Bush’s civil rights record appalling

Scant attention was paid in the national press earlier this month to the release of an official staff report of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission. The report is titled: “The Civil Rights Record of the George W. Bush Administration.”

Submission of the report is required by law, but the public release was blocked by Republican commissioners. Nonetheless, the report was posted on the commission’s Web site.

It stated: “This report finds that President Bush has neither exhibited leadership on pressing civil rights issues, nor taken actions that matched his words.” (Common Dreams.org)

Bush reportedly has had little regard for the commission since it reported in June 2001 about election practices in Florida during the 2000 campaign. In that report, it said: “The commission’s findings make one thing clear: widespread voter disenfranchisement—not the dead heat contest—was the extraordinary feature in the Florida election. The disenfranchisement of Florida’s voters fell most harshly on the shoulders of black voters.”

Sidney Blumenthal, writing for Common Dreams, commented: “Since 2002, when Republicans exploited terrorism to besmirch the patriotism of Democrats in the midterm elections, what can only be called a new Democratic Party has been summoned into existence by extra-party groups.”

Blumenthal reported more than 10,000 activists working Ohio precincts alone and more than 300,000 new Democratic voters have been added. These were not coincidence or the result of recent fervor, they were organized registrations.

The polls, which recently have reflected a tie, do not account for these new voters who lack a past record. It is estimated that many in this group—6 percent of the population–will vote Democrat by a 2.5 to 1 margin.

One poll, by Democracy Corps, does allow for newly registered voters. Four months ago, they were only 1 percent of the sample. Today, they are at 7 percent and rising, and they will pick Kerry over Bush by 61 percent to 37 percent, according to Blumenthal.

Democracy Corps said the deciding factor in the election will be the turnout. The more voters appear, the bigger the Democratic vote.

This poll shows Bush’s job approval rating has dropped to 47. No president with a rating of less than 50 has ever won re-election. Bush has not been in Ohio for three weeks, but plans to campaign there this week. Ohio unemployment continues to climb. Stanley Greenberg, Bill Clinton’s pollster in 1992, said: “There is no other explanation for his absence, other than his numbers go down when he’s there. His position on jobs is implausible.”

Blumenthal reported Bush was on the defensive after The New York Times reported on a closed gathering of Bush campaign contributors. At that meeting, Bush disclosed his second term agenda: put a majority of conservative justices on the Supreme Court; privatize Social Security; open more public land to the oil companies for drilling; and more tax cuts.

Blumenthal noted that when Kerry brought up these items, Bush complained that Kerry was practicing “the politics of fear.” Next day, Vice President Cheney forecast nuclear weapons exploding on U.S. soil unless Bush is re-elected.

Sidney Blumenthal is Washington bureau chief of Salon.com

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