Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Thursday 4 November 2004

President Bush re-elected for second term

Well, the US Presidential election has now reached a conclusion; President Bush has been re-elected for a second four-year term. I cannot say I am very cheered by this development; it will be no surprise to anyone who has read my blog for a while that the socially conservative policies pursued by Bush are NOT to my taste! On the other hand I supported his (and our) policy in Iraq, even if some aspects of the way he is waging the 'war on terrorism' strike me as counter-productive if the aim is genuinely to reduce terrorist threats in the future.

I watched Senator Kerry making his concession speech live and thought that his delivery was much, much better than any I had seen from him before. His usual style is rather 'wooden', but in his concession speech he somehow managed to sound much more natural. Basically he always struck me as a pretty 'sound' individual, but today he showed that more than this he was quite capable of injecting some warmth into his delivery. An hour later I watched President Bush deliver his victory speech; I hope he meant it when he said:

"A new term is a new opportunity to reach out to the whole nation. We have one country, one constitution, and one future that binds us."

and that this translates into a less vicious attitude toward that sector of the US population which some of his supporters characterise as 'perverts', 'deviants' or 'homosexualists'. Of course, as I wrote in the article before this, the fact that eleven states have outlawed same sex marriage has not diverted the 'Christian Coalition' from its determination to have sweeping anti-gay legislation written into the US Constitution. It is sobering to read that 1 in 5 of gays who voted, voted for President Bush.

I was glad four years ago when Bush was elected, given that the alternative was Al Gore, and I wrote as much at the time. On this occasion, however, there was a perfectly acceptable alternative - but the American people have made their decision, albeit a pretty evenly divided American people, and we will all just have to learn to live with their decision. Luckily I do not live in the US, so I will not have to bear the brunt of the religious intolerance which seems to form such a central part of his policy-making agenda - billandkent do, however, have to face up to what a Bush Presidency has meant to date and will continue to mean for the next four years and here is what that Bill has to say about it. And that is only one aspect of his agenda - the economic profligacy of the US government he presides over, and of course of Americans generally, is only sustainable because of the willingness of major international lenders such as China and Japan to keep on accepting US debt in vast quantities - we're talking here of the order of USD2bn a day! Even for an economy so large and broad as that of the US one really does have to wonder for how long this is sustainable. Tax cuts are all very well, but President Bush cannot be 'accused' of managing the US economy prudently (memo to self - switch US Dollar deposits into Euros pronto). Rant over ...

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