In the good old days, the notion that white men were victims of racism was confined to the far shores of the racist right. When GOP politicians invoked this idea, they usually did so by calling for so-called "states' rights" -- a euphemism for beating back minority aspirations cloaked in seemingly libertarian terms. Rarely, if ever, has a White House overtly attempted to legitimize the idea of anti-white discrimination. Until now.
With Bush's approval ratings in the sewer, and a new poll by right-wing direct mail dean Richard Viguerie reflecting conservative discontent with Bush's supposedly "moderate" tilt (apparently Genghis Khan has become the new standard bearer of conservative ideology), the Bush Justice Department is suing Southern Illinois University for "engag[ing] in a pattern or practice of intentional discrimination against whites, non-preferred minorities and males." Yes, that is the actual language from its letter to SIU.
So what is the Bush DoJ's fuss all about? Well, to begin with, SIU is offering scholarships to minorities. It also is offering scholarship money for women. And finally, SIU has set a few thousand dollars aside for poor and "traditionally underrepresented students." Clearly, it's time for Whitey to kick the Mayflower into reverse. (Pam Spaulding at Pandagon has more.)
This transparently Rovian attempt to reinvigorate The Base's fervor for Bush comes on the heels of the Washington Post's report that, "Nearly 20 percent of the [Justice Department civil rights] division's lawyers left in fiscal 2005, in part because of a buyout program that some lawyers believe was aimed at pushing out those who did not share the administration's conservative views on civil rights laws." Ironically, the DoJ's racially-charged purge began in earnest only after the National Council of La Raza-backed Alberto Gonzales replaced John Ashcroft as Attorney General.
Gonzales's actions at the DoJ provide a perfect portrait of the Republican version of minority recruitment. Like Condi Rice, Claude Allen and lesser known but equally underqualified minority members of the Bush White House like Kay Coles James, Gonzales was guaranteed a high-level post on the condition that he work to reverse the policies that enabled his success and that of his peers. Meanwhile, the legacy programs that have ensured people like George W. Bush easy access to elite universities remain intact, thus preserving the future for victims of the new discrimination.