U.S. presidential election, 2004: The Culture War
Sidney Blumenthal, in his March 4, 2004, Guardian/UK article "Bush goes to war with modernity" writes that President George W. Bush, "faltering on the economic and national security fronts [has] opened another war: the culture war" in U.S. presidential election, 2004. 
He states that Bush's 2000 campaign for the presidency was based on Compassionate Conservatism, thereby "softening his edges and separating himself from the hard right." However, since "he lost the popular vote by more than half a million, ... he has decided he has no choice but to chase his base" for this presidential election. 
Blumenthal itemizes what he calls Bush's "blitzkrieg" in the culture war: 
- proposed "a constitutional amendment against gay marriage."
- "dismissed two scientists who dissented on his bioethics board, which he has used to ban forms of stem cell research, replacing them with adherents of the religious right."
- "made a recess appointment of William Pryor of Alabama as a federal judge, blocked in the Senate for his extremism. Pryor had said that 'abortion is murder' and supported the building of an altar of the 10 commandments in a courthouse."
- Attorney General John Ashcroft "subpoenaed the medical records of women who have had abortions at planned parenthood clinics."
- supported "the unborn victims of violence bill, creating a new federal crime of foetal homicide that passed the Republican-dominated House of Representatives on February 26."
In summary, Blumental writes, "At Bush's order, the Senate is being transformed into a battlefield of the culture war." 
Although President Bush told us "'I'm a war president', ... as the body count in Iraq continues to rise, the president's approval rating plummets, and the furor over phantom WMD, sexed-up intel, and Bush's spotty Air National Guard service refuses to go away, it appears Karl Rove is planning a small rewrite for his candidate: 'I'm a culture war president.'
"Remember that divisive pre-9/11 campaign staple? Well, it's flared up again -- with a vengeance and a rash of new administration actions clearly aimed at shoring up the president's Christian conservative base.
"In the last month, the president has traded in his too-tight flight suit for a revival tent, backing a new anti-obscenity crusade, anti-condom sex-ed programs, a renewed commitment to fighting the drug war, and his attorney general's efforts to poke around the private medical records of women who've had abortions. He even hinted in his State of the Union that he'd be willing to endorse a constitutional ban on gay marriage.
"With Silver Starred John Kerry threatening the president's hold on the high ground of national defense, Team Bush has decided it's time to switch battlefields and start screaming about Sodom and Gomorrah."
Also see rebranding the Bush administration
- affirmative action
- Bush administration leaks
- Bush administration propaganda and disinformation
- Bush administration scandals
- Bush administration smear campaigns
- civil rights
- Clash of Civilizations
- gay rights
- genetic engineering
- God gulf
- gun control
- human cloning
- internet activism
- partial-birth abortion: see abortion
- religion and empire
- same-sex marriage
- U.S. presidential election, 2004: Active Advocacy Groups
- U.S. presidential election, 2004: Campaign Ad Issues
- U.S. presidential election, 2004: Campaign Ads
- U.S. presidential election, 2004: Campaign Issues
- U.S. presidential election, 2004: Wedge Issues
- war on drugs
- welfare reform
- America's Culture War, FailureIsImpossible. Numerous links.
Articles & Commentary
- Peter Grier, "In stem-cell debate, a culture war. Bush is to decide soon whether the US should fund research in this new, and controversial, area of science, Christian Science Monitor, July 6, 2001.
- Jim Lobe, "Bush's latest 'culture war'," Dawn, January 6, 2002.
- David Barton, "Winning The Culture War In America," cultureshocktv.com, October 4, 2002.
- Rich Lowry, "A culture war over condoms," Townhall.com, January 14, 2003.
- Joe Klein, "How the Supremes Redeemed Bush. The conservative court's decisions on homosexuality and affirmative action boost Bush's image with moderates," TIME Magazine, January 29, 2003.
- Linda Feldmann, "New battle line in 'culture war': gay marriage. High court affirmation of privacy rights and newly legalized homosexual marriage in Canada are energizing the issue," Christian Science Monitor, July 1, 2003.
- Armstrong Williams, "The Supreme Court and the Culture War," Townhall.com, July 22, 2003.
- Lara Riscol, "Bring on the Culture War," AlterNet, July 22, 2003.
- Rich Lowry, [http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn?pagename=article&node=&contentId=A36891-2003Aug8¬Found=true "The President Keeps His Distance," Washington Post, August 10, 2003: "The Christian right has infiltrated and taken over the White House -- in the person of the president of the United States. If Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson had sat down 15 years ago and created the profile of their perfect president -- a born-again Christian from the Bible Belt, flagrantly open about his faith -- George W. Bush would fit it almost to a T. Yet he is not quite what anyone would have imagined. ... All around Bush a culture war rages, but in it, he is at most a reluctant participant -- and perhaps a pacifist at heart."
- Howard Fineman, "Election Boils Down to a Culture War. Abortion issue is first skirmish in the battle for White House," Newsweek (MSNBC), October 22, 2003.
- Arianna Huffington, "The culture-war president. With Iraq still a mess, Team Bush is switching battlefields to start screaming about Sodom and Gomorrah," Salon, February 18, 2004.
- Arianna Huffington, "Bush Rouses The Sleeping Dogs Of The Culture War," AriannaOnline, February 19, 2004.
- Jonathan Darman, "No Hunger for a Culture War. Dissatisfied with President Bush, young voters are concerned about the economy and foreign policy, not social issues," Newsweek (MSNBC), February 23, 2004.
- Steve Holland, "Bush endorses amendment banning gay marriage," Reuters, February 24, 2004.
- Steven Harmon, "Bauer says Bush also is fighting war on U.S. soil," The Grand Rapids Press, March 4, 2004: According to Gary Bauer, "Religious conservatives are ready to go to war for President Bush -- in the cultural battle heating up over such issues as gay marriages."