Samvaad: A Conversation
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Monday, November 01, 2004
The final hours...
Moving beyond the statistical excitement and the electoral college permutations (which I've addressed in the last posting) there is a significant ideological fight at hand. George W.Bush is an icon for the neo-conservative movement. There's not even a close second to him. This derivative of conservatism that most notably championed the doctrine of pre-emptive war is really fighting for survival. Four years without power and more importantly a leader this ideology could face extinction. George W.Bush is their last hope since he embodies some of the old conservative principles that are electorally critical. If you look at the second string of Republican leaders there just aren't many of them that can appeal to the base across its ideological and intellectual spectrum.
A victory tomorrow will validate the neo-conservatives and show to emerging conservative leaders that their ideas can fetch votes too. George W. Bush did NOT run as one in 2000 so that that makes this election the first neo-conservative election. They were surely emboldened by their 2002 Congressional success.
There is no coherent competing ideology to neo-conservative thought today on the American political landscape. There are supporters of it and then there are critics of it. That's why it's no surprise that this election is more about George W. Bush more than it's about John Kerry.
A win for Bush, however, does NOT guarantee a more right-ward turn for the United States. That will hugely depend on the Senate races. The ultra-thin majority of the Republicans can conceivably evaporate. A Democratic Senate will alter the agenda for a Bush second-term, if that happens. So, I'd say keep a very close eye on the control of the US Senate.
Election results from Uruguay just came in this morning declaring another win for a left-wing Presidential candidate. South America is going left-of-center. International developments like these will temper the right-wing turn the Bush administration may want to take if they win.
A John Kerry win will create a more of a attitude change compared to an ideological one. The lack of ideological baggage may lend it more flexibility in dealing with issues. It may encourage a Kerry administration to look at things without the color of pre-conceived notions. A second-term may find a Bush administration more liberated from its right-wing base and electoral politics. Many questions remain and the answers to which will only be known in due course.
But no matter where you stand on the issues do cast your vote!
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