McCain Confused About Affirmative Action

Our guest blogger is Daniella Gibbs Leger, the Vice President for Communications at American Progress Action Fund.

mccain2.JPGLast week I attended the UNITY Conference in Chicago. Along with over 7,000 journalists of color, I was wondering why Sen. John McCain would pass up the opportunity to speak to such a large gathering of reporters, and now we have our answer. He was busy getting ready to flip-flop on affirmative action. On ABC’s This Week, McCain reversed himself and came out in support of Ward Connerly’s attempt to end affirmative action in Arizona.

Ten years ago, McCain called a similar ballot initiative “divisive.” But back then he wasn’t running for President, trying to appeal to wary conservatives. McCain’s explanation for this flip is that he “doesn’t support quotas.” That’s great. But that’s not what Connerly is trying to outlaw.

Connerly is on quest to not allow public institutions to “…grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity or national origin, in the operation of public employment, public education or public contracting.” That’s not about quotas, Sen. McCain.

Perhaps he didn’t read the referendum first. But as the Senator from Arizona, I would expect him to know the details of such a controversial ballot initiative in his home state. I look forward to hearing the Maverick McCain explain his way out of this one.