Does George Bush want a civil rights bill, as he says, or does he want an issue? Last Tuesday, Democrats on Capitol Hill announced they would rewrite the controversial "quotas bill," as the White House keeps calling it, to meet objections expressed by the administration. A White House spokesman immediately called the rewrite unacceptable. This was before he or the president had read the new version. Sounds like they want an issue.
Some hardliners in the administration think race is just another political issue. It isn't. Telling whites that blacks are taking jobs that are rightly theirs -- when that is not the case -- is too dangerous a ploy to be considered just another campaign tactic. It is despicable. Republicans like George Bush (and his father Sen. Prescott Bush before him) used to lead the chorus in criticizing this sort of politics when it was practiced by the unabashed racists of another day.
It may have been possible to argue that the earlier versions of the civil rights bill required quotas. That is hardly so now. The new version (co-authored by a Republican) not only says specifically that it does not "require" or "encourage" quotas, it makes it clear that it does not "allow" quotas.