The Republican National Committee rushed away from the Senate candidacy of former Ku Klux Klan grand dragon David Duke earlier this year. Incoming RNC Chair Bill Bennett, however, has embraced Duke’s platform by scoring Democrats for their support of affirmative action, which he defines as the process whereby whites lose their jobs to less qualified blacks.
Duke may have lost the election, but he won the ideological war. If Bennett has his way, the 1992 national election will set middle-class whites against blacks, the sort of struggle Duke has spent his life instigating.
Despite The Times’ choice of words, there is nothing “curious” about Bennett’s approach. With Willie Horton as the MVP of George Bush’s 1988 campaign, and Sen. Jesse Helms’ success invoking the issue this fall, Bennett apparently hopes the Duke strategy will distract an angry electorate from its economic woes.
Democrats and Republicans should follow The Times’ lead by exposing Bennett’s assault for what it is, and reminding Americans of the profound benefits of diversity at all levels.
JOHN B. EMERSON