The prospect of hanging, Dr. Johnson said, concentrates the mind wonderfully. The threat posed by George W. Bush's right-wing reaction has organized the left for Kerry, just as Clinton galvanized the right for Bush.

As a referendum on Bush's failed agenda, Election 2004 can help toll the end of the conservative era that has defined our politics for the past quarter-century. For progressives, this election has revealed the growing power of their arguments and the sophistication of their activism. That energy, at the base of the Democratic Party, provides hope that victory in 2004 may mark the beginning of a movement that can transform American politics.

Bush is in trouble, and the reason is simple. With the right controlling both the White House and Congress, he has pushed through much of the right-wing agenda--and it has proved bankrupt once again.

Pre-emptive war and an arrogant unilateralism produced the debacle in Iraq, which has left America more isolated, more reviled and more vulnerable. Pre-emptive top-bracket tax cuts have run up record deficits as far as the eye can see, while generating the worst jobs record of any President since the Great Depression. Bush's policies have worsened our Gilded Age inequality, while working Americans find it harder to afford healthcare, college, retirement security or even to keep up with the rising cost of food and gas. Privatization and deregulation contributed to the worst corporate scandals since the 1920s, symbolized by the collapse of Enron, one of Bush's leading contributors in the 2000 race. Corporate looting reached new shamelessness in Iraq, led by Dick Cheney's Halliburton.

http://www.thenation.com/doc.mhtml?i=20040802&s=kvhborosage


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