Charles Krauthammer of the *Washington Post* and David Brooks of the *New York Times* must have been mind-melding just after the nomination of John Roberts for the recently opened Supreme Court vacancy. They each make the same preposterous claim about Roberts’ ethnicity. Brooks (sorry we cannot link the article) writes,
President Bush consulted widely, moved beyond the tokenism of identity politics and selected a nominee based on substance, brains, careful judgment and good character.
The next day,
Charles Krauthammer follows him:
And there were two kinds of history available to him — ethnic or ideological: nominating the first Hispanic, which is a history of sorts, or nominating a young judge who would move the court to the right for the next 25 years. President Bush eschewed the more superficial option and went for the real thing.
Each of these claims rests on the fallaciously dichotomous, however tacit, assumption that the choice Bush faced was one between qualified and male white or unqualified but “ethnic” or perhaps “someone with a racial identity”. In Brooks’ case, the very choice of a white man constitutes “moving beyond the tokenism of identity politics.” “Anglo-white” and “conservative catholic” do not for some reason constitute an identity for Brooks. In a similar fashion, Krauthammer does not wonder whether a non-white candidate could have “moved the court to the right”; the choice was for him, as it was for Brooks, between two exclusive categories of thing: a qualified white-male candidate, or a superficial or politically motivated choice of a non-white candidate. Perhaps before making such a ludicrous claim, Brooks and Krauthammer might establish, which they do not, that no non-white male was qualified for the job.