Our discussion of Powell's piece got me thinking about his role in the power of the conservative movement at the moment. Was it his status that really got the ball rolling on the ideas he proposed in the piece? Everything I've read about Powell labels him as a true moderate on the Supreme Court. For instance, in one of his landmark decisions, he voted to strike down racial quotas in universiy admissions in Regents of the University of California v. Bakke (1978), yet supported affirmative action as a general concept.
This piece is most likely just what the conservative movement needed. These ideas came from a well-respected figure who supposedly did not identify himself with the conservative party. Therefore, my question is, would these ideas have had much of an impact if they came from a staunch conservative? I don't think they would have. Also, I think the fact that he was appointed to the Supreme Court, a position which, in theory, is non-partisan (although we all know this isn't the case), shortly after writing this piece, added weight to his arguments. Maybe Nixon had this in mind when he appointed him to the bench
So, it could be that liberals need someone of similar stature to Powell to disseminate progressive ideas. This may be the only way for them to regain power.