2004 August 07 Saturday
Bush Says He Opposes Legacy Admissions For Universities

A man who has availed himself of the benefits of family connections to powerful institutions comes out against the practice of allowing people born into wealthy families of buying preferences for their kids.

President Bush said yesterday that U.S. colleges and universities should abandon a long-standing, if disputed, practice of giving preference in admissions to students with family connections.

"I think colleges ought to use merit in order for people to get in," Bush said. His remarks, before 7,000 minority journalists, were the first time the White House has addressed the issue of "legacy" admissions, the practice of giving an edge to the children of alumni.

Hypocrite. This very same George W. Bush decided to tear the guts out of Inspector General Theodore Olson's strong anti-affirmative action briefs in the University of Michigan Grutter v. Bollinger and Gratz and Hamacher v. Bollinger cases in order to give the Supreme Court room in which to write an opinion supporting "diversity" as a proxy for racial preferences.

Ted Olson (a real conservative as distinct from George W. Bush) was so troubled by Bush's decision that Olson almost resigned over Michigan cases.

Much of the confusion the Bush Administration has (intentionally) engendered stems from the briefs suffering multiple personality disorder. The attacks on the Michigan system were clearly written by Ted Olson's anti-racial preference warriors, but their centerpiece -- the endorsement of phony "race-neutral" techniques that are defended on the grounds that they can reproduce the precise quotas currently in place -- was obviously dreamed up by Bush's political team. (Newsweek reported that Olson considered resigning rather than signing the briefs.)

An argument can be made that private institutions should be able to discriminate for or against any group they choose to treat differently based on a private right to free association. By contrast, government institutions should not be free to discriminate using unjustifiable prejudices because governments should treat all as legally equal in rights. But do not expect to hear either argument from Bush.

Update: Bush's opposition to legacies amounts to an attempt to undermine a valuable technique used by colleges and universities fund-raising among alumni. Well, this brings to mind another recent George W. Bush announcement.

He was in superb form yesterday, offering what may have been his best Bushism ever in a speech at a White House signing ceremony for a $417 billion defense bill.

"Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we," he said. "They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we."

No argument here Mr. President. Does this mean you are going to admit that your immigration proposals are a bad bundle of ideas? Or are you going to change your mind and admit that the term the "diversity" that you trumpet is actually the label for a set of left-wing ideas that are incompatible with the basic principles of a free socieity? Unfortunately, that would be too much to hope for.

Update: PrestoPundit Greg Ransom draws attention to John Lehman's complaint (which is hardly original) that the lack of willingness to do ethnic and religious profiling on potential terrorists is causing huge amounts of effort to be wasted checking out people who are extremely unlikely to be terrorists. Greg makes the excellent point that George W. Bush has put far more effort into catering to Democrats, illegal aliens, and Arabs than he has to his own base.

In four years George Bush has sought to court and please Ted Kennedy, steel workers, Mexican foreign nationals, The NY Times, Tom Daschle, Vicente Fox, Saudi Arabia, Dan Rather, and American Islamic fundamentalists, among others. I can't think of one thing George Bush has done to seek my vote as a limited government / secure the borders Republican.

If he wants my vote, I say he has to do at least as much for me as he's been willing to do for Ted Kennedy, steel workers and illegal aliens. So here it is: fire Norm Mineta. Do it and you've got my vote. It's as easy as that.

Greg, the first paragraph strikes a strong chord and makes an excellent point. But I have a problem with your follow-on there. No offense intended but I think you are willing to sell your vote too cheaply. Granted, when the choice is between John Kerry and George W. Bush your vote is not able to buy all that much. Still, I think the Republican base gains a long term advantage in dealing with the politicians who purport to believe in our values if we make it clear to them that we will not sell our votes to them cheaply. Better that we expect them to really perform or go down to defeat. Bush has been too big a disaster at this point. The Republican Party's unprincipled pols need to learn a harsh lesson.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2004 August 07 01:38 PM  Politics American Domestic

John S Bolton said at August 7, 2004 4:13 PM:

The diversity-excuse is also a euphemism for a specifically anti-caucasian decolonizationism. Consider how high the correlation is between the use racial quotas and the policy of decolonization in the world. Each polity which has used racial quotas to get native populations into positions, with hardly any exceptions, has been partitioned not long afterwards. It has been that way so consistently, that one might ask those who accept racial quotas to prove that their intentions are not to decolonize the 'over-represented' group, and partition the country on racial or ethnic grounds. The complaint over legacy admissions, who get an edge which is rarely more than a minuscule fraction of that which is given to disadvantaged groups, is almost always an everybody does it, why can't we, type of repudiation of morality. It makes the government sound like they are cheerleading for anti-merit policies; since the concept of merit recruitment apparently is applicable only to those from unusually advantageous backgrounds, the way they're speaking of it.

Kevin said at August 8, 2004 1:32 AM:

Your idea that the Republicans need to be shown they can't rely on their base if they don't show fidelity on the issues which matter to the base, particularly immigration, is red-hot in Los Angeles.

One of, if not THE, most popular afternoon drive-time talk-radio programs (The John And Ken Show, KFI-AM, is running with the idea that one of the local Republican congressmen or women needs to be made a "political human sacrifice" on the issue of immigration. They're influential enough that the politicians are appearing on the show to defend their records and explain why they shouldn't be the lamb in question.

They're also hounding Asa Hutchinson.

noone said at August 8, 2004 6:05 AM:

Bush alone isn't the problem,the entire party leadership needs to be punished:

As mentioned,there's Hutchinson and his orders not to enforce immigration law,but there is also:

Orrin Hatch,a man better known for writing love songs to Ted Kennedy,is a major proponent of federal hate crime laws,despite their biased enforcement record at local level.

Bill Frist is now proposing racial quotas for medical schools,apperently unaware or indifferent to the fact that proposing this very thing (among others) helped Republicans gut the ClintonCare proposal.

I'm very tired of neo-cons telling me it's bad if Dems do it,but ok for Republicans.
"Better to be impure and win than be pure and lose",they say,but what's the difference to *me*,since I get the same policies?

Issues like this reveal the degree that neo-cons have accpeted the leftist paradigm and only seek power for it's own sake.

Luke Lea said at August 8, 2004 2:31 PM:

The volume of employment is determined by the wage level. Because of immigration and trade with low-wage countries, real hourly wages in this country have to fall significantly for markets to clear. That can happen only under cover of inflation. In a nutshell, this is the dilemma we are in, if you accept Keynes's analysis, which I do.

Dan said at August 9, 2004 8:19 AM:

I am apaled to see affirmitave action criticism lumped together with ant-immigration issues. I dont see any connection tp the two. I am opposed to massive unskilled immigration as much as anyone I can personally see through my own families lives the results, However to be successful as a political policy. it is going to have to transcend right wing politics. It must have the support of african-american whose constituents are the most effected by unskilled immigration. I am a slightly left of center democrat who has no problem with most democrat issues. I am interested in stopping immigration in order to protect the working men and women of this country, being a right wing zealot will not help. I am intersted in winning not ideological purity. Lets stick to the issue I.IMMIGRATION

Randall Parker said at August 9, 2004 9:34 AM:

Dan, The connection is clear. Hispanic immigration is a major reason that Bush is for racial preferences. Hispanic immigration increases the political support for racial preferences and hence the connection between the two is obvious.

Proborders said at August 10, 2004 11:41 PM:

Dan, I would guess that many African Americans want fewer immigrants to enter the country.

I would also guess that a higher percentage of African American voters would prefer maintaining affirmative action with the current immigration system remaining rather than no affirmative action and a sharp reduction in both legal and illegal immigration.

What if Republican political candidates on average became more pro-affirmative action but also more restrictionist in terms of immigration? Blacks would probably still cast more votes for Democrats than Republicans.

Probably most African American US representatives who represent districts in states that border Mexico have districts that have large Hispanic populations. Thus, it is politically very difficult for many African American Congress members to favor reducing immigration.

Randall Parker said at August 11, 2004 7:42 AM:

Another point about racial preferences: The more Hispanics that come here the higher the racial preferences costs will get since they underperform whites and they get racial preferences. Well, the costs of racial preferences will rise and eventually the amount of preferences per Hispanic and per black person will have to be cut back. So immigration will increase total racial preferences costs while also reducing benefits per recipient.

A person who is in favor of racial preferences ought to ask themselves if they want to see a reduction in benefits per American citizen. That is what immigration of low performing groups is causing.

As for the moral or intellectual justification of racial preferences: The argument is getting harder to make. Racial preferences is obviously no longer practiced to make up for the costs of slavery since we hand out preferences to Hispanics who were never American slaves.

Also, there is this not-so-small matter that racial preferences amounts to discrimination against whites, East Asians, and any other group that performs as well in school and work as whites do. Groups that underperform do not do so at this point because of things that whites do to them. What is the excuse for discriminating against whites? I do not see any remaining excuse for the immorality of reverse discrimination.

Proborders said at August 11, 2004 11:00 AM:

Bush's and Kerry's illegal aliens amnesty plans are both bad. See here.

In the future Republicans may need to decide if being pro-life (anti-abortion)is more important than dealing with the immigration issue. See "Platform battles risk GOP unity."

Proborders said at August 11, 2004 11:06 AM:


In the future Republicans may need to decide if being pro-life (anti-abortion) is more important than dealing with the immigration issue. See "Platform battles risk GOP unity."

Sam Smith said at April 18, 2005 6:35 AM:

Bush's legacy polocies are about as pathetic and fake as it comes. A man who only makes it to college on his daddy's name should not be saying anything. The sad thing is, however, that he would have had a hard time getting into a college with a high B average and without his daddy's name simply because he is a white male. The Affirmative action polocies that are supported do not allow for any students to enter colleges that are in the majority despite grades.

Randall Parker said at April 18, 2005 10:33 AM:

Sam Smith,

George W. Bush's SAT scores were high enough for him to gain admissions to Yale without being a son of an alumnus.

Also, back then only white males went to Yale.

Today his SAT scores would not be high enough to get him into Yale. Also, being a white male would now weigh against him.

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