This chapter focuses on the policy of the administration of George W. Bush for healthy marriage and the family. It suggests that, during the Bush administration, the issue of marriage was often discussed in the context of the same-sex marriage debate and that affirmations of the importance of marriage were usually coded calls for the prohibition of same-sex unions. The chapter discusses efforts to address and eliminate the marriage tax penalty and analyses the administration's establishment of the Healthy Marriage Initiative. It contends that the principle of promoting and strengthening marriage as an institution bolstered the administration's ties with established morality and had a particular resonance with active churchgoers, while provoking little opposition or hostility.
This chapter examines the abortion policy of the administration of George W. Bush. Though Roe v. Wade remained intact during the Bush years, Planned Parenthood continued to be taxpayer funded and pro-life campaigners made significant progress. Legislative bills that were or would have been vetoed in the previous administration were passed into effect, including the ban on partial-birth abortion and the Unborn Victims of Violence Act. The chapter argues that abortion battles and the process of polarisation between pro-lifers and the pro-choice movement can, in part, be attributed to the character of the moral beliefs which surround the issue.
The politics of morality,the 2004 presidential election and the Bush legacy
This chapter sums up the key findings of this study on the sex and moral agenda of the administration of U.S. President George W. Bush. The result indicates that Bush's emphasis on broad moral principles helped in rallying Republican supporters, and that his approach to moral politics reaped electoral rewards. The chapter explains the role of moral issues such as same-sex marriage and abortion in mobilising electoral support and in encouraging turnout among white Protestant evangelicals. It discusses the 2004 presidential election exit polls, revealing that 22 per cent of voters saw moral values as the most important issue facing the nation, and another survey which found that 27 per cent chose moral values as the principal issue determining the way in which they voted.
The concluding chapter considers the durability of the processes of restructuring and the efforts to create a permanently, leaner state that are now taking place particularly in the UK. It argues that despite the radicalism of the changes being ushered in they are nonetheless vulnerable to later roll-back.
The Introduction outlines the five principal literatures that have considered the right in the UK and the US. It suggests that each of these literatures looks at the activity of the right at a particular level or tier. On the basis of this, the Introduction provides a guide to the chapters that follow.
This chapter sets the scene for later chapters by considering the relationship between the levels or tiers established in the Introduction. As was noted, each of these tiers is described in one of the different literatures that survey the contemporary right. The chapter introduces the concept of intercurrence within this context.
This chapter considers the impact of “Thatcherism” and “Reaganomics” and the extent to which the British and American states were restructured during the 1980s. It argues that despite the neoliberal project the state proved largely resistant to long-run shrinkage. It suggests, furthermore, that some of the gradual change mechanisms that were employed by policymakers in this period did not always create lasting or sustained institutional shifts.
This chapter considers the character of the right in both the US and the UK and, in particular, its approaches and attitudes towards the contemporary state and the ways in which it responded to the resilience of “big government”. It argues that these included civic conservatism and efforts to ensure the accountability of those elected to public office.
This Chapter looks at the impact of the 2008 financial crisis and its aftermath on the right. It charts the period of initial uncertainty as the crisis first broke and the construction of a narrative around “big government” at the end of 2008 and beginning of 2009. It considers, in particular, at the ways in which representations of the New Deal and the 1930s were used to change the terms of debate.
This Chapter considers events and developments from 2009 onwards. It looks at the emergence and growth of the Tea Party movement, the ideas and constituencies upon which it drew, the impact of the 2010 mid-term elections, the tensions between the movement and Republican Party elites, and the character of the relationship between the right and the institutional landscape. Following the approach adopted in other chapters, it argues that policies and policy outcomes were largely shaped by processes of interaction between these different elements.