Jan. 18th, 2003

sisyphusshrugged: (Default)
So, the question we were pondering yesterday - what race-neutral reason did the Bush administration have for putting Dr Rice at the forefront of the Michigan debate - has just gotten a little more complicated.

It seems as if someone in the White House has misrepresented Dr. Rice's views on race to the Washington Post just in time for her denial to go in the Saturday papers, which no-one reads.

Apparently there's someone in the White House who the Post talks to on background (Karl Rove, anyone?) who wanted liberals to read that Dr. Rice supports completely race-neutral admissions and conservatives not to read that she doesn't.

So: what race-neutral reason do you suppose they would have to do that?

(Yeah, I heard about Stanford).

Anyway, apparently she's OK with race as a factor as long as it isn't a quota, but she agrees with Bush that this is a quota system (Ari Fleischer says because too much weight is given to race, which makes no sense at all, and apparently doesn't apply to athletes or aspiring male yooper nurses, even though an aspiring white male yooper nurse would actually get one more point...)

(note: Yooper = Upper Peninsula = underserved Michigan counties)

In an extraordinary departure from the White House's carefully crafted public stand on affirmative action, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice Friday issued a statement saying that using race as a factor to achieve diversity on college campuses is "appropriate.”

In making the statement, Rice -- the highest-ranking black on the White House staff -- broke the silence of Bush officials on that specific politically charged question a day after administration lawyers filed briefs siding with white students challenging the University of Michigan's use of race in admissions in an important Supreme Court case.

Senior administration officials said Rice's statement was her personal view. They said it was prompted by a front-page Washington Post story, about her prominent role in shaping President George W. Bush's response to the Michigan policies, that she felt misrepresented her view of affirmative action.

But that circumstance did not immediately dampen the effect of her public statement, which angered Bush's backers, who staunchly oppose any use of race as a factor in college admissions, and delighted liberal supporters of affirmative action.

Rice was very angry about the article, said a senior administration official speaking on the condition of anonymity.

The article reported that Rice met with Bush several times and used her experience as Stanford University's provost "to help convince him that favoring minorities was not an effective way of improving diversity on college campuses.”

Rice has long believed in affirmative action, although she opposes racial quotas, the official said.

"I agree with the president's position, which emphasizes the need for diversity and recognizes the continued legacy of racial prejudice, and the need to fight it,” Rice said in the statement issued Friday.

But she pointedly added, "I believe that while race-neutral means are preferable, it is appropriate to use race as one factor among others in achieving a diverse student body.”

Rice repeated her views on the black-oriented American Urban Radio Networks that there are circumstances "in which it is necessary to consider race as a factor among many factors.”

White House spokesman Scott McClellan and other officials said that Bush was leaving the question of whether race can be legitimately considered in achieving diversity up to the high court.

The Bush administration's briefs urged the court to strike down Michigan's policies as unconstitutional quotas and to require schools to try race-neutral methods to diversify college campuses.

Some conservatives already were disappointed in the limited sweep of the friend-of-the-court briefs. Rice's comments only aggravated their anger.

Roger Clegg, general counsel for the conservative Center for Equal Opportunity, which opposes racial preferences, said he considered it possible that Rice was simply reacting to the article. "It's disappointing,” he said. "She's not being a team player.

"I'm a little sad I'm going to have to take one of my pinup girls down,” Clegg said, joking.

But Ralph Neas, of the liberal nonprofit People for the American Way, pointed out that two black Bush cabinet members -- Rice and Secretary of State Colin Powell -- both support affirmative action.

"It is very good news that both Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell agree that it is appropriate to use race in achieving diversity in student body,” he said. "It also reflects precisely both what the law of the land has been for a quarter of a century and what a bipartisan majority of the American people support.”

Powell has been mum on the White House's Michigan decision. A senior State Department official said Powell and Bush have spoken from time to time about the affirmative action issue and Powell "did hear from the president” about the decision.

But, the official said, Powell played no role in developing the administration's view on the case. The official said, "It is not in the scope of his duties.”


You know, I almost feel sorry for her.
sisyphusshrugged: (Default)
The morning after story from the Washington Post:

Rice's statement came after an article in The Washington Post yesterday in which several White House aides said she had played a crucial role in Bush's deliberations and helped persuade him to publicly oppose Michigan's program. Officials who described her role to The Post noted that it was unusual for her to become such a major factor in an issue that did not involve foreign policy. Their comments had the effect of associating a respected African American adviser to Bush with a decision that has been criticized by many black leaders. Rice reportedly was angry about the article in part because she believed it had been written only because she is black.

Rice, the first black provost of Stanford University before joining the administration, has become so close to the president and first lady Laura Bush that she is often described as a de facto member of the family, spending many of her weekends with them at Camp David.

Some of his other best friends are mexican, on dit.


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