Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Affirmative Action

It’s an ill wind that blows nobody good. For example, the unwillingness of the administration to respond to criticism with any acknowledgement of error amounts to guaranteed job security for obviously incompetent public officials like Condi Rice. Removing her would be an inadmissible acknowledgement of failure or error so she stays on no matter how big a fool she makes of herself on the Sunday news shows. You can be forced out of the administration if you thwart some powerful insider. Crossing Rumsfeld cost Thomas White his job as Secretary of the Army—it sure wasn’t his significant role in the Enron scandal—but letting terrorists fly airplanes into large buildings is OK.

This Republican version of affirmative action is not intrinsically racial, but it is probably true that mediocre African-Americans have benefited from it disproportionately, correctly recognizing that their lack of talent will be overlooked in consideration of their political utility and dog-like loyalty. And negritude has other uses in this White House. For example, it allows Colin Powell to claim that his nose was brown before he took the job.

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