THE SPINE NOVEMBER 21, 2006
I've admired Stuart Taylor since Mike Kinsley, the former editor of TNR, introduced me to his writing nearly 30 years ago. I read him still in National Journal. In the current issue of the Journal, Taylor writes in praise of Michigan voters for passing a constitutional amendment which they called the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative. It won with 58 percent of the electorate and in the context of a big Democratic victory in the state that one would have thought had tipped the scales against it. It reads, as Taylor points out, very much like similar initiatives in California in 1996 and Washington in 1998. So what does it say? "The state shall not discriminate against, or grant special treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education, or public contracting." Very direct, very simple.
You see where this leads. Affirmative action, an issue long seen as dormant, is still, as it turns out, a burning matter with the public. I myself had regretfully come to agree with Nathan Glazer that the fight against affirmative action as it had come to be construed was simply over. Here is powerful evidence that it is not. And it will be another trap for the Democrats.