Buencamino does foreign and political affairs analysis for Action for Economic Reforms. This article was published in newspaper Today, 11 November 2004 edition, p. 11.
Four more years of George Bush will be like four more years of syphilis, – Dr. Hunter S. Thompson
Part I: Preventing a cure
It could be said that George W. Bush won because he knew he was vulnerable on the economy and the war so he pursued a strategy of concentrating on his base and animating “sleepers” among the moral values crowd.
To keep his 2000 election base intact, Bush went into a denial mode. He
painted a rosy economic future and claimed success in the war on terror, while portraying John Kerry as untrustworthy.
His campaign made sure it responded quickly and forcefully to every
negative news report about the economy and the war with his version of
reality, thereby transforming media into an echo chamber no matter what
it reported. The tactic made it easier for his base, who needed to believe they voted wisely in 2000, to stay with him.
To rouse the “sleepers”, Bush took a page right out of the late Lee Atwater’s playbook—create an emotionally charged moral wedge issue that will trap Democrats in a dilemma that forces them to
straddle. It will make them look unprincipled and weak.
In Lee Atwater’s time, the Republican wedge was flag-burning and the
choice was between freedom of speech and patriotism. Following the
success of flag-burning, Republicans raised the ante and introduced the
pledge of allegiance and school prayer, and Democrats had to choose
between God and Caesar in both cases.
In 2004, way before the Democrats decided on their candidate, Bush
unveiled a new moral wedge, a constitutional amendment banning same sex
marriage, God versus Caesar again. He did not stop there.
He also made sure the issue of stem cell research was framed with
abortion, Roe vs Wade. Consequently, the question of Supreme Court
appointments became a character-defining issue too.
In the closing days of the campaign, Karl Rove, Bush’s chief political
adviser, said the Christian right was so fired up over moral values, he
was confident Bush would get the vote of at least four million
evangelicals who didn’t vote in 2000.
Bush’s strategy was effective as far as keeping 90 percent of his base
intact but that would not have given him enough votes to win, because
Kerry also kept 90 percent of Gore’s slightly larger 2000 vote intact;
so the bases cancelled out each other.
The millions of votes from the “moral issues” crowd came largely from
Bible Belt states and those were conceded to Bush even before the
campaign got under
Popular votes do not win presidential elections, electoral college
votes do, so Bush’s electoral college victory had to come from
Politics is subtraction as much as it is addition.
If it’s true that Bush didn’t repeat his successful 2000 Florida strategy of purged voters lists, trashed new voters registrations, malfunctioning voting machines and spoiled ballots to win this election—then it must also be true that the cure for syphilis is to screw the same infected person again.
Part II: There’s no cure
Let me put it to you this way: I earned capital in the campaign,
political capital, and now I intend to spend it. – PRESIDENT BUSH
In the next four years, televangelists will increase their influence over the American moral agenda.
There will be no gay marriage. Gay couples will have to continue cohabiting in shame and in sin.
Attorney General John Ashcoft’s composition, “Let the Eagle Soar” will
become the new national anthem. Permission will be granted to his
congregation to sing it in tongues.
Televangelical influence will extend to foreign policy as well.
Foreign assistance to HIV-AIDS victims will stop because they brought
God’s wrath upon themselves by fornicating like animals. Besides, most
HIV-AIDS victims are Africans and not included in God’s plan.
Palestinians will be driven to the sea because the bible says Jesus is not coming back until that happens.
Saudi Arabia will become a democracy.
A Gideon’s bible will be in every Riyadh hotel room. Pirated Christian
DVDs and pearl crucifixes will be sold in Mecca’s shopping malls and
its owners will build Christian prayer rooms for stallholders.
The Neo-cons will become more open about their plans for world
domination. The “Protocols of Zion” will be updated and republished
under a new title, “Project for A New American Century.”
Mistakes made in the invasion of Iraq will be rectified. The US will
now provide garlands and bouquets for the crowds who will line the
streets of Damascus and Tehran to welcome American liberators.
Human rights in Abu Ghraib and other torture centers will be strictly
enforced. Male interrogators will be ordered to wear condoms and their
female counterparts will not be permitted to smoke while engaged in
The ever-present danger of wars and terrorism brought about by neo-con
allegiance to Israel and lust for world domination will lead to the
deployment of new anti-ballistic missile defense systems to protect
America from car bombs.
Instability in the Middle East will keep oil prices high. Bush will
have to open Alaska and arctic reserves to oil exploration in order to
maintain a stable and ample supply of oil at unaffordable prices.
Media ownership will be relaxed to pave the way for a monopoly that will eliminate the need for stifling dissent.
Perpetual war footing and more tax cuts for the many new billions to be
made by Bush cronies in the military industrial complex and the oil
industry will drive the deficit higher and bankrupt Social Security and
Their collapse will lead to even more tax cuts because the ensuing
privatization will produce huge windfalls for other cronies in the
banking, securities, insurance, healthcare and pharmaceutical
Think tanks like the Heritage Foundation and American Enterprise
Institute— whose only purpose is to publish papers advancing the
interests of America’s ruling class and making life miserable for the
rest of the world— won’t have to masquerade as think tanks anymore.
It’s hard to predict how else the disease will mutate over the next
four years but one thing is sure: THIS strain of syphilis is highly
resistant to antibiotics. This one’s not going away.