Clicking on banner ads enables JWR to constantly improve
Jewish World ReviewAugust 15, 2000 / 14 Menachem-Av, 5760

Evan Gahr

JWR's Pundits
World Editorial
Cartoon Showcase

Mallard Fillmore

Michael Barone
Mona Charen
Linda Chavez
Greg Crosby
Larry Elder
Don Feder
Suzanne Fields
James Glassman
Paul Greenberg
Bob Greene
Betsy Hart
Nat Hentoff
David Horowitz
Marianne Jennings
Michael Kelly
Mort Kondracke
Ch. Krauthammer
Lawrence Kudlow
Dr. Laura
John Leo
David Limbaugh
Michelle Malkin
Jackie Mason
Chris Matthews
Michael Medved
Kathleen Parker
Wes Pruden
Debbie Schlussel
Sam Schulman
Amity Shlaes
Roger Simon
Tony Snow
Thomas Sowell
Cal Thomas
Jonathan S. Tobin
Ben Wattenberg
George Will
Bruce Williams
Walter Williams
Mort Zuckerman

Consumer Reports

Meet Mr. Quotas -- HE IS HARDLY a household name, but Rick Boylan oversees perhaps the most stringent quota program in the nation.

Huddled in his office just two blocks from Congress, the dapper Montana native makes sure that women and minorities get their "fair share" of some highly coveted positions.

With some 4000 slots available only once every four years, Boylan uses a complex formula to divide the goodies between everybody from Hispanics in Connecticut to American Indians in California. Who is this stealth quota king? Is Boylan a federal judge determined to foist racial justice on countless municipalities? A bureaucrat deeply enconsced in the bowels of the federal government? Nope. He is executive director of party affairs and delegate selection for the Democratic Party.

Boylan works feverishly to guarantee that delegates to the party of equal opportunity's national convention are properly divided by race, gender and, now, "sexual lifestyle."

Homosexual recruitment was just instituted for the 2000 convention. But the general "affirmative action7 plan"--mandatory "goals" for women and minorities--has changed very little since it was first implemented for the 1972 convention (and the Dems say CONSERVATIVES live in the past and divide the country by race?) Ever since the Rev. Jesse Jackson in 1972 used the new rules to unseat some members of the Illinois delegates because of their unbearable whiteness of being, delegate selection has been one huge quota-fest.

If your only concern is appearance--a convention that supposedly "looks like America"--the policy works like a charm. At the 1996 convention in Chicago, the 4,289 delegates were reportedly 18.9% black, 9 percent Hispanic, and 1.4% American Indian. As of this writing, the numbers had not been tallied for the 4,369 delegates expected at the Democratic convention in Los Angeles. But look for another "gorgeous mosaic." Democratic functionaries and journalists will likely revel in the glorious diversity. Don't expect many explanations on how it was achieved.

If you think it is unpleasant to watch sausage or legislation made, consider this scheme. The Democratic National Committee requires that each state's delegates are equally divided by gender. State every Democratic party to submit a detailed plan for diversity among its convention delegation.

The"affirmative plan" must include specific goals and timetables for "African Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, Asian/Pacific Americans and women." (Notice that in DNC doublespeak the explicit quota for women is called a "goal." ) In any event, the delgate goals for the aforementioned racial and ethnic minorities must reflect their proportion of the state's Democratic electorate.

But it's not just white males who get shafted. Anybody can end up on the wrong side of this quota scheme. Even veritable civil-rights heroes are expendable if they tip the numbers the wrong way. Just ask Mamie Cunningham. One of the "Freedom Democrats" who in 1964 s challenged Mississippi's all-white delegation to the Democratic convention in Atlantic City, today she is a schoolteacher.

Ms. Cunningham was scheduled to be a delegate to the 2000 convention in Los Angeles. Then her gender interfered.

The DNC in mid-July alerted Mississippi state party officials that their delegation had two more women than men. To correct this horrific imbalance which could have kept the entire delegation from being seated, Mississippi state party officials promptly replaced Cunningham with a male state senator. (In the case of odd-numbered delegates, gender imbalances by one are allowed.) In late July however, a woman delegate offered to let Cunningham go in her place.

Nevertheless, Rick Boylan, the head of delegate selection for the Democratic National Committee, steadfastly denies quota mongering. What does he call the gender dictum that tripped up Ms. Cunningham. "A requirement."

Lola Simmons, a black gay woman, has no illusions that she was selected as a New York delegate to the 1996 convention solely on the content of her character. In 1995 a male colleague at the gay rights organization where she worked as an administrative assistant encouraged Simmons to become a delegate. Local party officials were more than happy to oblige. But the self-described "triple" does not "feel used."

She was just grateful to attend the convention in Chicago. With other openly gay delegates, Simmons met with then Rep. Charles Schumer (D-NY) and lobbied in favor of gay rights.

Still, Simmons yearns for the day when society is sufficiently "inclusive." Then, she says wistfully, affirmative action won't be needed. That prospect is hard to imagine but not because of the pervasive bigotry which Simmons and many other left-liberals suggest. The delegate plan, like any other racial spoils system, feeds on its own "success."

First minorities. Then women. Now gays. What's next? The transgendered?

So many quotas, so few delegates.

JWR contributor Evan Gahr, an adjunct fellow at the Hudson Institute, adapted this piece from his longer version for The American Spectator online. To comment click here.


08/01/00:The Visigoths are coming! The Visigoths are coming! ... Or so the media thinks
07/12/00: Geraldo's Food for Thought
06/27/00: Time for To Execute a Murderer
06/20/00: Hillary and the Cop-bashers: Will the real Ms. Rodham please stand up?
06/08/00: For voting rights purposes, should criminal offenders be judged not by the content of their character but the color of their skin?
05/10/00: Feminist Majority Rule
05/02/00: The Tin Man's Doctor
03/07/00: Bob Jones hypocrisy: Liberals are lecturing Americans on "anti-Catholicism"?
02/03/00: The red and the Black: The Left-wing Extremist in Bill Bradley’s Camp
01/06/00: Looking backwards: An anchorman's version of the 20th Century
12/16/99: Yellow journalism for the Pink Lady?
12/07/99: How to make the American Psychological Association squirm

© 2000, Evan Gahr. This article first appeared at The American Spectator Online