Life sucks! The GOP wants to micromanage your life and the Democrats want to take your money. We wont have freedom till the Libertarians get into power.
With GOP control, Bush to push social agenda
By Jim VandeHei Washington Post Nov. 25, 2002
WASHINGTON - With Democrats no longer blocking their way in the Senate, President Bush and Republican congressional leaders plan a more vigorous push on their social policy agenda by trying to limit abortions, provide greater support to religious groups and increase funding for sexual abstinence and fatherhood programs, according to White House officials and key lawmakers.
When the Democrats' 18-month rule of the Senate ends in January, Bush - backed by a new Senate majority, a larger House majority and what many GOP officials perceive as a new mandate from voters - will be in a stronger position to make broad social changes than he was during his first two years in office.
Republicans plan to use this power to help more religious groups administer government social programs, appoint more conservative judges, outlaw late-term abortions and increase funding for pro-family initiatives and sexual abstinence teachings as part of a new welfare law.
Republican Conference Chairman Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, the Senate GOP's third-ranking leader, said Bush and the Republican-led Congress will take the country in a "more conservative direction" in the next two years.
"There are a lot of conservative groups who would like to see things they care about considered," he said.
Senate Majority Leader-elect Trent Lott, R-Miss., said most of the country is hungry for policies that discourage abortions and encourage churches and other groups to help families.
"The only places where these ideas are considered bad are on the two coasts," Lott said in an interview last week. "Where the meat is in the sandwich, the rest of America, these are pretty mainstream ideas."
Lott said Republicans would focus most of their attention on terrorism and economic issues, but not shy away from fights over social policies that most Democrats oppose.
Bush, a born-again Christian, supports the party's social agenda, though some advisers worry that high-profile fights over abortion or other divisive issues might turn off independent voters in 2004. The president is eager to advance the cause where he can, aides said, although he has shown a willingness to soft-pedal some proposals when political opposition grows.
To be sure, Republicans risk a voter backlash if they are seen as overreaching on domestic policy. Exit polls from the Nov. 5 elections suggest the GOP picked up seats as a result of Bush's popularity and his handling of the war on terrorism, not the party's social agenda.
In a news conference Wednesday, outgoing Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D., predicted Republicans would try to "placate" conservatives, which "gives us an opportunity to showcase the difference" between the two parties heading into the 2004 elections.
Republicans are under pressure from many leading social conservatives to move aggressively in the months ahead.
In the clearest sign yet that compromise isn't on their minds, the Christian Coalition, Family Research Council and other socially conservative groups helped sink a bankruptcy bill shortly after the elections because it contained a provision they felt would discourage abortion critics from protesting.