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This book considers the policy of the George W. Bush administration towards issues such as abortion, sex education, obscenity and same-sex marriage. It suggests that, although accounts have often emphasised the ties between George W. Bush and the Christian right, the administration's strategy was, at least until early 2005, largely directed towards the courting of middle-ground opinion. The study offers a detailed and comprehensive survey of policy making; assesses the political significance of moral concerns; evaluates the role of the Christian Right; and throws new light on George W. Bush's years in office and the character of his thinking.

TBA_C01.qxd 08/02/2007 11:19 AM Page 13 1 The rise of the moral agenda and American public opinion Moral and cultural concerns became frontline political issues from the late 1960s onwards.1 In the years that followed President Richard Nixon’s inauguration in January 1969, tensions around questions such as abortion, single parenthood, the role of women and the legitimacy of same-sex relations played an increasingly important and visible role in debates about public policy, the shaping of party loyalties, the appointment of judges and the electoral process. The

in The Bush administration, sex and the moral agenda
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3 Moral dilemmas In Part I of this book, I argued that paternalism is inadequate as a general account of parental power. And as both the caretaker thesis and the liberation thesis equate parental power with paternalism, their adequacy as theories of parental power is questionable for that reason. However, of greater significance for our present purposes is the fact that, according to each thesis, when we evaluate parental power, we will not be faced with irresolvable moral conflicts. There are two aspects to this argument, and they are the focus of this chapter

in Evaluating parental power
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Social liberalism and traditionalism

6 A new moral agenda? Social liberalism and traditionalism Just as I felt that the party was beginning to relax over the European issue it decided to have an explosive internal row about something else. ( John Redwood MP, 2004: 143) Introduction A widely accepted and often repeated belief amongst both Conservatives and many of their critics, is that on the issue of the economy the Conservatives have been victorious in the ‘battle of ideas’. The case for the free market over statist socialist planning was comprehensively demonstrated, they argue, by the failure

in Reconstructing conservatism?
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The politics of morality,the 2004 presidential election and the Bush legacy

TBA_C08.qxd 08/02/2007 11:21 AM Page 233 8 Conclusion: the politics of morality, the 2004 presidential election and the Bush legacy The Bush approach to moral politics reaped electoral rewards. In 2000, his distance from the strictures of the Christian right contributed to the winning over of undecided voters and independents, a significant proportion of whom had backed President Bill Clinton or Ross Perot, the Reform Party candidate, in 1996. At the same time, Bush’s emphasis on broad moral principles helped in rallying Republican supporters who had abandoned

in The Bush administration, sex and the moral agenda
Being right, knowing better

3681 The Politics of war reporting.qxd:Layout 1 28/9/11 11:14 Page 94 5 Journalistic ethics and moral authority: being right, knowing better As a sociologist, I know that morality only works if it is supported by structures and a mechanism that give people an interest in morality. (Bourdieu, 1998b: 56) Is it futile to discuss journalistic ethics? Relativism versus strategism Previous chapters have set out the case for interpreting journalistic principles primarily as strategic. While this could reasonably be understood to indicate that the particular

in The politics of war reporting
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The Bush administration, sex and the moral agenda

TBA_A02.qxd 08/02/2007 11:18 AM Page 1 Introduction: the Bush administration, sex and the moral agenda Despite the passions of those who admire him, few US presidents seem to have attracted so much critical comment as George W. Bush. The opprobrium has been particularly pronounced outside the US. In Britain, the Daily Mirror asked in a headline published the day after Bush’s November 2004 re-election victory: ‘How can 59,054,087 people be so DUMB?’ The president’s ratings are significantly better in the US, but his period of office has still provoked intense

in The Bush administration, sex and the moral agenda

resemble contending armies tied down in unending trench warfare in which small strips of ‘no man’s land’ are taken, lost and then retaken. The abortion battles and the process of polarisation between prolifers and the pro-choice movement can, in part, be attributed to the character of the moral beliefs that surround the issue. Abortion leads, as Lawrence Tribe put it in the title of his book, to a ‘clash of absolutes’. If the issue is framed in terms of ‘rights’, those committed to the contending sides are compelled by the dictates of logic to concede little or no moral

in The Bush administration, sex and the moral agenda

Bush’s youth rest upon stories of drink, allegations of drug abuse, the frequent use of coarse language, a seemingly sporadic commitment to service in the Texas Air National Guard, and failed business efforts. He was however always a churchgoer. After being TBA_C02.qxd 08/02/2007 11:19 AM Page 48 48 The Bush administration, sex and the moral agenda raised in his parents’ Episcopal tradition, he joined a Presbyterian congregation, and then when he and Laura Bush were married in 1977 he became a member of the United Methodist Church. Nonetheless, there were

in The Bush administration, sex and the moral agenda
Sex education, abstinence and contraception

, federal government agencies and most of the states pursued a ‘comprehensive’ or more commonly what TBA_C04.qxd 08/02/2007 11:20 AM Page 104 104 The Bush administration, sex and the moral agenda came to be often dubbed an ‘abstinence-plus’ approach. Only a minority of sex education programmes offered instruction about contraception or abortion without considering the personal dilemmas with which they are often associated. Instead, to a greater or lesser extent, programmes provided information and guidance about contraception and sexual health but also urged young

in The Bush administration, sex and the moral agenda