Pat Buchanan prefers the old bigotry

Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

But is that really a surprise?

Here's Buchanan, on the possibility that affirmative action helped Sonia Sotomayor get into Princeton:

This is bigotry pure and simple. To salve their consciences for past societal sins, the Ivy League is deep into discrimination again, this time with white males as victims rather than as beneficiaries.

One prefers the old bigotry. At least it was honest, and not, as Abraham Lincoln observed, adulterated "with the base alloy of hypocrisy."

Keep in mind, Buchanan is writing about the early 1970s. The "old bigotry" he prefers is segregation, if not slavery.

It almost seems silly to take issue with anything else Buchanan writes after he has expressed his preference for "the old bigotry," but he churns out some other nonsense that requires response.


Thus, Sotomayor got into Princeton, got her No. 1 ranking, was whisked into Yale Law School and made editor of the Yale Law Review -- all because she was a Hispanic woman. And those two Ivy League institutions cheated more deserving students of what they had worked a lifetime to achieve, for reasons of race, gender or ethnicity.

"Whisked into Yale Law School"? What evidence is there of that? She got into Yale Law after winning Princeton's highest academic prize. Buchanan is pulling a fast one, here: Sotomayor has said that her SAT scores were lower than most of her Princeton classmates (though we don't know how much lower, and the same can be said for nearly half of all Princeton students.) But Buchanan implies, without offering any evidence, that her grades at Princeton, admission to Yale, and editorship of the Yale Law Review were also the result of affirmative action. (The Weekly Standard's Michael Goldfarb has tried, with Wile E. Coyote-esque results, to argue that Sotomayor benefited from "preferential treatment" while at Princeton and Yale. But he hasn't been able to produce any evidence.)

And what does "more deserving" mean, anyway? SAT scores are not a perfect proxy for how "deserving" a student is, and have never been used as such in college admissions. If they were, applications wouldn't involve essays or lists of extracurricular activities or leadership or volunteer experience, or even high school grades. Thousands of admissions department workers across the country would never have had jobs; colleges would simply rank all applicants by SAT scores, take the top X students, and call it a day. This is, again, literally never the way things have worked at any college. Ever. Anywhere.

But Buchanan has to contend that "more deserving" = "higher SAT score," even though that is not how the world has ever worked, or should ever work. Otherwise, he'd have to deal with some sticky questions. Like: Was a woman of Puerto Rican heritage who grew up in the South Bronx and thrived academically in high school really less "deserving" of a spot at Princeton in the early 1970s than a white male child of wealthy parents whose academic record was comparable, but who scored a bit better on the SATs? It requires a highly questionable definition of "deserving" to conclude that she was not.

More Buchanan:

Two weeks ago, The New York Times reported that, to get up to speed on her English skills at Princeton, Sotomayor was advised to read children's classics and study basic grammar books during her summers. How do you graduate first in your class at Princeton if your summer reading consists of "Chicken Little" and "The Troll Under the Bridge"?

No. That is a lie. The New York Times did not report any such thing. The Times reported that Sotomayor "spent summers reading children's classics she had missed in a Spanish-speaking home." That's different from reporting that she was advised to do so. And the Times gave no indication that such children's classics were the extent of Sotomayor's "summer reading," or that "children's classics" meant things like Chicken Little rather than, say, The Hobbit.

If you think those are inconsequential differences, ask yourself why Buchanan felt the need to exaggerate the Times' reporting. If Buchanan really cannot see the difference between what the Times reported and what he says the paper reported, perhaps he should spend some time with Chicken Little this summer.

More Buchanan:

From college days to court days, that career reflects, in word and deed, a determination to use any power she achieves to create a society where the demands of diversity triumph over the ideal of equal justice under law. For Sotomayor, the advancement of people of color over white males is justice.

People who have actually looked at Sotomayor's rulings have concluded pretty much the opposite, which may be why Buchanan doesn't cite a single example in support of his claim.

Pat Buchanan
Supreme Court Nominations, Sotomayor Nomination
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