Veering Right: How the Bush Administration Subverts the Law for Conservative Causes

By Charles Tiefer | Go to book overview

2
“Ashy”
The Social Conservative Agenda

By 2004 Attorney General John Ashcroft had succeeded, to a dreadful extent, in advancing social conservative causes and undermining civil liberties in this country. This chapter focuses on social conservative issues; the next, on civil liberties. Ashcroft had pushed far out on right-wing religious and social causes ranging from depriving women of their abortion rights to creating a national personal right to firearms. This chapter starts with the rise of social conservatism as a key Republican base, Ashcroft's own ascent, and the social issues arising during his tenure. The chapter's heart concerns how Ashcroft undermined Roe v. Wade so as to muster political support without overly awakening centrist opposition. The Bush administration's right-wing judge picking and some other prospects also receive attention.

The Burger Court's 1973 abortion rights decision, Roe v. Wade,1 liberated the nation's women in a vital respect, giving them legal control over their bodies, choices about their lives, and an alternative to life- and health-threatening, illegal back-alley abortions. But politically, Roe v. Wade brought two levels of opposition. First, the population's acceptance of the decision was mixed. Second, the ruling allowed political figures in the Republican Party, or those helping it, to shape the various ensuing subissues for decades thereafter so as to get support from groups of voters who were otherwise not particularly committed to partisan political action. Roe provided the means to whip up a partisan frenzy in some members of

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Veering Right: How the Bush Administration Subverts the Law for Conservative Causes
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents *
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Introduction 1
  • 1 - Getting Ready to Veer Right 9
  • 2 - The Social Conservative Agenda 35
  • 3 - Libraries or Weapons? 77
  • 4 - Domestic Affairs Veer Right 104
  • 5 - The Corruptio 128
  • 6 - Going It Alone 157
  • 7 - Veering from Riyadh to Baghdad 189
  • 8 - Blindfolding the Public 237
  • 9 - If This Goes On 296
  • Notes 321
  • Bibliography 397
  • Index 423
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