Supreme court rams race back on the presidential plate

Earl Ofari Hutchinson | 3/7/2012, 8:49 a.m.

The recent spate of musings and articles by talk show hosts, websites, blogs and news reports that the president has written off white workers in his re-election bid, fits neatly into the bogus scenario that minorities are poised to be the prime beneficiaries of a second Obama term.

This makes the Supreme Court’s decision to take up affirmative action even more irresistible to the GOP as an issue to back Obama into a corner and hopefully get him to take a strong public position in support of affirmative action. If that happens the GOP will quickly pounce and play it up for all its worth to attempt to prick the racial suspicions and sensitivity of some white voters.

But this might not be as cut and dried as the GOP would like us all to believe. Congress has repeatedly backed away from dismantling affirmative action programs, beginning a decade ago when lawmakers shelved anti-affirmative action legislation.

President Bill Clinton followed suit. He drew much heat for his plan to modify some aspects of the programs, but eventually dropped his administration’s talk about further watering down affirmative action programs.

Neither the Obama administration, nor any of the GOP presidential contenders have uttered a word about the Supreme Court’s decision to take up the case. It’s simply too hot an issue at this early stage of the campaign to weigh in.

But the court’s likely anti-affirmative action ruling timed for November, or before, will almost certainly change that. The certainty now is that affirmative action will be shoved back on the presidential plate.

Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst.