U.S. presidential election, 2004: The Culture War

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Sidney Blumenthal, in his March 4, 2004, Guardian/UK article "Bush goes to war with modernity" writes that President George W. Bush, "faltering on the economic and national security fronts [has] opened another war: the culture war" in U.S. presidential election, 2004. [1]

He states that Bush's 2000 campaign for the presidency was based on Compassionate Conservatism, thereby "softening his edges and separating himself from the hard right." However, since "he lost the popular vote by more than half a million, ... he has decided he has no choice but to chase his base" for this presidential election. [2]

Blumenthal itemizes what he calls Bush's "blitzkrieg" in the culture war: [3]

  • proposed "a constitutional amendment against gay marriage."
  • "dismissed two scientists who dissented on his bioethics board, which he has used to ban forms of stem cell research, replacing them with adherents of the religious right."
  • "made a recess appointment of William Pryor of Alabama as a federal judge, blocked in the Senate for his extremism. Pryor had said that 'abortion is murder' and supported the building of an altar of the 10 commandments in a courthouse."
  • Attorney General John Ashcroft "subpoenaed the medical records of women who have had abortions at planned parenthood clinics."
  • supported "the unborn victims of violence bill, creating a new federal crime of foetal homicide that passed the Republican-dominated House of Representatives on February 26."

In summary, Blumental writes, "At Bush's order, the Senate is being transformed into a battlefield of the culture war." [4]

In her February 18, 2004, column "Bush Rouses The Sleeping Dogs Of The Culture War", Arianna Huffington writes:[5]

Although President Bush told us "'I'm a war president', ... as the body count in Iraq continues to rise, the president's approval rating plummets, and the furor over phantom WMD, sexed-up intel, and Bush's spotty Air National Guard service refuses to go away, it appears Karl Rove is planning a small rewrite for his candidate: 'I'm a culture war president.'

"Remember that divisive pre-9/11 campaign staple? Well, it's flared up again -- with a vengeance and a rash of new administration actions clearly aimed at shoring up the president's Christian conservative base.

"In the last month, the president has traded in his too-tight flight suit for a revival tent, backing a new anti-obscenity crusade, anti-condom sex-ed programs, a renewed commitment to fighting the drug war, and his attorney general's efforts to poke around the private medical records of women who've had abortions. He even hinted in his State of the Union that he'd be willing to endorse a constitutional ban on gay marriage.

"With Silver Starred John Kerry threatening the president's hold on the high ground of national defense, Team Bush has decided it's time to switch battlefields and start screaming about Sodom and Gomorrah."

Also see rebranding the Bush administration

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