Conservative election and trench warfare in the USA
Just a few months ago, when the torture images from Iraq were making the rounds and the polls were showing George W. Bush in the lead. Bush were plummeting, some political commentators in the U.S. and Europe were already writing obituaries for the incumbent president. A premature judgment, because Bush is far from out of the race. Latest polls show him neck-and-neck with Democratic challenger John Kerry, and trending upward again. The news spread by interested parties about the political death of the Texas president is, to paraphrase a bon mot by Mark Twain, consequently very dubious, or rather, too much so. greatly exaggerated
All too brash eulogies to George W. Bush, his neoconservative ideologues and pious allies on the Christian right are therefore missing the political realities in the United States.
The strong conservative movement, which is sometimes divided because of the Bush Doctrine, is very much alive there – despite all the difficulties and setbacks of the last few months. This begins with the successful installation of conservative bastions in U.S. public life, where an entire network of militant TV preachers, arch-reactionary talk-show hosts, and right-wing radio hosts, to reading circles, book clubs, and singles clubs exclusively for conservatives, has been established. A web that, not least through the adoption of grassroots strategies of the left (which in the U.S. are mostly liberals heiben) could be spun fine-meshed and tightly.
"I feel like God wants me to run for President. I can’t explain it, but I sense my country is going to need me.
George W. Bush reportedly told this to Texas Secretary James Robison in 1999, according to Stephen Mansfield in "The Faith of George W. Bush" reports.
Connoisseurs of the Republican Party pointed out years ago that the crusaders of the Christian right had, through clever networking have gained considerable influence at the grassroots level. Moreover, since the 2000 election victory, the religious right has a prominent patron in the administration in Attorney General John Ashcroft. Ashcroft, who, in an almost grotesque act of prudery, loved to cover the statues of the deflowered Justitia (the U.S. introduced the compulsory veil), exemplifies the arch-conservative orientation of the U.S. fundamentalists, who regard Bush as an outlaw brother in their faith. Religious Protestants had the highest hopes for a Bush administration that, after Clinton’s escapades in the White House, wanted to renew the country in God’s name. "God is a Republican!", was the credo of the religious right.
Despite this, Washington party strategists were unable to fully mobilize these circles during the 2000 election campaign. Internal investigations deplore the abstention of more than four million evangelical Christians who did not show up at the ballot box at the time and who were unable to vote for the president "born again" President Bush denied their vote. An indication of the fatal abstinence from politics of a milieu which, in the BIBLE BELT even boycotting public education and preferring creationism, Old Testament creationism, to Darwin and modern science (Creationism and the U.S.).
This milieu is the president’s embattled core clientele, but like the entire right-wing camp in the U.S., it is not unified. And it is this mixed picture that shows the latent difficulties party strategists have in mobilizing and uniting the various conservative currents.
In view of the declared election goal – four more years of Republican presidency – the economic-liberal critics of the President’s tax and deficit policy have so far been biting their lips. To engage potential voters from emerging Latino immigrant communities, xenophobic hotheads were put in second place. And in order not to scare off liberal swing voters, the rhetorical bells and whistles of the Christian right were reduced to a tolerable mab, as was recently the case at the New York party convention.
The acclaimed stars of the event were dazzling figures like Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who is almost a progressive on socio-political ies according to U.S. mabstats. The entire campaign of the Republican Party is determined by the balancing act of binding the arch-conservative clientele without scaring away moderate parts of the population. A task that has succeeded, at least on the surface, especially since challenger John Kerry’s frequent changes of course on the question of the Iraq war provide sufficient cause for polemics. The accusations against the democrat culminated in the infamous speculation that bin Laden wished for Kerry’s victory. A common enemy like the colorless senator from Massachusetts obscures differences in their own camps.
Criticism from the right against democratic imperialism
But to the close observer, manifest contradictions in the U.S. conservative movement reveal themselves. For even in turbulent election times, right-wing criticism of George W. Bush does not. On the one hand, former Republican presidential candidate Patrick J. Buchanan and his old-line conservative combatants from the very beginning of the "War on Terror" against the president’s interventionist policies.
On the other hand, since the costly and unmanageable Iraq campaign, members of the conservative establishment, such as the founder of the traditional paper National Review, William F. Buckley Jr. with doubts about the necessity of the war. Buckley, the viciously biting noble feather in the U.S. gallery of coarse conservative minds, loved to announce in the New York Times a few months ago that he had opposed the war, taking into account his current knowledge of it.
And also from neoconservative side new tones are heard. Francis Fukuyama, author of the bestseller "The end of the story" and one of the neocons’ masterminds, now openly doubts the missionary zeal of the U.S. democracy export to the Middle East. Whether Buckley, Fukuyama, former Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill or Reagan’s terror expert Richard Clarke – the most prominent critics of the president come from the inner circle of power.
But George W. Bush, scion of the former president and intelligence chief, who loved to confirm his election victory in Jeb Bush’s Florida, will not be irritated by this. He still defends his illegal war against a country, which the USA did not attack, with the declared aim of destroying weapons of mass destruction, which did not exist. A criticism that has been formulated several times, but which George W. Bush was not heeded. These isolationist factions, individuals and conservative opponents of the president are currently in a minoritarian position. But the contours of a possible strategy for the time after an inevitable defeat of George W. Bush in the elections are beginning to emerge. Bush on – for a new conservative revolution after the defeat of the mission-minded neocons, who are in any case seen by their right-wing antipodes only as liberals in disguise. Stopping their Democratic imperialism is the overarching goal of Bush’s right-wing critics, who sense betrayal at any concession to the liberal electorate.
But a statesman like Bush, a member of one of the most influential family dynasties in the Republic of the United States (which are virtually surrogate monarchies there), is certainly not swayed by the vetoes of lower ranks. Inner-party opponents still ignored. He’d rather send his clan into the race to fundraise locally, as he did at the party convention. According to newspaper reports, more than 90 of the president’s relatives were in New York to raise money for the closing stages of the campaign. A nice anecdote on the side of the spectacle, this variant of money collection gives the often invoked conservative family values But a new, telling meaning.