Barack Obama's brave attempt at plowing new ground on race is just the beginning of an extended debate that the Democrats need to have. The issue: Is affirmative action the reason for the flight of lower middle-class white men from the Democratic Party?

Affirmative action doesn't work the same way across the classes. It works with a vengeance at lower income levels, skilled trades and paraprofessionals but leaves the glass ceiling alone.

The Republicans, for their part, are dominated by even more wealthy white men who won't help the fellows in question because they are a gift from the Democrats. Perhaps Libertarians can preach the free-market gospel to lower-income white men, citing the market as their only deliverer against the institutions stacked against them.

Lew E. Jeppson

North Salt Lake