Monday, May 08, 2006

Clinton Defends Patrick's Record

The folks over at Blue Mass. Group have a discussion going over Jon Keller's recent Boston Magazine article, which details what Keller considers gubernatorial candidate Deval Patrick's "Big Problem" -- namely his work on affirmative action while in the Clinton Justice Department. Keller has unearthed a couple of right wing ideologues -- including one Clint Bolick -- who referred to Patrick as the "Quota King" back during his confirmation hearings and during the appointment of his successor at the Justice Department. I had expected the right to push this view of Patrick's tenure in the Clinton Administration, and to be honest I'm a little disappointed that Keller would swallow the right's talking points so whole-heartedly.

In any case, here's what President Bill Clinton had to say in response Patrick's critics at the time as quoted in an article from Jet Magazine (emphasis added):

Clinton also rallied to Patrick's defense by quickly quashing critics' attempts to discredit his record.

Pounding his fist on the podium, Clinton said this time critics were "going to be exposed because they never believed in the civil rights laws, they never believed in equal opportunity, they never lifted a finger to give anybody of a minority race a chance in this country ... If they attack his record it means just exactly what we've all suspected all along, they don't give a riff about civil rights."
Those are Bill Clinton's words, not mine, but who am I to argue with someone who got 61% of the Massachusetts vote in 1996.

As far as quotas go, here's what Patrick himself had to say in a 1997 PBS NewsHour Interview:
I think that there is no one in this administration, from the President on down, who supports quotas, and the courts have said repeatedly that affirmative action can be done and in some circumstances must be done without resort to quotas.
That doesn't sound like a "Quota King" to me. I would imagine that one would have to be in favor of quotas to claim that title.

By the way, I had Clint Bolick pegged as an anti-affirmative action zealot a year ago when the Herald dug him up for an anti-Patrick quote. This guy is not credible when it comes to this issue unless you're specifically looking for someone to attack affirmative action. If I can find this out, there's no reason that real journalists and pundits can't confirm this before quoting him without that disclaimer.