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What You Won't See at the Republican Convention

What You Won't See at the Republican Convention


By Scott Galindez
t r u t h o u t | Perspective
See also…Truthout Convention Live Coverage - http://www.truthout.org/rnc04.shtml
Tuesday 31 August 2004

"As the Republican convention bears down upon us we are reminded of the age old adage - never judge a book by its cover. A four day festival of moderation is about to launch in New York City, the most "red state" destination in America, and the conservative base that President Bush has pandered to has been asked to exit stage right - off the radar screen, but not out of control. We will not see the real decision makers on television. Like the Great and Powerful Oz, GOP convention planners are hoping that the American people will be so fixated by the image presented on stage that they will never think to look at the right-wing forces behind the curtain, pulling the levers of power."

- Ann Lewis
Former White House Communications Director and current Director of the Democratic National Committee Women's Vote Center.

Republicans are doing their best to keep evangelical Christians - a ''core part'' of Bush's base - hidden during the upcoming GOP Convention in New York. Instead the party will focus on courting swing voters, by featuring a slate of speakers representing views opposite to those of the president's: pro-choice, pro-gay rights, pro-gun control and anti-death penalty. Religious conservatives are disgruntled by being brushed aside, while moderates receive higher profile roles at the national convention. Ultimately, the masquerading at the convention does little to shield the scope of influence evangelicals have with the Bush White House. After four years of pandering to his right-wing base, Bush is attempting to push them aside for four days in New York, although their influence and presence remain widely known. And simultaneously, the Bush White House continues to do right by its big-business, big-industry cronies, and as a result, do harm to America's workers and families.

Bush began courting evangelicals and conservative Christians during his father's 1988 campaign for president, in which he served as the GOP liaison to religious conservatives. According to the Los Angeles Times, "That experience gave ‘Junior,' as he was then known, exposure to two forces that would prove enormously important to his own political rise: the evangelical movement, which has become a core part of his political base; and an emerging style of hardball campaigning, which he used to defeat Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) in the 2000 Republican primaries and has unfurled against his presumed 2004 Democratic opponent, Sen. John F. Kerry of Massachusetts."

Despite being ushered to the sidelines during the GOP Convention, evangelicals believe that they, not the moderates on-stage in New York, stand to benefit the most from a second Bush term. According to the Christian Coalition president Roberta Combs, as evangelicals, she says, "We still own the president."

The Bush Administration's connections to Corporate America will also not be highlighted on the stage at Madison Square Garden. Bush has rolled back and eliminated a series of important regulations designed to protect the health of families and workers. The Bush administration has taken the most aggressive anti-regulatory posture in memory, fighting back against important rules to side with business interests. Bush is not only trying to raise taxes on middle-class families, he's trying to undermine important protections that save lives.

The Bush administration has altered the rule-making power of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration in order to promote the interests of business over workers. In the past 3 1/2 years, OSHA, the branch of the Labor Department in charge of workers' well-being, has eliminated nearly five times as many pending standards as it has completed. It has not started any major new health or safety rules, thereby setting Bush apart from the previous three presidents, including Ronald Reagan.

And of course the "War on Terror" has turned into a huge "corporate welfare" program, with corporations like Halliburton and Bechtel getting the lion's share of contracts for projects ranging from housing and feeding our troops to reconstruction in Iraq and Afghanistan.

We will not see any speakers from ENRON or El Paso Energy who crafted the Bush-Cheney Energy Policy. We will not see any speakers from Halliburton or the Carlyle Group who have become the beneficiaries of the administration's "War on Terror."

To see the true power brokers behind the Bush-Cheney machine, stay tuned to t r u t h o u t' s coverage of the Republican National Convention - we will show you the parties behind the scenes where the real power in the Republican Party will be visible.

*********

Scott Galindez is the Managing Editor of truthout.org


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