Tuesday, November 02, 2004

The Risk Is Called Bush
From today's "Der Standard:"
(By the way, Der Standard is not the only newspaper I have been checking on, it is simply a coincidence that I mostly chose articles from that paper.)

"American politics are a phenomenon: After four years during which the USA survived the bloodiest terrorist attack in its history, two wars and one radical change of direction in its budget policy, during which approvement ratings ranged from 40 to 90 percent, public opinion is exactly the same as it was in November 2000. (...)

There is much suspense on its way after the elections - especially if Bush is the winner. Usually, the current president is a well-known person and the challenger unfamiliar. This time, it is the other way around. We more or less know what Kerry's presidency will look like. With intellectuality, pragmatism and occasional dilatoriness, Kerry's Democrats will make their way through the minefield that is Iraq and the Republican Congress without major accidents. Whether or not Kerry increases the military presence in Iraq or initiates a troup cut-back, whether or not he will raise taxes at home or lessen the misery that is public health care is ultimately dependent upon factors that are out of his control. The world can follow Kerry's thinking and roughly knows how he is wired.

Nobody can say what Bush II will bring the safety-hungry Americans. Last time, the Texan threw all expectations overboard. Once in office, the compassionate conservative, who had criticized Bill Clinton for his actions overseas, became a radical revolutionary. However, the second terms of American presidents have often proved to be a time of moderation. (...)

Such a change could also occur after Bush's reelection: His leeway for new military adventures has been considerably reduced by the Iraq fiasco, the aggressive unilateralism has lately made room for some more friendly signals towards allies; and, given the gigantic budget deficit, lowering taxes has become almost impossible. Maybe Bush will let Donald Rumsfeld go and discover his new love for climate protection.

However, a lot indicates that he will regard winning the elections as God's stamp of approval on his politics and an instruction to continue. Less in foreign policy - when it comes to Iran, even hardliners avoid unilateral military action - more at home. There are still some remains of a welfare state that can be dismantled, the retirement system maybe; (...); abortion is still legal and the separation of church and state is still intact. For the extreme right, the USA is still a land dominated by godless liberals and left redistributers that needs to be liberated.

Revolutionaries are unpredictable. Even more so when they believe that a higher power speaks through them."

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