A damning legacy
October 10, 2004 9:19 AM   Subscribe

Redefining Rights in America: The Civil Rights Record of the George W. Bush Administration, 2001–2004 -- This very thorough report (PDF) finds that President Bush has neither exhibited leadership on pressing civil rights issues, nor taken actions that matched his words. The US Commission on Civil Rights presents something for everyone, from Gay and Lesbian Rights on page 129 to Voting Rights and the 2000 Election on page 40, to Faith-Based Funding on page 157...from page 9: In fact, the faith-based initiative’s only civil rights significance may be that it actually allows employment discrimination. ... this initiative reflects the President’s desire to recast civil rights in a manner that suits his narrow agenda and, as such, has been highly controversial.
posted by amberglow (20 comments total)
[this comment edited by US govt]
posted by Peter H at 9:42 AM on October 10, 2004

this president excels in the construction of hollow artifice. bush, like the god he claims, creates "in his image".
posted by quonsar at 10:06 AM on October 10, 2004

Hmmm, I never had you figured for a Times reader or a Bush opponent, amberglow. What gives?
posted by dhoyt at 10:11 AM on October 10, 2004

Still looking good. Focus, people.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 10:38 AM on October 10, 2004

John Kerry's Rotten Record on Civil Liberties.

Responding directly to a column in Wired on encryption that said "trusting the government with your privacy is like having a Peeping Tom install your window blinds," Kerry invoked the Americans killed in the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center and the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Building in Oklahoma City. "[O]ne would be hard-pressed," he wrote, "to find a single grieving relative of those killed in the bombings of the World Trade Center in New York or the federal building in Oklahoma City who would not have gladly sacrificed a measure of personal privacy if it could have saved a loved one."
posted by Kwantsar at 11:37 AM on October 10, 2004

i bet he has some bodacious nose hair too.
posted by quonsar at 1:00 PM on October 10, 2004

This is probably not good news for America.
posted by psmealey at 1:42 PM on October 10, 2004

What is?

I mean, really, let's be serious: Civil liberties have been an uphill battle since the Washington administration (GW the First, as it were). They were a novel idea, albeit not a wholly original one -- I can cite precedent around 1000 AD in Iceland -- and wherever there's been a central authority, civil liberties have been a threat to it. And indeed, Lincoln probably couldn't have saved the Union without some serious abridgements of civil liberties.

And yet we've continued to gain ground on the balance. Sure, there were dark times when whole classes of people were militated against thanks to their unpopular ideas. But we get past them. Yes, people get hurt in the process, and yes, that's bad. And life is pain -- that doesn't mean we stop living.

The difference between Kerry -- a legislator, advocating other legislators within the Legislative branch -- and Bush -- the Executive, who would, given the choice, govern by fiat -- is kind of fundamental, even though that's not superficially obvious. One was working within a system that had inherent checks and balances, and the other (Bush) has a history of disparaging those same checks and balances. Frankly, I have a lot more faith in the ability of a former Prosecutor and private attorney to grok the give and take of civil liberties disputes than I do in the ability of a poor student with a poor education and a history of petulance in the face of personal challenges.

The bottom line is that we have to fight for this stuff, always, and we always will. We've gained ground to date, I'd say, but there are continual challenges. I keep reading someone circa 1798 or so quoted as saying that it takes about 200 years for a "free" civilization to realize it can vote itself money and fade out of existence -- usually quoted with the dire subtext that America is about 200 years old... But that doesn't mean we give up.
posted by lodurr at 2:46 PM on October 10, 2004

I take your point, lodurr, but there is a distinct tone in this administration in both word and deed, and I really don't mean that in a sinister way. No matter how you slice it, it is highly unlikely that Roe v. Wade and Affirmative action will survive a second Bush Administration. That's a *conservative* estimate of the impact of the NeoCon agenda.

The sky rocketing deficits will have an effect. They will be used as an excuse to cut federal programs (where is the money going to come from further taz cuts). We know that more money is going to be spent studying the science of prayer. More money on faithbased initiatives. So from where is he going to cut spending?
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 3:04 PM on October 10, 2004

gesamkunstwerk: The "NeoCon agenda" has very little to do with abortion or affirmative action. Such opposition is a mark of Paleoconservatism.
posted by Kwantsar at 3:21 PM on October 10, 2004

Kwantsar, I agree with you on the detail. But in general, Neo-Conservatism is generally anti-democratic, insofar as it favors commercial interests over civil interests. And so far as I have ever been able to discern, it does.
posted by lodurr at 3:33 PM on October 10, 2004

The NeoCon agenda is to use the Paleocon agenda to further its own goals. If you look at the report that Amberglow posted, you will see that the actions of NeoCons are pretty much identical to Paleocons; perhaps the intent is different.

You can dance around this distinction, but bigot is as bigot does.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 6:39 PM on October 10, 2004

Dick Cheney doesn't believe in discriminating against his own daughter. He just does it because the price is right. Personally, I can hate the Paleocons, but I can bring myself to respect them for standing by their beliefs. The NeoCons, well...
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 6:43 PM on October 10, 2004

Say, isn't this the same commission that is headed by the radical woman? I believe this report was submitted by the democratic members of the committee *only*, and didn't allow a minority report by the republicans.

But it's the seriousness of the charges that matter, not the credibility of the accuser, right?
posted by kablam at 7:07 PM on October 10, 2004

hey kablam, can you point out the part of this blue page that says "brought to you by the democratic national committee"? because if it's not there then you're argument makes no sense.
posted by Space Coyote at 7:18 PM on October 10, 2004

I don't understand why you (collectively) aren't looking at the actions of this administration, but on peripherals. ("oh, there was a Democrat involved, "Oh, neoCons don't really mean what they say, that's just one the surface)

Bush has a clear record of undermining civil rights, selling out minorities, and pandering to the religious right. It doesn't take a radical leftist man-hating feminist to see this. My father (a straight, white, former Republican from Florida), sees it, my parents' minister sees it. If you are voting for Bush-- which is the right of any citizen-- you should come to terms with his record on the separation of church and state and civil rights. Doing otherwise is just fucking cowardly and unrealistic.

I know I am repeating myself, but bigot is is bigot does.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 8:10 PM on October 10, 2004

So, if it's a trial, you're in favor of only letting the prosecution speak? I say again, *only* democrats on this committee submitted this report, ignoring the republicans on this committee.

Wow, now that sounds fair. Should they have asked James Carville to be the responsible opposing viewpoint?
posted by kablam at 8:29 PM on October 10, 2004

poor kablam--he is afraid of the message, so is trying to shoot the messengers. (funny how he has no proof of his statements, or offers anything in defense of Bush's shameful record.)
posted by amberglow at 8:36 PM on October 10, 2004

It's not a trial. A trial investigates that which is not known.
This is a matter of public record: in this case, what a politician has done, and is likely to do given his constituency and policies.

Who do you think GW will nominate for the supreme court? This isn't rocket science either.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 8:37 PM on October 10, 2004

If you are voting for Bush-- which is the right of any citizen-- you should come to terms with his record on the separation of church and state and civil rights. Doing otherwise is just fucking cowardly and unrealistic.

As a Catholic with a lot of friends whom you can guess lean which way, I've been thinking a lot about that. I think there's two ways to look at it: either acknowledge the Seperation of Church and State or claim that the Church (in whatever form you think fits best) is indeed necessary in the State for whatever reason. Though many people, myself included, aren't a fan of the later option, at least people are being honest with themselves and I can have an intellectial discussion with them. It is when people claim that GBII is not decreasing that divide that I got intellectually pissed off.

Also, according to the website, 2 of the commissioners are independents, 3 democrats, and 3 republicans (rules stipulate that no more than 4 of one party can be commissioners). That leaves just the head staff director, Les Jin, whom was appoiinted under Clinton so am assuming Democrat but not sure.
posted by jmd82 at 9:42 PM on October 10, 2004

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