CROSSFIRE REDUX….I know I’ve been going on lately about how liberals should market themselves, and I promise not to make a habit of it, but here’s another observation from the last few minutes of Crossfire that I caught today.
The subject was affirmative action and Paul Begala started in on legacy admissions: “Why is Bush against affirmative action when the only reason he got into Yale is because his Daddy went there? He didn’t deserve to get in either.” (Or words to that effect.) Robert Novak’s response: “What’s wrong with you people? I’m really tired of all the Bush bashing.” (Or words to that effect.)
Now, I have no problem with Bush bashing, but Novak has a point: Bush is still a pretty popular guy, and couching an affirmative action argument as an anti-Bush diatribe probably isn’t very effective. Maybe it’s OK for us bloggers with small audiences, but not for CNN where you should be trying to persuade undecided viewers.
What is it that keeps the liberals from just making a simple, straightforward case?
Universities give preferences for lots of things: athletic prowess, legacy admissions, musical talent, etc. [Insert numbers here if you have them.] All of these admissions prevent a more academically qualified person from being admitted, but all of them also serve the purpose of making the university a better place that serves a greater variety of people. Why is it that race is the only factor that Republicans object to considering?
I know that’s not necessarily going to convince anyone either, but at least it’s honest and makes the best case possible. Unfortunately, most liberals come across horribly on TV, acting as if they haven’t given even a moment’s thought to how they are going to explain their position, or what kind of explanation might best appeal to their audience.
It’s a shame.
POSTSCRIPT: Yeah, I know: it’s Crossfire, not exactly a bastion of reasoned commentary. But still….