicants from a given high school. Do the odds increase? Perhaps, but again, I can personally attest to the perpetual “SAT score supremacy” arguments that frequent this blog, so what is the point of having the 35th ranked student apply if the 34th ranked student had lower SAT’s than the last student admitted to your college’s freshman class? What would be the effect of such an “outreach?” The illusion of inclusion?

    And without data dumping, the dictionary definition of “Affirmative Action” belies your statements…not mine.

    >>>Main Entry: affirmative action

    Function: noun

    Date: 1965

    : an active effort to improve the employment or educational opportunities of members of minority groups and women

    Pronunciation Key

  20. Will April 10, 2005 at 1:47 am | | Reply

    Cobra:

    It doesn’t really matter what the 1965 dictionary definition of “afirmative action” is, what matters is how the word is used and manipulated now. Now, in most cases the word is just a euphemism, (like “diversity, multiculturalism, etc.”) for racial preferences and racial quotas. That’s the real-life meaning of the word.

    Lawyers and judges and politicians ALWAYS take euphemisms and use them to describe their laws. Just like so many bills are called something like the “_____ reform bill”, the _____ improvement bill”, etc. Or how giving amnesty to illegal immigrants is “legalizing the status” of “undocumented/guest workers”.

  21. Michelle Dulak Thomson April 10, 2005 at 12:35 pm | | Reply

    Will, I think the definition isn’t from 1965; it’s the phrase itself that is, from the Civil Rights Act. (Actually, it would be very interesting to see how it was defined when it first entered dictionaries in the (I’m assuming) late 60s. There might be some interesting differences from current usage.)

    Cobra, if outreach and the like don’t merit being called “affirmative action” in your view, what exactly is wrong with calling your version of affirmative action “racial preferences”? Or, for that matter, calling the version I’d prefer myself “class-based preferences”? I just don’t see what the difficulty is. Describe what you’re doing, and make your case for doing it. But don’t complain that an accurate description of what you’re doing is off-putting in polls even while conceding that the description is accurate. If it’s worthwhile to do it, surely it’s worthwhile to defend it openly.

  22. Cobra April 10, 2005 at 12:46 pm | | Reply

    Will writes:

    >>>It doesn’t really matter what the 1965 dictionary definition of “afirmative action” is, what matters is how the word is used and manipulated now.”

    Well, then how do we have a starting point to debate issues without mutually accepted facts? John’s question to me was:

    “show me an affirmative action program that does not involve racial or gender preferences.”

    I answered that it was hard to find one, and the dictionary definition of Affirmative Action validates my statement.

    Changing the definitions of phrases and terms to suit a particular ideology is very Orwellian, and I agree that it’s used far too often in today’s society. Furthermore, you endorse my viewpoint when you discuss euphemism to gain support for their bills. How else would you get the unwashed masses to ignore their potentially adverse effects?

    –Cobra

  23. John Rosenberg April 10, 2005 at 12:55 pm | | Reply

    Changing the definitions of phrases and terms to suit a particular ideology is very Orwellian

    There you go again. So now you’re accusing the entire civil rights establishment of Orwellian distortion. Do a search on my site for “executive order” and look at how “affirmative action” was defined in the execuitve orders by Pres. Kennedy and Pres. Johnson that introduced the term. You’ll see that you guys have reversed (in your term, distorted) the meaning.

  24. notherbob2 April 10, 2005 at 3:14 pm | | Reply

    Cobra, I believe that every other reader of these comments understands your position exactly: Racial discrimination – based purely on race – is OK if it produces the ends that you support. If it produces ends that you don

  25. Cobra April 10, 2005 at 3:16 pm | | Reply

    John Rosenberg writes:

    >>> Do a search on my site for “executive order” and look at how “affirmative action” was defined in the execuitve orders by Pres. Kennedy and Pres. Johnson that introduced the term. You’ll see that you guys have reversed (in your term, distorted) the meaning.”

    Is the term “you guys” referring to me, the pro-Affirmative Action movement, or Merriam-Webster Inc?

    –Cobra

  26. Cobra April 10, 2005 at 3:47 pm | | Reply

    notherbob writes:

    >>>I believe that every other reader of these comments understands your position exactly: Racial discrimination – based purely on race – is OK if it produces the ends that you support. If it produces ends that you don

  27. Michelle Dulak Thomson April 10, 2005 at 4:20 pm | | Reply

    Cobra, what I don’t understand is why, if “affirmative action” means “racial (or gender) preferences,” it’s wrong just to call them “racial (or gender) preferences.” I mean, what’s the difficulty here? If everyone knows that the two terms are synonyms (as you and the folks at Merriam-Webster assert), then why is one term better than the other?

    The obvious reason — both for Connerly et al. wanting to ditch “affirmative action” and for your wanting to keep it — is that for many people some of the old “outreach” meaning still clings to the phrase, even though you yourself admit that that meaning is essentially defunct in practice. Whereas “preferences,” besides spelling out in unhelpful detail what’s actually happening, has no such connotations of “merely trying our best to make sure no one is discriminated against.”

    I mistrust phrases that can’t be anchored easily to their meanings. “Affirmative action” is one of those. Acting affirmatively? To do what? How? (“Pro-choice” is another such — in favor of someone choosing something, presumably, but until you know what it’s a euphemism for you don’t know what.) If we could all agree to say (e.g.) “compensatory preferences” and “abortion rights,” we would all be clear what we’re talking about.

  28. John Rosenberg April 10, 2005 at 4:42 pm | | Reply

    Me:

    Do a search on my site for “executive order” and look at how “affirmative action” was defined in the execuitve orders by Pres. Kennedy and Pres. Johnson that introduced the term. You’ll see that you guys have reversed (in your term, distorted) the meaning.”Is the term “you guys” referring to me, the pro-Affirmative Action movement, or Merriam-Webster Inc?

    Me Again:

    Merriam-Webster is well-known (and either loved or reviled) for being descriptive, not prescriptive, in its definitions. It defines how words are currently used, not whether that usage is correct or not. If 50.1% of the people came to think “aint,” was O.K., so would Merriam-Webster. Thus M-W is simply reporting that “you guys” have been successful in reversing the original meaning of affirmative action.

  29. notherbob2 April 10, 2005 at 8:12 pm | | Reply

    Cobra: I checked your reference:

  30. Cobra April 11, 2005 at 5:30 pm | | Reply

    John Rosenberg writes:

    >>>Thus M-W is simply reporting that “you guys” have been successful in reversing the original meaning of affirmative action.”

    I disagree, based upon the volume of other sources that define Affirmative Action in the same way. The “you guys” group must also include Republican icons Colin Powell, JC Watts and Condoleezza Rice since they share the Cobra position on Affirmative Action. However, don’t let that stop you from using that litmus test. There’s room in the DNC for any or all of those three if they are ahem.. “black listed”.

    Notherbob writes:

    >>>What I don

  31. ziggyman April 12, 2005 at 4:44 pm | | Reply

    as a member of this club i am ashamed 2 be a member of it and the republican party, we basically gave up and let them have there way (the administration), with no backbone to saying yes “we held this event” but we have done nothing that previous campus groups havent done. besideds the person the that bought the baked good was one, not one of the complainetants and second didnt even pay the “posted” price. You tell me, how was this direct commerce?

  32. ziggyman April 12, 2005 at 4:45 pm | | Reply

    as a member of this club i am ashamed 2 be a member of it and the republican party, we basically gave up and let them have there way (the administration), with no backbone to saying yes “we held this event” but we have done nothing that previous campus groups havent done. besideds the person the that bought the baked good was one, not one of the complainetants and second didnt even pay the “posted” price. You tell me, how was this direct commerce?

  33. Chetly Zarko April 14, 2005 at 3:11 pm | | Reply

    John,

    Cobra’s double-talk is confusing the whole thread. In one post, he says:

    For example, the MCRI won’t come out and claim to be against “Affirmative Action.” They claim to be against “racial preferences.” The end result of their proposal would indeed destroy Affirmative Action as we know it in Michigan, but that nuance is lost on those who aren’t suspicious enough to investigate and research the issue for themselves.

    He attacks MCRI, implying that we are being deceptive (“suspicious”), but he betrays the issue when he says “as we know it.” (bolded/italics) He admits its a definitional game, and that IN MICHIGAN, preferences = “affirmative action.” Regardless of the accuracy of his claim, it has no logical bearing on the effect of MCRI. Eliminating preferences need not eliminate all affirmative action, since there are alternatives (even if not currently used). It would indeed be deceptive for us to say we were eliminating “affirmative action,” because we aren’t eliminating it all — although it would be expedient for us to use that term since the media has so effectively conflated the terms. MCRI is not about expediency though, so we have stake out a logical and consistent position that happens to be quite moderate.

    What I find to be contradictory though, is that in response to your challenge, he then uses an MCRI press release, which makes it clear that we are defining the issue consistently. I take this as a clear indication that he understands and agrees that the message we are sending is consistent and correct – but he wants to have his cake and eat it too, so to speak, since he continues the rhetoric that we are somehow deceptive.

  34. Chetly Zarko April 14, 2005 at 3:17 pm | | Reply

    By the way, Michelle’s response is right on, as usual. More succinct than mine. If affirmative action and race preferences are truly synonyms, what’s deceptive about our use of the latter?

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