Here’s a noisy, entertaining row about affirmative action. (It starts about five minutes in.)

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Although heated, the debate remains civil. Say what you want about Maddow, she is at least able to treat Buchanan as a human being. Unfortunately, Ezra Klein, chock-full of bien-pensant indignation, seems unwilling to do the same on his Washington Post blog:

I was going to post this video with the description “Rachel Maddow exposes Pat Buchanan as a huge racist.” But that’s not quite right. It’s more that she re-exposes him as a huge racist. It’s a good reminder of how weird it is that a caveman like Buchanan has been normalized as a valued and sage political commentator in recent years.

Watch Pat Buchanan on that clip. This is man who got his start helping Nixon divide and demoralize this country. Who helped destroy the Republican Party in 1992 by running one of the most noxious presidential campaigns in recent memory. Today, he is a name-brand political commentator who draws a paycheck from NBC.

Not all forms of affirmative action benefit the dispossessed. Some benefit the powerful. And affirmative action for the powerful goes a whole lot further back than affirmative action for the powerless. The futile assault that Jeff Sessions and Pat Buchanan mounted against Sonia Sotomayor was a rearguard defense for the system of privilege that has served them so well, and so faithfully. But Sessions fell short in his struggle. And Buchanan ended his week being dismissed as “dated” on Maddow’s show. They are losing, and they know it.