The commotion about charges of possible election fraud has obscured one very important fact about last week’s election, which is the way President George W. Bush won. He won dirty. In fact, it was the dirtiest, most divisive and unethical national campaign I have seen since, well, since his father, George H. W. Bush, used TV ads to scare white people into believing violent black thugs would flood their streets if his opponent, Michael Dukakis, won.
In this case, the Bush team spent tens of millions of dollars to paint a decorated Vietnam war veteran, John Kerry, as a traitor and a liar. This from the camp of a man who used family connections to avoid service in Vietnam.
The Bush team did not use this campaign to talk about the real issues that matter in our lives, including health care, the plight of the middle class, or even the best strategy to stop terrorism. Instead, they made sure this election was all about fear, right down to the pack of wolves they set loose in their final TV ads.
But even that pales in comparison to the way the Bush crew stoked the fires of homophobia and prejudice with their multi-state crusade against gays, which succeeded in denying them the same rights to happiness and security as everyone else. What can be worse or more reprehensible than villifying a minority group for political gain?
So yes, history will record that President George W. Bush has won re-election. But history will also record how he did it. And that stain will endure much longer than the four more years of power President Bush secured with his scurrilous campaign.