July 18, 2009

Idiot of the Week: Pat Buchanan

Here we are with another installment of the Idiot of the Week series. Each Saturday, one shining example of idiocy from the previous week is selected for special recognition.

You know it has been a good week for idiocy when Christian extremist Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS) does not win for his Human Physical-Mental Enhancement Prohibition Act! What could possibly trump Brownback's idiocy? It was a tough call, but I've been watching the Sotomayor confirmation hearings with fascination and have observed almost too much idiocy to handle. To be clear, I have seen it from both political parties. As much fun as some of the Republican questions have been, the Democrats have absolutely squandered a perfect opportunity to explain many of the problems with the Roberts court. Both sides should be embarrassed.

But even worse than watching the hearings themselves, I saw Pat Buchanan on Maddow. After that, it was clear that he deserved Idiot of the Week even though I had already written (but not published) a post declaring a different winner. If you have not watched the clip of him arguing with Maddow, you really should see it in its entirety. It is a watershed moment in the history of race in America that we will be talking about for years to come (I hope).

I'd like to be clear that I'm not bestowing this honor on Buchanan simply because he opposes affirmative action. Based on my experience with graduate admissions, I have serious questions about the merits of affirmative action. That said, this is pure idiocy:
White men were 100% of the people that wrote the Constitution, 100% of the people that signed the Declaration of Independence, 100% of the people who died at Gettysburg and Vicksburg, probably close to 100% of the people who died at Normandy. This has been a country built basically by white folks, who were 90% of the nation in 1960 when I was growing up and the other 10% were African-Americans who had been discriminated against. That's why.
If we want to have a real discussion about the pros and cons of affirmative action, we need to start by acknowledging that there are pros and cons. Stating that the purpose of affirmative action is "to increase diversity by discriminating against white males," as Buchanan does contributes nothing.