Countdown to November

Ten reasons not to re-elect Bush

#8: His judicial appointments are too extreme.

As we all know, the president has the power to appoint judges, most notably to the top-level federal circuit courts and the Supreme Court. By setting up judges who favor his agenda, a sitting president can influence the country—long after he is out of office—on crucial matters such as reproductive rights, privacy, separation of church and state, civil rights, workers’ rights, environmental enforcement and equal access to justice.

We haven’t had a Supreme Court vacancy in almost 10 years. But John Paul Stevens, a member of the court’s moderate-to-liberal faction, is in his mid-80s and may not stay on the court another four years.

So far, almost all the judges George W. Bush has nominated to circuit courts have been men and women who favor an extreme and ultraconservative view. Miguel Estrada, Priscilla Owen, Carolyn Kuhl and Charles Pickering are just a few of his judicial nominees—and all are simply out of touch with America. Bush cannot be allowed four more years to appoint judges, especially if openings arise on the Supreme Court.

#9: He surrounds himself with ideologues.

Bush is not the head of a vast right-wing conspiracy, no. But he has risen to be president at a time in American history when ultraconservatives have climbed to positions of great influence and power in the overlapping worlds of politics and media.

Unlike conservatives of past generations (people often known for their dislike of big spending and big government), the new ultraconservatives have a radical agenda for America that favors wildly increased government size and spending. As documented in former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich’s new book, Reason: Why Liberals Will Win the Battle for America, these new conservatives support giving large tax breaks to the rich, privatizing Social Security, cutting social services and restricting civil liberties. They seek to impose their private morality by preventing sex education, banning abortion and condemning homosexuality. They also favor the use of American military might and unilateral action in matters of foreign policy. (Mere mentions of the United Nations at the Republican National Convention got sustained and resounding boos!)

President George W. Bush surrounds himself with these ultraconservative ideologues—e.g., Dick Cheney, Karl Rove, Donald Rumsfeld, John Ashcroft, Paul Wolfowitz and Richard Perle. These men walk the halls of power in America not because of some deep, dark conspiracy. They are there, along with Bush, because they figured out over the last two decades how to be more effective than everybody else in raising money, electing candidates and shaping public opinion in America. November 2 is the country’s chance to take back America from these ideologues.

#10: He favors the ultra-rich. [See SN&R’s Editorial, September 9.]