Standing On The Shoulders of Giants: George W. Bush Respects His Elders in 2004

Jessie Markovetz

George W. Bush has always made it a habit to respect his elders. During the 2000 Presidential Election, many snickered at the then political neophyte – when compared to his opponent – when he insisted on invoking the name of his father, who served in the executive branch of the Oval Office for 12 years. When President Bush finally won the election in November. . .or December, many snickered again when Bush named former aides of his father, Ronald Reagan and even Gerald Ford to important posts in the White House. Cheney. Rumsfeld. Powell. O’Neill. All names that which seemed to be more synonymous with the 1980’s than Michael Jackson. Regardless, President Bush enlisted their services to some of the nation’s highest posts. In 2004, it is President Bush who is snickering as he defeated Democratic challenger John Kerry to become the first two-term Republican President since Reagan. Bush’s win was more decisive in 2004 than it was in 2000. There were no premature calls of any states. The Supreme Court did not have to step in and halt the 54th recount in Florida. Heck, President Bush even won the popular vote this time. Now ready to embark on his second term in the Oval Office, which doesn’t officially begin until January, President Bush is a little older, a little wiser, much more experienced and has slightly more public acceptance than he did last time. Still, he needs to remember what got him into Washington in the first place. He needs to remember his elders. Somewhat under the radar on Election Night was a hotly contested race in Pennsylvania for a seat in the Senate. The Republican incumbent Arlen Specter narrowly defeated the Democratic challenger, Joe Hoeffel, to retain his seat and help to solidify the Republican majority. Specter will now begin his fifth term as Senator, and will become the longest-tenured Senator in the history of the Keystone State. At 74, Specter is now one of the more well-known and well-liked Senators on Capitol Hill. His occasional tendency towards crossing party lines speaks volumes about his determination and courageous personality. Even though most, including himself, cast Specter as a moderate Republican due to his proclivity towards the left, particularly with good friend and long-time Delaware Senator Joe Biden, he has been steadfast in his support of President Bush, both in the 2000 and 2004 elections. In short, Senator Specter has been involved in national politics since the 1950’s, when our current President was in grade school. It is time for President Bush to respect his elders once again. As the Republican majority in the Senate widened from 51 seats in 55 seats on Tuesday night, President Bush will find it much easier to pass leglislation through Congress. It will be much more difficult for the liberal majority to filibuster some of Bush’s measures, particularly with vocal Democrat Tom Daschle’s defeat in the largely conservative state of South Dakota. Still, as per the advice of Senator Specter, Bush needs to practice some caution with regards to one hot issue: the selection of Supreme Court judges. Specter, now the head of the Senate Judiciary Committee, once again stepped on a few Republican toes when he stated that President Bush should be “mindful of his considerations” with respect to the selection of Supreme Court justices. A large number of justices are over 70, some over 80, and are leaning towards retirement. The speculation has been that Bush will appoint largely pro-life judges to the Supreme Court in an attempt to overturn Roe v. Wade. Top G.O.P. Senators such as Bill Frist and George Allen have been very vocal about President Bush’s necessity to act quickly in naming new pro-life judges. With an overwhelming majority in the Senate, most feel that Republicans will garner a 60-vote majority to avoid a Democratic filibuster. With this in mind, President Bush needs to take the advice of Senator Specter. The time is not right to overturn Roe v. Wade. President Bush was elected for the second time based upon the choice of the people. His successful economic programs to limit progressive and corporate taxes were employed for their merits on choice. The monumentous overthrow of Saddam Hussein in Iraq was based upon the President’s gutsy choice to invade said nation. The President ordered reform in the University of Michigan’s affirmative action process based upon choice. That a University can choose from a larger pool of applicants who to add to its incoming class. Choice is what makes America great and choice is what has President Bush back in the White House. President Bush needs to accept the advice of Senator Specter for reasons of choice, which needs to extend from the business world to personal rights.