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McCain and Race, Cont.

11:10 AM, Aug 1, 2008 • By TERRY EASTLAND
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To add to what Steve Hayes just posted, the deeper problem is this: If Schmidt holds such a high view of the Clinton record on race, how can anyone expect McCain to be adequately briefed on issues involving race? Already McCain is behind the curve, as consider this exchange with CNN's Wolf Blitzer (Hat tip: John Rosenberg):

BLITZER: You're in Colorado right now. They have an initiative on their ballot in November that would eliminate affirmative action. I don't know if you're familiar with that referendum, but is that a good idea?

MCCAIN: I'm not familiar with the referendum, Wolf. It's hard for me to say. I've always opposed quotas.

McCain obviously needs to be told that the Colorado measure, like the Arizona one McCain endorsed earlier this week, wouldn't outlaw affirmative action as such but only that affirmative action which uses race, ethnicity, or sex to allocate limited opportunities in the public sector--preferences, to boil it down. Also, it's useless to talk about "quotas," since supporters of preferences always say they are against quotas. The real issue is preferences and, in the context of the ballot measures, whether government should be in the business of counting and rewarding by race. By the way, the let's-be-proud-of-his-record on-race Clinton opposed quotas. But not preferences.