TIME MACHINE

John McCain Fears ENDA Will Lead To Quotas And Busing

The desk calendar in Sen. John McCain’s office must be from 1971, because McCain’s fears about the Employment Non-Discrimination act smell of that era. In comments to the Huffington Post, the Arizona Republican expressed concerns that civil rights legislation like ENDA often has bad outcomes, like busing, quotas and reverse discrimination. “Whether it imposes quotas, whether it has reverse discrimination, whether it has the kinds of provisions that really preserve equal rights for all citizens or, like for example, busing,” McCain said. “Busing was done in the name of equality. Busing was a failure. Quotas were a failure. A lot of people thought they were solutions. They weren’t. They bred problems.” Perhaps McCain is confusing ENDA with The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. Or perhaps McCain hasn’t had an original idea about civil rights since the first Nixon administration, Just to show his bona fides, McCain insisted that “young people” (by which he means people who just qualified to join AARP) agree with him. “I think the young people know we do not need reverse discrimination, they don’t believe in quotas and they don’t believe in some of the programs we saw in the name of racial equality implemented in the past which turned out to be counterproductive,” he said. “Ask people in Boston if busing turned out to be a good idea.” Just go to your nearest senior center to pop that question. In the meantime, the momentum for ENDA in the Senate is accelerating. The New York Times tweets that Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and probably the most conservative Democrat in the Senate, will support ENDA. Manchin was the last Democrat to sign on to the legislation. Under the perverse supermajority tradition that Republicans have established in the Obama era, a bill needs 60 votes to pass. Otherwise, it faces the threat of a filibuster, and the threat alone can kill the measure. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told the Washington Post Wednesday, “I’ve talked with Democrats and Republicans and I think we’ve got 60 now.” So ENDA may finally make it out of one chamber of Congress. No word yet on the plans for the House.