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National NOW Times >> Summer, 2000 >> Article

Viewpoint: Stay Out of the Bushes

George W. Bush's "no-litmus-test" choice of Dick Cheney as his running mate is clear confirmation of the policies he would promote and the nominations he would make to an already closely divided U.S. Supreme Court, if he were president.

Bush and Cheney are well matched politically.

Bush supports what our opponents call a "partial-birth" abortion ban, an abortion procedures ban that even this conservative Supreme Court found too deceptively written and too dangerous to women's health to be constitutional.

Cheney's extremist position mirrors the Republican Platform position, adopted with Bush's blessing, which calls for a Human Life Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Cheney and the party are on record against the right to abortion even in cases of rape, incest and endangerment of the life or health of the woman. But Cheney goes further; in the House he also voted against family planning funding.

Don't mistake Bush's or Cheney's positions against reproductive rights for support of already-born children. Bush's state is dead last in the percent of children without health coverage and next to last in women without health coverage. Cheney voted against funding for Head Start, school lunch programs and the Women, Infants and Children nutrition program. Cheney also opposed prescription drug coverage and long-term home care under Medicare.

Bush's Texas ranks last in teacher's salaries and benefits. Cheney voted to eliminate the Department of Education.

Bush's state is worst in the nation for pollution. Cheney was one of only a handful of members of Congress to vote no on the Clean Air Act and the Safe Drinking Water Act.

Cheney's first explanation for voting against a resolution to free Nelson Mandela was that the vote reflected his general opposition to economic sanctions, a topic not included in the resolution. It makes one wonder if he read or understood what he was voting on.

That leads to another way Bush and Cheney are well suited to each other. Both went to Yale. Both were indifferent students. And, both grew up to become Texas tycoons in the oil business.

Cheney now claims it was the deficit that caused him to join a few other members of the House in opposing funding of about $1 billion a year for Head Start. But he had no similar concerns in casting his vote for a tax cut costing $870 billion in its first five years, including hundreds of billions of dollars in corporate welfare for oil companies, utilities, railroads and other business interests.

That makes him a perfect partner for Bush, who has proposed an upper-income tax cut with a price tag of more than $ 1.9 trillion over the next decade. Only 2 percent is targeted to low- and middle-income families' tax relief.

Texas comes in last in the quality of criminal defense for the poor and first in executions. And, Bush, the self-proclaimed compassionate conservative, mocked condemned prisoner Betty Lou Beets, whimpering "Please don't kill me!" Bush then complained the comment was taken out of context. What possible context could excuse such callousness?

Bush and Cheney are not compassionate conservatives. They are ruthless reactionaries. And NOW's Bush-Whacker campaign must make sure every voter knows it.

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