What was the presidential election about?
In their victory speeches, Vice President Cheney and President Bush claimed a “mandate,” “historic victory,” and that “America has spoken.”
A mandate for what? A victory for what? How spake America?
Pundits have declared that the election was about “moral values.” Americans in the red states voted against homosexual marriage and abortion.
Let’s hope that this is correct. Otherwise, America is doomed if Bush’s reelection is based on his economic and foreign policy record.
Can you imagine our peril if Bush’s mandate is for unprecedented trade and budget deficits and job loss? Or for taking the country to war based on incompetence or deception?
Thankfully, the electorate did not give Bush a mandate for getting thousands of Americans killed and maimed for no other reason than the Bush administration’s inability to assess the intent and capability of Iraq. Bush’s reelection is not a mandate for establishing a dozen or more permanent US military bases in Iraq and expanding the war to Syria, Lebanon, and Iran.
If Bush limits his second term to homosexual marriage and abortion, we and the world will be a lot safer. Medical doctors will not stop putting the mother’s life first, and homosexuals are no more in need of marriage than the large percentage of heterosexuals who have abandoned it. Homosexual marriage has never been much more than a way to assert legitimacy that most rubs opponents’ noses in the proverbial.
If Americans allow Cheney, Bush and their neoconservative masters to claim a mandate for preemptive attack against misperceived enemies and for removing disliked dictators, no draft aged American and few countries without nuclear weapons are safe. If Republicans claim a mandate for moving American jobs offshore while amnestying millions of illegals, no American’s job is secure. If Bush claims a mandate for unprecedented red ink, American children have no future.
By all means, please let’s keep Bush’s mandates limited to moral values. Let us not even criticize the Christian right-wing for preening their “moral values” feathers while ratifying an illegal invasion that has killed somewhere between 15,000 and 100,000 innocent Iraqis, mostly women and children, and ended or ruined the lives of some 10,000 American sons, fathers, husbands and brothers.
For our own sakes, we must limit Bush’s mandate to a veto of homosexual marriage and to Supreme Court appointments that might, possibly, overturn Roe v. Wade.
Repeat after me: No mandate for preemptive war. No mandate for American Empire. No mandate for isolating America from its allies. No mandate for Israeli territorial expansion in the Middle East. No mandate for endless red ink. No mandate for selling out American jobs and occupations to foreigners. No mandate for a domestic police state.
I am beginning to like the outcome of this election.
PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS is John M. Olin Fellow at the Institute for Political Economy and Research Fellow at the Independent Institute. He is a former assistant secretary of the U.S. Treasury. He is the co-author of The Tyranny of Good Intentions.