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Author: Edward Ashbee

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.

Sex education, abstinence and contraception
Edward Ashbee

, 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
Edward Ashbee

eliminate the ‘marriage tax penalty’. Secondly, the Bush administration established the Healthy Marriage Initiative and sought Congressional funding for programmes that would promote and strengthen marital relationships. The tax penalty The ‘marriage tax penalty’, the sum that some married couples paid in federal income taxes over and above that which they would pay as single individuals, had its roots in the 1969 Tax Reform Act. The post1969 tax regime discriminated against some, although by no means all, married couples. The penalty arose in large part from the

in The Bush administration, sex and the moral agenda
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The Bush administration, sex and the moral agenda
Edward Ashbee

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
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The politics of morality,the 2004 presidential election and the Bush legacy
Edward Ashbee

attendance between the voters of 2004 and those in 2000. Indeed, the swing to Bush was highest amongst the less frequent church attenders.3 TBA_C08.qxd 08/02/2007 11:21 AM Page 234 234 The Bush administration, sex and the moral agenda Having said this, the role of moral concerns should not be underestimated. A Pew Research Center for the People and the Press survey confirmed the exit polls. It found that 27 per cent chose moral values as the principal issue determining the way in which they voted. Even if respondents were asked about the reasons for their vote in an

in The Bush administration, sex and the moral agenda
Edward Ashbee

sufficient to lead many of the party’s gay activists to back Arizona Senator John McCain rather than Bush in the contest to secure the Republican presidential nomination. TBA_C03.qxd 08/02/2007 11:20 AM Page 76 76 The Bush administration, sex and the moral agenda Despite the signals that his campaign may have sent to gay activists, Bush had, as Texas Governor, opposed the inclusion of sexual orientation as a category requiring protection in both employment law and hate crimes legislation (the James Byrd Jr Hate Crimes Act). He rejected calls for the repeal of the state

in The Bush administration, sex and the moral agenda
Edward Ashbee

transport obscene matter that ‘has been shipped or transported in interstate or foreign commerce’ or to possess it with intent to mail, sell or transport it.4 Alongside these direct restrictions, there are often other, albeit more indirect, charges that can be brought. The TBA_C05.qxd 12/02/2007 12:00PM Page 138 138 The Bush administration, sex and the moral agenda making and distribution of hardcore pornography has long had ties with organised crime, as the history of Deep Throat, the first hardcore film to acquire a quasi-mainstream status, illustrates, thereby

in The Bush administration, sex and the moral agenda
Edward Ashbee

-life activists, the 1973 Roe ruling by the US Supreme Court was a ‘judicial fiat’ that illegitimately circumvented the legislative process and usurped the prerogatives of elected institutions. Roe led to the politicisation of the process by which federal judges are nominated and confirmed. Questions of judicial competence TBA_C07.qxd 12/02/2007 12:01PM Page 194 194 The Bush administration, sex and the moral agenda were displaced by a ‘litmus test’ through which each appointee’s attitude towards Roe was considered and evaluated in fine detail. Roe v. Wade Roe v. Wade was

in The Bush administration, sex and the moral agenda
Edward Ashbee

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
Edward Ashbee

for Women (NOW), which became the ‘peak’ organisation within the American women’s movement, was formed in 1966 while more radical women’s liberation groups, such as those that organised the protests against the Miss America contest, began to emerge a year later.3 At the end of the decade, the gay liberation movement was established following a police raid on the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich TBA_C01.qxd 08/02/2007 11:19 AM Page 14 14 The Bush administration, sex and the moral agenda Village bar. Although it initially campaigned against discrimination, sections of

in The Bush administration, sex and the moral agenda