Saturday, April 10, 2004

A Second Term for W: BAD IDEA

Detailed below are key points excerpted from Robert Reich's article, W.'s Second Term: If you Think the First is Bad...:

"Musings about a second Bush term typically assume another four years of the same right-wing policies we've had to date. But it'd likely be far worse. So far, the Bush administration has had to govern with the expectation of facing American voters again in 2004. But suppose George W. Bush wins a second term. The constraint of a re-election contest will be gone. Knowing that voters can no longer turn them out, and that this will be their last shot at remaking America, the radical conservatives will be unleashed.

If Bush is re-elected, '[Dick] Cheney and [Donald] Rumsfeld are out of the box,' he said. 'They'll take Bush's re-election as a mandate to wage the 'war on terror' everywhere and anywhere.'

...Domestic policy will swing further right. A re-election would strengthen the White House's hand on issues that even many congressional Republicans have a hard time accepting, such as the assault on civil liberties. Bush will seek to push 'Patriot II' through Congress, giving the Justice Department and the FBI powers to inspect mail, eavesdrop on phone conversations and e-mail, and examine personal medical records, insurance claims, and bank accounts.

Economic policy, meanwhile, will be tilted even more brazenly toward the rich. Republican strategist Grover Norquist smugly predicts larger tax benefits for high earners in a second Bush administration. The goal will be to eliminate all taxes on capital gains, dividends, and other forms of unearned income and move toward a 'flat tax.'

Justice Sandra Day O'Connor will surely step down from the Supreme Court, possibly joined by at least one other jurist, opening the way for the White House to nominate a series of right-wing justices, a list that could easily include Charles Pickering Sr. and William Pryor Jr. After Chief Justice William Rehnquist resigns, Bush may well nominate Antonin Scalia for the top slot -- opening the way for Scalia and Clarence Thomas to dominate the Court. Such a court will curtail abortion rights, whittle down the Fourth and Fifth amendments, end all affirmative action, and eliminate much of what's left of the barrier between church and state.

Automated voting machines will be easily rigged, with no paper trails to document abuses. Changes in campaign-finance laws will permit larger 'hard money' donations by corporate executives and federal contractors who have benefited by Republican policies.

Finally, the Federal Communications Commission will allow three or four giant media empires -- all tightly connected to the Republican Party -- to consolidate their ownership over all television and radio broadcasting.

Nothing is more dangerous to a republic than fanatics unconstrained by democratic politics. Yet in a second term of this administration, that's exactly what we'll have."

So that's all we need to worry about. Got it?

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