George W. Bush: What Does the "W" Stand For?

By Ireland, Patricia | National NOW Times, Spring 2000 | Go to article overview
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George W. Bush: What Does the "W" Stand For?


Ireland, Patricia, National NOW Times


The recent presidential primary results signal the beginning of the race between Al Gore and George W. Bush for the vital women's vote. Both men understand that women elected the last president (twice), and we will elect the next president. It's time for women to take a close look at these candidates and decide who will best represent and promote our issues.

Come election day, I hope women won't be fooled by Bush's so-called "compassionate conservatism." This clever alliteration is just an updated version of his father's "kinder, gentler" appeal to win the women's vote and the White House. But in my unkinder moments I think the "W" in George W. Bush must stand for "worse." Once you get past the pat phrases and the rehearsed stump speeches, George W. is worse than his father in ability, intellect and that "vision thing" and he's worse when it comes to women's rights.

The National Organization for Women is undertaking a public education campaign between now and the general elections which we have nicknamed our Bush-Whacker campaign. Let's start by examining Mr. Bush's position on feminist issues.

Women's Health on the Line if Bush is Elected

When the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League announced that Bush led the most anti-choice state legislature in the U. S., he enthused, "I rest their case. I'm pro-life." As governor, Bush signed 18 anti-abortion provisions in Texas. And, Bush has promised to sign an abortion procedures ban (which anti-choice forces call a "partial-birth" abortion ban) if elected president.

Please don't mistake Mr. Bush's position on reproductive rights as indicative of a commitment to the health and welfare of children. Although Texas ranks second worst in the nation in percentage and total number of children lacking health insurance, Bush fought efforts to expand coverage. The Texas governor also opposes equal rights for lesbian and gay families, and he touts abstinence over other attempts to reduce teen-age pregnancies.

The next president will likely fill two or perhaps three vacancies on the U. S. Supreme Court during his term. I shudder when I remember that Bush named anti-abortion-rights ultra-conservatives Antonio Scalia and Clarence Thomas as the justices he most respects. With the justices currently divided 5 to 4 on abortion and other women's rights, the new president's nominations will set the direction of the Court for many years to come.

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