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The Bush effort on civil rights.

How long has the lazy press been sitting on this report? Today’s NYT editorial talks about the official Bush record on civil rights. Basically, he sucks. But at least we get details on how badly. The report itself is at www.usccr.gov.

…a majority of the eight commissioners on the United States Commission on Civil Rights voted in 2002 to put the agency’s staff reports on the Internet as soon as they are completed. That way, the public can read them before the commissioners hold public hearings to discuss the staff’s findings.

The latest report – an assessment of President Bush’s civil rights record – was put on the agency’s Web site in September. But at their October meeting, less than a month before the election, the commissioners declined to discuss it. Objecting to the report’s timing, the four commissioners appointed by President Bush and the Congressional Republican leadership managed to put off any discussion until the postelection meeting, scheduled for today.

The commission owes the public a spirited debate, especially if, as the report indicates, the apparent aim of the Bush administration is to break with long-established civil rights tactics and priorities. This question takes on a new urgency with the appointment of the White House counsel, Alberto Gonzales, as the next attorney general because he was deeply involved in the formulation of administration policy on these issues in the first term.

The report, which is still available online, is a scathing 166-page assessment of an administration that has, at best, neglected core civil rights issues. It cites numerous examples of administration attempts to replace affirmative action with “race neutral” alternatives, to focus on voter fraud rather than the more insidious problem of voter disenfranchisement and to recast taxpayers’ support for religious institutions as a civil right for people of faith, rather than as a constitutional issue involving the separation of church and state.

Why did the press sleep on this…oh, nevermind.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding