Marx defined the ruling class as those who control the means of production. But that seems so 19th Century. Today, the key is to control the terms of discourse.
For example, consider how affirmative action largely disappeared as something disussable in polite society in recent years. John McCain had a chance to take it up as an issue in 2008 but
decided not to touch it. How`d that work out for him?
Today, people are talking about affirmative action again because Obama blundered by appointing a judge who had voted against Frank Ricci.
And yet, consider how the discourse remains structured even among Sotomayor`s critics: as a moral issue of fair play. Hey, it`s 2009: why not talk also about it as an economic issue? Can we continue to afford racial/ethnic preferences? Will we be able to continue to afford them in the future as the country adds 97 million Hispanics from 2000 to 2050?