Now that Senator Lott has stepped down as Majority Leader, Republicans are actually in a stronger position to oppose racial and ethnic preferences – a.k.a. “affirmative action” – than they were before. They have proved that they take a commitment to nondiscrimination seriously, having gotten rid of a Majority Leader whose credibility on the issue had been seriously compromised, and can point out that it is the nondiscrimination principle that dictates their opposition to preferences. It doesn’t matter whose ox is being gored: Discrimination in wrong. So that’s the good news. The bad news is that the current frontrunner to replace Lott, Bill Frist, was a key architect of a 1998 bill that pushed quotas onto nursing schools in exchange for federal funding. But there’s also the good news that Senator Frist supported as well Senator Mitch McConnell’s legislation in 1998 that would have stripped racial and ethnic preferences out of the federal highway program. Maybe it would be safer, though, for the Republicans just to pick McConnell as their leader instead.