Kevin Drum performs the invaluable service of summarizing Bush the Lesser's actions on racially sensitive issues since the ouster of Trent Lott from his leadership post, including his choice of Martin Luther King's birthday to announce his opposition to the University of Michigan's affirmative action program (which he dishonestly described as a quota system), the renomination of Judge Charles Pickering, who arguably has a judicial record that's hostile to civil rights, [and] the phony story about Condoleeza Rice's support for the aforementioned brief
, and reviving a tradition his father discontinued of paying homage to Confederate soldiers.
Let's apply a little logic to this situation: Given the premises a) that Bush seeks to appeal to suburban, middle-class voters uncomfortable with policies that smack of racism or b) that Bush feels he has to appeal to a small but ardent core GOP constituency of unreconstructed racists, which premise does this set of actions support? While any one of these actions may be explainable, at some point the forest emerges from among the trees. Bush has sent a clear message with this series of actions. It remains to be seen if whatever political calculations that inspired them prove correct.
Update: As I mentioned in a subsequent post, Time has run a correction regarding its story about the Confederate memorial.