Bush & Bakke: Déjà vu All Over Again

Many on the

Naïve Right

over the first paragraphs in President

on Wednesday siding against the University
of Michigan for using a racial quota admissions system.

But (ahem!) didn`t the Supreme Court already outlaw
"quotas" 25 years ago in the

Bakke decision

Fat lot of good that did. And fat lot of good the
Administration`s "very narrowly tailored" brief to the
Supreme Court will do either.

Here on the Realist Right, it looks very different:
The Bush brief is a catastrophe for the cause of

equal treatment under the law
Bush-Rove have
almost completely caved in to


The President of the United States strongly endorsed
the goals of the racial spoils industry. And he
instructed it on more

devious means
to impose racial quotas.

Bush`s speech was a nudge-nudge-wink-wink to Justice
Sandra Day O`Connor to play Lewis Powell`s role in
: craft a seeming compromise that will throw a
rhetorical bone to anti-quota voters, but deliver red
meat to the

racial preference industry
. The Divesitycrats will
be allowed to carry on – just in a

more surreptitious manner
that won`t be as

to their victims.

This is exactly what happened in 1978. Allan Bakke
won! Quotas were outlawed! And nothing changed.

Here`s what

Karl Rove
is trying to do:

  1. Get the headlines: "Bush Attacks Quotas."
    Racial preferences are unpopular with voters overall,
    especially the 81% who are unprotected whites (of which
    Bush won a

    measly 54%
    in 2000, compared to the 59% his dad won
    in 1988). The liberals will predictably howl, boosting
    Bush`s popularity among the vast majority of voters who
    follow the news only casually.

  1. Appease the powerful Diversity Industry on the
    The Bush-Rove Plan will entrench the
    industry and make it a more amorphous target ("Quotas?
    We don`t need no steeenking quotas!"). As with Bakke,
    Bush`s base (which is about 92% whites voters) will take
    a long time to figure how they wound up with the fuzzy
    end of the lollipop after all the President`s brave

You think I`m over-reacting? Let`s review:

First, in his statement Monday Bush endorsed the
central issue in the lawsuit, the University of
Michigan`s goal of increased diversity. He said

"America is a diverse
country, racially, economically, and ethnically. And our
institutions of higher education should reflect our
diversity. A college education should teach respect and
understanding and goodwill. And these values are
strengthened when students live and learn with people
from many backgrounds. … We should not be satisfied with
the current numbers of minorities on American college
campuses. Much progress has been made; much more is

Likewise, a "senior
Administration official" anonymously

the press after the speech:

"The President strongly
promotes diversity and made it very clear in his
statement today that schools have to take serious,
aggressive and honest efforts to promote diversity. …
That means we want to have students who are white, who
are black, who are Hispanic, who are Asian, who are
rich, who are poor, who come from rural and urban areas,
who are handicapped, who are physically able. We want
genuine diversity. And a component of genuine diversity
is racial diversity. … [The
President] wanted to make clear, as he did in his
statement, that trying to promote the broadest possible
diversity, including racial diversity, is an important

According to this shadowy Bush representative:

"What the government is
going to argue in the brief is that any time there is a
consideration of race, the Court has said you have to
look to see if there are race-neutral alternatives.
There are race-neutral alternatives here; we know that."

In other words, the
Bush Administration is saying that universities are
supposed to achieve their "diversity goals" (a.k.a.,
quotas). They should just do it in a more cunning

The briefer
summarized the White House`s stance with this inspiring

"You should not be making
decisions based on race without first trying
race-neutral alternatives."

Helpfully, Bush outlined various schemes to jigger
admissions systems to achieve the same results as
straightforward quotas:

"Some states are using
innovative ways to diversify their student bodies.
Recent history has proven that diversity can be achieved
without using quotas. Systems in California and Florida
and Texas have proven that by guaranteeing admissions to
the top students from high schools throughout the state,
including low income neighborhoods, colleges can attain
broad racial diversity. In these states, race-neutral
admissions policies have resulted in levels of minority
attendance for incoming students that are close to, and
in some instances slightly surpass, those under the old
race-based approach."

(It`s worth noting that while the Bush Brothers`

"X-percent solutions"
in Texas and Florida are

blatant schemes
for achieving quotas, they are an

even bigger waste of taxpayer dollars
than the
old-fashioned honest quotas. Quotas at least admit the
highest potential students within each race. But the
Bush Brothers` schemes discriminate against smarter
minority students who get poorer grades because they
attend integrated high schools. Harvard long ago
virtually gave up on admitting applicants from all-black
schools because their performance was so dire.)

Bush went on:

"University officials have
the responsibility and the obligation to make a serious,
effective effort to reach out to students from all walks
of life, without falling back on unconstitutional

Similarly, the
anonymous “senior Administration official” explained –

"And, indeed, what the
President said very clearly is, he said university
officials shouldn`t just look to take the easy way out,
they need to take hard steps — to go out and recruit
and increase the pool of applicants; make their schools
more attractive to minority students; and come up with
lawful and constitutional ways to increase the number of
minority students. He strongly believes that we have
made a great deal of progress, but we haven`t made
enough progress."

In other words,
colleges prevented from discriminating explicitly by
race are being told to keep up their black and Hispanic
quotas by recruiting minorities more vigorously. Of
course, this beggar-thy-neighbor policy can`t work on
the national level. It doesn`t create any additional
qualified minorities. It just

ups the bidding
for the existing ones.

And increasing
demand without increasing supply of course leads to
higher prices for those minorities. They are given more
scholarships precisely due to their race.

Mr. Bush went on:

"Schools should seek
diversity by considering a broad range of factors in
admissions, including a student`s potential and life

This is an
endorsement of the method the University of California
recently installed for


Proposition 209
ban on racial preferences.

The “Senior
Administration Official” recommended "a personal
statement that people can make about whether they`ve
overcome any hardship."

For example, at
UCLA applicants are now told to write whiney essays on
the "life challenges" they have suffered. The kind of
hardships largely peculiar to

preferred minorities
(such as having been

) are given extra credit.

Bush`s speech is an
unsubtle call to erect a photographic negative of the
kind of

nominally colorblind
devices – for example, poll
taxes – that Jim Crow states once used to discriminate
against blacks.

Here`s the harsh
truth. The only way we could tell if we`ve actually
eliminated racial preferences is if the percentage of
blacks and Hispanics in elite schools falls sharply, and
stays down for many years.  (But the ones who remained
would perform as well as whites. And more minorities
would complete courses at second-tier schools, rather
than being mis-matched and burned out at elite ones.)

In all likelihood,
the Supreme Court won`t dare make such a sharp reduction
happen. This will be despite the letter of the law – a
measure of the diversity`s distortion of our
Anglo-American institutions.

It`s time to start
thinking about what can be salvaged from the wreck.
Above all: to minimize the damage done by quotas, we
must have immigration reform – to slow the growth of
racially-preferred groups.

[Steve Sailer [email
him] is founder of the Human Biodiversity Institute and

movie critic

The American Conservative
His website

features his daily

January 16, 2003