Friday, November 05, 2004

Mandate for Political Division

Let's be clear about what happened on Tuesday. There was no "nationwide" mandate for President Bush and his conservative policies as Vice President Cheney smugly concluded yesterday. President Bush ran on fear and divisive cultural issues and turned out more voters than his opponent. Despite the president's sunny calls for coming together, this election was a mandate for political division not unity. Progressives must remain strong and prepare for what is coming our way. The planks of this mandate include:

  • A full frontal assault in the culture war. "Now comes the revolution," stated right wing culture war dean Richard Viguerie yesterday. The president's fundamentalist base will demand payback and the Bush administration and its cohorts will respond in kind. They will push for a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage and civil unions; seek to criminalize a woman's right to choose; funnel more public funds to religious groups; and try to further erode the constitutional separation of church and state.

  • Creating more enemies than they eliminate. In the short-term, having postponed difficult operations in Fallujah and so-called "no-go zones," we face an enormously difficult task of preparing Iraq for elections in January that are unlikely to meet international standards as free and fair. Having admitted no mistakes in Iraq, it is doubtful that the president will be able to attract greater international support for Iraq. In this regrettable environment, Iraq will remain a terrorist safe haven and recruiting tool.

  • Dismantling of the social safety net and more tax policies for the wealthy. On the economic front, the president's people have already promised to begin efforts to privatize Social Security and begin attacking the foundations of public education. They will certainly seek to fully eliminate the tax on massive inherited wealth and will seek to permanently shift tax burdens off of capital and investment and onto labor.

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