Why Bush opposes Dred Scott.

Gossip, speculation, and scuttlebutt about politics.
Oct. 11 2004 6:45 PM

Why Bush Opposes Dred Scott

It's code for Roe v. Wade.

(Continued from Page 1)

Some, recalling that the Dred Scott ruling itself set the stage for the Civil War, may wonder—if it was true in yesteryear that "every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword"—whether some yet worse retribution will be exacted of our country by a righteous God righteously stirred at the murder of unborn children in their millions. And wonder they should.

The Weblog Daily Kos has a few additional examples, and if you go looking yourself, I promise you'll find all the evidence you could possibly need.

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Bush has a history of addressing the Christian right in code. In the Sept. 17 Washington Post, Alan Cooperman pointed out many phrases Bush has used to deliver a religious message over the heads of plodding secular humanists like me. "Culture of life," Cooperman reported, means "abortion is murder." Bush used the phrase in an Aug. 3 speech to the Knights of Columbus. "Wonder-working power" refers to the power of Christ, though Bush used it in a seemingly secular context ("Yet there's power, wonder-working power, in the goodness and idealism and faith of the American people") in his 2003 State of the Union address.

Now, don't get me wrong. Religious faith can be a very fine thing. Some of my best friends believe in God, and some of their best qualities derive, at least in part, from their faith. But let's not forget that Bush actually believes that God told him to become president. In an age less prone to religious hysteria than our own, this would be judged impious. Even now, it's pretty frightening to a significant minority, and Bush is going to need every last vote he can get. Hence the use of code phrases and jargon.

It's a basic principle of politics that you dance with the one that brung ya. The Big Guy has apparently made clear to Bush that he doesn't want any Roe-lovers, or even Roe-wafflers, on the Supreme Court. If Bush is elected, don't expect any. And if you happen to believe that abortion should remain legal in the United States, don't even think about giving Bush your vote.

Timothy Noah is a former Slate staffer. His  book about income inequality is The Great Divergence.

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