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History > 20th, early 21st century > USA


Politics > Presidential election




President Bush's

State of the Union Address


February 2, 2005
The New York Times


The following is the transcript

of the State of the Union Address

as recorded by Federal News Service.


PRESIDENT BUSH: Mr. Speaker, Vice President Cheney, members of Congress, fellow citizens, as a new Congress gathers, all of us in the elected branches of government share a great privilege. We've been placed in office by the votes of the people we serve. And tonight, that is a privilege we share with newly elected leaders of Afghanistan, the Palestinian territories, Ukraine, and a free and sovereign Iraq. (Cheers, applause.)

Two weeks ago I stood on the steps of this Capitol and renewed the commitment of our nation to the guiding ideal of liberty for all. This evening I will set forth policies to advance that ideal at home and around the world. Tonight, with a healthy, growing economy, with more Americans going back to work, with our nation an active force for good in the world, the state of our union is confident and strong. (Applause.)

Our generation has been blessed by the expansion of opportunity, by advances in medicine, by the security purchased by our parents' sacrifice. Now, as we see a little gray in the mirror -- or a lot of gray -- (laughter) -- and we watch our children moving into adulthood, we ask the question, what will be the state of their union? Members of Congress, the choices we make together will answer that question. Over the next several months, on issue after issue, let us do what Americans have always done and build a better world for our children and our grandchildren. (Applause.)

First, we must be good stewards of this economy and renew the great institutions on which millions of our fellow citizens rely. America's economy is the fastest growing of any major industrialized nation. In the past four years we've provided tax relief to every person who pays income taxes, overcome a recession, opened up new markets abroad, prosecuted corporate criminals, raised homeownership to its highest level in history, and in the last year alone the United States has added 2.3 million new jobs. (Cheers, applause.)

When action was needed, the Congress delivered, and the nation is grateful. Now we must add to these achievements. By making our economy more flexible, more innovative, and more competitive, we will keep America the economic leader of the world. (Applause.)

America's prosperity requires restraining the spending appetite of the federal government. I welcome the bipartisan enthusiasm for spending discipline. I will send you a budget that holds the growth of discretionary spending below inflation, makes tax relief permanent, and stays on track to cut the deficit in half by 2009. (Applause.)

My budget substantially reduces or eliminates more than 150 government programs that are not getting results or duplicate current efforts or do not fulfill essential priorities.

The principle here is clear: Taxpayer dollars must be spent wisely or not at all. (Applause.)

To make our economy stronger and more dynamic, we must prepare a rising generation to fill the jobs of the 21st century. Under the No Child Left Behind Act, standards are higher, test scores are on the rise, and we're closing the achievement gap for minority students. Now we must demand better results from our high schools so every high school diploma is a ticket to success.

We will help an additional 200,000 workers to get training for a better career by reforming our job training system and strengthening America's community colleges. And we will make it easier for Americans to afford a college education by increasing the size of Pell grants. (Applause.)

To make our economy stronger and more competitive, America must reward, not punish, the efforts and dreams of entrepreneurs. Small business is the path of advancement, especially for women and minorities. So we must free small businesses from needless regulation and protection honest job creators from junk lawsuits. (Applause.)

Justice is distorted and our economy is held back by irresponsible class actions and frivolous asbestos claims, and I urge Congress to pass legal reforms this year. (Applause.)

To make our economy stronger and more productive, we must make health care more affordable and give families greater access to good coverage -- (applause) -- and more control over their health decisions. (Applause.)

I -- I ask Congress to move forward on a comprehensive health care agenda with tax credits to help low-income workers buy insurance, a community health center in every poor country, improved information technology to prevent medical error and needless costs, association health plans for small business and their employees -- (cheers, applause) -- expanded health savings accounts -- (cheers, applause) -- and medical liability reform that will reduce health care costs and make sure patients have the doctors and care they need. (Cheers, applause.)

To keep our economy growing, we also need reliable supplies of affordable, environmentally responsible energy. (Cheers, applause.)

Nearly four years ago, I submitted a comprehensive energy strategy that encourages conservation, alternative sources, a modernized electricity grid, and more production here at home, including safe, clean nuclear energy. (Applause.)

My Clear Skies legislation will cut power plant pollution and improve the health of our citizens. (Applause.) And my budget provides strong funding for leading-edge technology, from hydrogen- fueled cars to clean coal to renewable sources such as ethanol. (Applause.) Four years of debate is enough! (Cheers.) I urge Congress to pass legislation that makes America more secure and less dependent on foreign energy. (Cheers, applause.)

All these proposals are essential to expand this economy and add new jobs, but they are just the beginning of our duty. To build the prosperity of future generations, we must update institutions that were created to meet the needs of an earlier time.

Year after year, Americans are burdened by an archaic, incoherent federal tax code. I've appointed a bipartisan panel to examine the tax code from top to bottom. And when the recommendations are delivered, you and I will work together to give this nation a tax code that is pro-growth, easy to understand and fair to all. (Applause.)

America's immigration system is also outdated, unsuited to the needs of our economy and to the values of our country. We should not be content with laws that punish hardworking people who want only to provide for their families -- (scattered applause) -- and deny businesses willing workers and invite chaos at our border. It is time for an immigration policy that permits temporary guest workers to fill jobs Americans will not take, that rejects amnesty, that tells us who is entering and leaving our country, and that closes the border to drug dealers and terrorists. (Applause.)

One of America's most important institutions, a symbol of the trust between generations, is also in need of wise and effective reform. Social Security was a great moral success of the 20th century, and we must honor its great purposes in this new century. (Applause.)

The system, however, on its current path, is headed toward bankruptcy, and so we must join together to strengthen and save Social Security. (Cheers, applause.)

Today, more than 45 million Americans receive Social Security benefits, and millions more are nearing retirement. And for them, the system is strong and fiscally sound. I have a message for every American who is 55 or older: Do not let anyone mislead you. For you, the Social Security system will not change in any way. (Applause.)

For younger workers, the Social Security system has serious problems that will grow worse with time.

Social Security was created decades ago, for a very different era. In those days people didn't live as long, benefits were much lower than they are today, and a half century ago, about 16 workers paid into the system for each person drawing benefits. Our society has changed in ways the founders of Social Security could not have foreseen. In today's world, people are living longer, and therefore drawing benefits longer -- and those benefits are scheduled to rise dramatically over the next few decades. (Scattered applause.) And instead of 16 workers paying in for every beneficiary, right now it's only about three workers. And over the next few decades, that number will fall to just two workers per beneficiary. With each passing year, fewer workers are paying ever-higher benefits to an ever-larger number of retirees.

So here is the result. Thirteen years from now, in 2018, Social Security will be paying out more than it takes in. And every year afterward will bring a new shortfall, bigger than the year before. For example, in the year 2027, the government will somehow have to come up with an extra $200 billion to keep the system afloat.

And by 2033, the annual shortfall would be more than $300 billion. By the year 2042, the entire system would be exhausted and bankrupt. (Noes are heard.) If steps are not taken to avert that outcome, the only solutions would be dramatically higher taxes, massive new borrowing, or sudden and severe cuts in Social Security benefits or other government programs. (Noes are heard.)

I recognize that 2018 and 2042 may seem a long way off, but those dates aren't so distant, as any parent will tell you. If you have a five-year-old, you're already concerned about how you'll pay for college tuition 13 years down the road. If you've got children in their 20s, as some of us do, the idea of Social Security collapsing before they retire does not seem like a small matter. And it should not be a small matter to the United States Congress. (Cheers, applause.)

You and I share a responsibility. We must pass reforms that solve the financial problems of Social Security once and for all.

Fixing Social Security permanently will require an open, candid review of the options. Some have suggested limiting benefits for wealthy retirees. Former Congressman Tim Penny has raised the possibility of indexing benefits to prices rather than wages. During the 1990s, my predecessor, President Clinton, spoke of increasing the retirement age. Former Senator John Breaux suggested discouraging early collection of Social Security benefits. The late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan recommended changing the way benefits are calculated.

All these ideas are on the table. I know that none of these reforms would be easy. But we have to move ahead with courage and honesty, because our children's retirement security is more important than partisan politics. (Applause.)

I will work with members of Congress to find the most effective combination of reforms. I will listen to anyone who has a good idea to offer. (Cheers, applause.) We must, however, be guided by some basic principles. We must make Social Security permanently sound, not leave that task for another day. We must not jeopardize our economic strength by increasing payroll taxes. We must ensure that lower- income Americans get the help they need to have dignity and peace of mind in their retirement. We must guarantee that there is no change for those now retired or nearing retirement. And we must take care that any changes in the system are gradual, so younger workers have years to prepare and plan for their future.

As we fix Social Security, we also have the responsibility to make the system a better deal for younger workers, and the best way to reach that goal is through voluntary personal retirement accounts. (Applause.)

Here's how the idea works. Right now, a set portion of the money you earn is taken out of your paycheck to pay for the Social Security benefits of today's retirees. If you are a younger worker, I believe you should be able to set aside part of that money in your own retirement account, so you can build a nest egg for your own future.

Here is why personal accounts are a better deal. Your money will grow, over time, at a greater rate than anything the current system can deliver, and your account will provide money for retirement over and above the check you will receive from Social Security. In addition, you'll be able to pass along the money that accumulates in your personal account, if you wish, to your children and -- or grandchildren. And best of all, the money in the account is yours, and the government can never take it away. (Cheers, applause.)

The goal here is greater security in retirement, so we will set careful guidelines for personal accounts. We will make sure the money can only go into a conservative mix of bonds and stock funds. We will make sure that your earnings are not eaten up by hidden Wall Street fees. We will make sure there are good options to protect your investments from sudden market swings on the eve of your retirement.

We'll make sure a personal account cannot be emptied out all at once, but rather paid out over time, as an addition to traditional Social Security benefits. And we will make sure this plan is fiscally responsible, by starting personal retirement accounts gradually, and raising the yearly limits on contributions over time, eventually permitting all workers to set aside 4 percentage points of their payroll taxes in their accounts.

Personal retirement accounts should be familiar to federal employees because you already have something similar called the Thrift Savings Plan, which lets workers deposit a portion of their paychecks into any of five different broadly based investment funds. It's time to extend the same security, and choice, and ownership to young Americans. (Cheers, applause.)

Our second great responsibility to our children and grandchildren is to honor and to pass along the values that sustain a free society. So many of my generation, after a long journey, have come home to family and faith and are determined to bring up responsible, moral children. Government is not the source of these values, but government should never undermine them.

Because marriage is a sacred institution and the foundation of society, it should not be redefined by activist judges. For the good of families, children and society, I support a constitutional amendment to protect the institution of marriage. (Cheers, applause.)

Because a society is measured by how it treats the weak and vulnerable, we must strive to build a culture of life.

Medical research can help us reach that goal by developing treatments and cures that save lives and help people overcome disabilities, and I thank Congress for doubling the funding of the National Institutes of Health. (Applause.)

To build a culture of life, we must also ensure that scientific advances always serve human dignity, not take advantage of some lives for the benefit of others. (Applause.) We should all be able to agree -- (applause) -- we should all be able to agree on some clear standards. I will work with Congress to ensure that human embryos are not created for experimentation or grown for body parts, and that human life is never bought or sold as a commodity. (Applause.)

America will continue to lead the world in medical research that is ambitious, aggressive and always ethical.

Because courts must always deliver impartial justice, judges have a duty to faithfully interpret the law, not legislate from the bench. (Applause.) As president, I have a constitutional responsibility to nominate men and women who understand the role of courts in our democracy and are well qualified to serve on the bench, and I have done so. (Applause.)

The Constitution also gives the Senate a responsibility: Every judicial nominee deserves an up-or-down vote. (Cheers, applause.)

Because one of the deepest values of our country is compassion, we must never turn away from any citizen who feels isolated from the opportunities of America. Our government will continue to support faith-based and community groups that bring hope to harsh places.

Now we need to focus on giving young people, especially young men in our cities, better options than apathy, or gangs, or jail. Tonight I propose a three-year initiative to help organizations keep young people out of gangs, and show young men an ideal of manhood that respects women and rejects violence. (Applause.)

Taking on gang life will be one part of a broader outreach to at- risk youth which involves parents and pastors, coaches and community leaders, in programs ranging from literacy to sports. And I am proud that the leader of this nationwide effort will be our First Lady, Laura Bush. (Cheers, applause.)

Because HIV/AIDS brings suffering and fear into so many lives, I ask you to reauthorize the Ryan White Act to encourage prevention, and provide care and treatment to the victims of that disease. (Applause.)

And as we update this important law, we must focus our efforts on fellow citizens with the highest rates of new cases, African-American men and women. (Applause.) Because one of the main sources of our national unity is our belief in equal justice, we need to make sure Americans of all races and backgrounds have confidence in the system that provides justice.

In America, we must make doubly sure no person is held to account for a crime he or she did not commit, so we are dramatically expanding the use of DNA evidence to prevent wrongful conviction. (Applause.) Soon I will send to Congress a proposal to fund special training for defense counsel in capital cases because people on trial for their lives must have competent lawyers by their side. (Applause.)

Our third responsibility to future generations is to leave them an America that is safe from danger and protected by peace. We will pass along to our children all the freedoms we enjoy; and chief among them is freedom from fear.

In the three and a half years since September 11th, 2001, we've taken unprecedented actions to protect Americans. We've created a new department of government to defend our homeland, focused the FBI on preventing terrorism, begun to reform our intelligence agencies, broken up terror cells across the country, expanded research on defenses against biological and chemical attack, improved border security, and trained more than a half million first responders.

Police and firefighters, air marshals, researchers and so many others are working every day to make our homeland safer, and we thank them all. (Extended applause.)

Our nation, working with allies and friends, has also confronted the enemy abroad, with measures that are determined, successful and continuing. The al Qaeda terror network that attacked our country still has leaders, but many of its top commanders have been removed. There are still governments that sponsor and harbor terrorists, but their number has declined. There are still regimes seeking weapons of mass destruction, but no longer without attention and without consequence. Our country is still the target of terrorists who want to kill many and intimidate us all, and we will stay on the offensive against them until the fight is won. (Cheers, applause.)

Pursuing our enemies is a vital commitment of the war on terror, and I thank the Congress for providing our servicemen and -women with the resources they have needed.

During this time of war, we must continue to support our military and give them the tools for victory. (Applause.)

Other nations around the globe have stood with us. In Afghanistan, an international force is helping provide security. In Iraq, 28 countries have troops on the ground, the United Nations and the European Union provided technical assistance for the elections, and NATO is leading a mission to help train Iraqi officers.

We're cooperating with 60 governments in the Proliferation Security Initiative to detect and stop the transit of dangerous materials. We're working closely with governments in Asia to convince North Korea to abandon its nuclear ambitions.

Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and nine other countries have captured or detained al-Qaeda terrorists.

In the next four years, my administration will continue to build the coalitions that will defeat the dangers of our time. (Applause.)

In the long term, the peace we seek will only be achieved by eliminating the conditions that feed radicalism and ideologies of murder. If whole regions of the world remain in despair and grow in hatred, they will be the recruiting grounds for terror, and that terror will stalk America and other free nations for decades. The only force powerful enough to stop the rise of tyranny and terror, and replace hatred with hope, is the force of human freedom. (Cheers, applause.)

Our enemies know this, and that is why the terrorist Zarqawi recently declared war on what he called the "evil principle" of democracy. And we've declared our own intention: America will stand with the allies of freedom to support democratic movements in the Middle East and beyond, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world. (Applause.)

The United States has no right, no desire and no intention to impose our form of government on anyone else. That is one -- (applause) -- that is one of the main differences between us and our enemies. They seek to impose and expand an empire of oppression, in which a tiny group of brutal, self-appointed rulers control every aspect of every life. Our aim is to build and preserve a community of free and independent nations, with governments that answer to their citizens and reflect their own cultures.

And because democracies respect their own people and their neighbors, the advance of freedom will lead to peace. (Applause.)

That advance has great momentum in our time, shown by women voting in Afghanistan and Palestinians choosing a new direction, and the people of Ukraine asserting their democratic rights and electing a president. We are witnessing landmark events in the history of liberty, and in the coming years, we will add to that story. (Cheers, applause.)

The beginnings of reform and democracy in the Palestinian territories are now showing the power of freedom to break old patterns of violence and failure. Tomorrow morning, Secretary of State Rice departs on a trip that will take her to Israel and the West Bank for meetings with Prime Minister Sharon and President Abbas. She will discuss with them how we and our friends can help the Palestinian people end terror and build the institutions of a peaceful, independent democratic state.

To promote this democracy, I will ask Congress for $350 million to support Palestinian political, economic, and security reforms. The goal of two democratic states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace is within reach -- and America will help them achieve that goal. (Applause.)

To promote peace and stability in the broader Middle East, the United States will work with our friends in the region to fight the common threat of terror, while we encourage a higher standard of freedom. Hopeful reform is already taking hold in an arc from Morocco to Jordan to Bahrain. The government of Saudi Arabia can demonstrate its leadership in the region by expanding the role of its people in determining their future. And the great and proud nation of Egypt, which showed the way toward peace in the Middle East, can now show the way toward democracy in the Middle East. (Applause.)

To promote peace in the broader Middle East, we must confront regimes that continue to harbor terrorists and pursue weapons of mass murder. Syria still allows its territory, and parts of Lebanon, to be used by terrorists who seek to destroy every chance of peace in the region.

You have passed, and we are applying, the Syrian Accountability Act, and we expect the Syrian government to end all support for terror and open the door to freedom. (Applause.)

Today, Iran remains the world's primary state sponsor of terror, pursuing nuclear weapons while depriving its people of the freedom they seek and deserve. We are working with European allies to make clear to the Iranian regime that it must give up its uranium enrichment program and any plutonium reprocessing and end its support for terror. And to the Iranian people, I say tonight: As you stand for your own liberty, America stands with you. (Cheers, applause.)

Our generational commitment to the advance of freedom, especially in the Middle East, is now being tested and honored in Iraq. That country is a vital front in the war on terror, which is why the terrorists have chosen to make a stand there. Our men and women in uniform are fighting terrorists in Iraq so we do not have to face them here at home. (Applause.)

The victory of freedom in Iraq will strengthen a new ally in the war on terror, inspire democratic reformers from Damascus to Tehran, bring more hope and progress to a troubled region, and thereby lift a terrible threat from the lives of our children and grandchildren.

We will succeed because the Iraqi people value their own liberty -- as they showed the world last Sunday. (Cheers, applause.) Across Iraq, often at great risk, millions of citizens went to the polls and elected 275 men and women to represent them in a new Transitional National Assembly. A young woman in Baghdad told of waking to the sound of mortar fire on election day and wondering if it might be too dangerous to vote.

She said, "Hearing those explosions, it occurred to me: the insurgents are weak, they are afraid of democracy, they are losing. So I got my husband and I got my parents, and we all came out and voted together."

Americans recognize that spirit of liberty, because we share it. In any nation, casting your vote is an act of civic responsibility. For millions of Iraqis, it was also an act of personal courage, and they have earned the respect of us all. (Applause.)

One of Iraq's leading democracy and human rights advocates is Safia Taleb al-Suhail. She says of her country, "We were occupied for 35 years by Saddam Hussein. That was the real occupation. Thank you to the American people who paid the cost, but most of all to the soldiers."

Eleven years ago, Safia's father was assassinated by Saddam's intelligence service. Three days ago in Baghdad, Safia was finally able to vote for the leaders of her country. And we are honored that she is with us tonight. (Extended cheers and applause.)

The terrorists and insurgents are violently opposed to democracy, and will continue to attack it. Yet the terrorists' most powerful myth is being destroyed. The whole world is seeing that the car bombers and assassins are not only fighting coalition forces, they are trying to destroy the hopes of Iraqis, expressed in free elections. And the whole world now knows that a small group of extremists will not overturn the will of the Iraqi people. (Cheers, applause.)

We will succeed in Iraq because Iraqis are determined to fight for their own freedom and to write their own history. As Prime Minister Allawi said in his speech to Congress last September, "Ordinary Iraqis are anxious" to "shoulder all the security burdens of our country as quickly as possible." This is the natural desire of an independent nation, and it also is the stated mission of our coalition in Iraq.

The new political situation in Iraq opens a new phase of our work in that country. At the recommendation of our commanders on the ground, and in consultation with the Iraqi government, we will increasingly focus our efforts on helping prepare more capable Iraqi security forces, forces with skilled officers and an effective command structure.

As those forces become more self-reliant and take on greater security responsibilities, America and its coalition partners will increasingly be in a supporting role. In the end, Iraqis must be able to defend their own country -- and we will help that proud, new nation secure its liberty.

Recently, an Iraqi interpreter said to a reporter, "Tell America not to abandon us." He and all Iraqis can be certain: While our military strategy is adapting to circumstances, our commitment remains firm and unchanging. We are standing for the freedom of our Iraqi friends, and freedom in Iraq will make America safer for generations to come. (Cheers, applause.)

We will not set an artificial timetable for leaving Iraq because that would embolden the terrorists and make them believe they can wait us out. We are in Iraq to achieve a result: a country that is democratic, representative of all its people, at peace with its neighbors, and able to defend itself.

And when that result is achieved, our men and women serving in Iraq will return home with the honor they have earned. (Applause.)

Right now, Americans in uniform are serving at posts across the world, often taking great risks, on my orders. We have given them training and equipment, and they have given us an example of idealism and character that makes every American proud. (Applause.) The volunteers of our military are unrelenting in battle, unwavering in loyalty, unmatched in honor and decency, and every day they are making our nation more secure.

Some of our servicemen and women have survived terrible injuries, and this grateful nation will do everything we can to help them recover. (Applause.)

And we have said farewell to some very good men and women, who died for our freedom and whose memory this nation will honor forever. One name we honor is Marine Corps Sergeant Byron Norwood of Pflugerville, Texas, who was killed during the assault on Fallujah. His mom, Janet, sent me a letter and told me how much Byron loved being a Marine and how proud he was to be on the front line against terror. She wrote, "When Byron was home the last time, I said that I wanted to protect him, like I had since he was born. He just hugged me and said, `You've done your job, Mom. Now it is my turn to protect you.'"

Ladies and gentlemen, with grateful hearts, we honor freedom's defenders and our military families, represented here this evening by Sergeant Norwood's mom and dad, Janet and Bill Norwood. (Extended applause and cheers.)

In these four years, Americans have seen the unfolding of large events. We have known times of sorrow and hours of uncertainty and days of victory. In all this history, even when we have disagreed, we have seen threads of purpose that unite us. The attack on freedom in our world has reaffirmed our confidence in freedom's power to change the world. We are all part of a great venture: to extend the promise of freedom in our country, to renew the values that sustain our liberty, and to spread the peace that freedom brings.

As Franklin Roosevelt once reminded Americans, "each age is a dream that is dying, or one that is coming to birth." And we live in the country where the biggest dreams are born. The abolition of slavery was only a dream, until it was fulfilled.

The liberation of Europe from fascism was only a dream -- until it was achieved. The fall of imperial communism was only a dream -- until one day it was accomplished.

Our generation has dreams of its own, and we also go forward with confidence. The road of Providence is uneven and unpredictable -- yet we know where it leads: It leads to freedom.

Thank you, and may God bless America. (Cheers, applause.)


President Bush's State of the Union Address,
February 2, 2005, http://www.nytimes.com/2005/02/02/politics/02text-bush.html
































The Guardian        p. 17        14.10.2004















All the president's men

Who's backing who in White House race


Bush backers

Bill Gates chairman, Microsoft

Steve Ballmer chief executive, Microsoft

Lee Scott chief executive Wal-Mart

Meg Whitman chief executive, eBay

Carly Fiorina chief executive Hewlett-Packard

Rupert Murdoch chairman and chief executive, News Corporation

Sumner Redstone chairman and chief executive, Viacom

Henry Kravis founding partner, Kohlberg, Kravis and Roberts

Stan O'Neal chairman and chief executive,
Merrill Lynch Sam Palmisano chairman and chief executive, IBM

Michael Dell chairman, Dell

Craig Barrett chief executive, Intel

Terry Semel chairman and chief executive, Yahoo!

Philip Purcell chief executive, Morgan Stanley

Brian Roberts chairman and chief executive, Comcast

James Quigley chief executive, Deloitte and Touche

Charles Cawley chairman and chief executive MBNA

James Cayne chairman and chief executive, Bear Stearns

Hank Greenberg chairman and chief executive, American International Group

Thomas Hicks chairman and chief executive, Hicks Muse Tate & Furst


Kerry's heroes

Harvey Weinstein co-chairman Miramax

Edgar Bronfman Jr chairman, chief executive Warner Music

Donna Karan founder Donna Karan

Barry Diller chairman and chief executive, InterAtiveCorp

Peter Chernin chief operating officer, News Corporation

Robert Fisher chairman, Gap

Steve Jobs chairman, Apple

Warren Buffett chairman Berkshire Hathaway

George Soros chairman, Soros Fund Management

Eric Schmidt chief executive, Google

Charles Gifford chairman, Bank of America

Jim Clark Netscape founder

Jann Wenner chairman Wenner Media

August Busch IV president, Anheuser-Busch

Owsley Brown II chief executive, Brown Forman

Robert Hormats vice-chairman, Goldman Sachs

Thomas Lee president, Thomas Lee Company

Arthur Levitt former chairman of the securities and exchange commission

Jeffrey Katzenberg co-founder Dreamworks

    Source : G, 27.10.2004, http://digital.guardian.co.uk/guardian/2004/10/27/pages/brd21.shtml

















The Guardian        p. 12        27.10.2004
















The triumph of the religious right

Nov 11th 2004 | WASHINGTON,DC

From The Economist print edition






Alamy        The Economist        11.11.2004





It may look like that, but liberals should think again before despairing


IN A novel, set in the 1960s, by John Kennedy Toole, “A Confederacy of Dunces”, the hero, Ignatius Reilly, goes to a gay party to drum up political support.


In the centre of another knot [of guests] stood a lout in a black leather jacket who was teaching judo holds, to the great delight of his epicene students. “Oh, do teach me that,” someone near the wrestler screamed after an elegant guest had been twisted into an obscene position and then thrown to the floor to land with a crash of cuff-links and other, assorted jewelry. “Good gracious,” Ignatius spluttered. “I can see that we're going to have a great deal of trouble capturing the conservative rural red-neck Calvinist vote.”


Now, it seems, the conservative rural red-neck Calvinist vote has captured America. A plurality of voters, emerging from poll booths, said that the most important issue in the campaign had been “moral values”. It was not, it seemed, Iraq or the economy. And eight out of ten of these moralists voted for George Bush.

The thought that the anti-gay, anti-abortion Christian right had decided the election dismayed left-wing Americans. Garry Wills in the New York Times suggested that a fundamentalist Christian revival was in revolt against the traditions of the Enlightenment, on which the country is based. “I hope we all realise that, as of November 2nd, gay rights are officially dead. And that from here on we are going to be led even closer to the guillotine,” said Larry Kramer, a playwright and AIDS activist.

Secular Europeans wondered whether they and the Americans were now on different planets. The week before the election, Rocco Buttiglione had been forced to withdraw his nomination as a European Union commissioner because he had said that homosexuality was a sin, and that marriage exists for children and the protection of women. In America, he would probably have won Ohio.

Der Spiegel, Germany's most popular newsweekly, put the statue of liberty on its cover, blindfolded by an American flag. Britain's Daily Mirror asked, “How can 59,054,087 people be so DUMB?” And a contributor to Pravda, that bastion of religious expertise, claimed that “the Christian fundamentalists of America are the mirror image of the Taliban, both of which insult and deny their Gods.”

Hang on a moment. It is perfectly true that one of America's most overtly religious presidents of recent times has been re-elected with an increased majority. It is also true that 13 states this year passed state referendums banning gay marriage—in most cases by larger majorities than Mr Bush managed—and that a plurality of American voters put “moral values” at the top of their list of concerns.


A moral majority? Not really

But they hardly formed a moral majority. Look at the figures: the moralists' share of the electorate was only 22%, just two points more than the share of those who cited the economy, and three points more than those who nominated terrorism as the top priority. A few points difference (and the exit polls are, after all, not entirely reliable) and everyone would have been saying the election was about jobs or Iraq.

Moreover, that 22% share is much lower than it was in the two previous presidential elections, in 2000 and 1996. Then, 35% and 40%, respectively, put moral or ethical issues top, and a further 14% and 9% put abortion first, an option that was not given in 2004. Thus, in those two elections, about half the electorate said they voted on moral matters; this time, only a fifth did.

Of course, in those previous elections there was no war on terrorism, nor had there just been a recession. So one could argue that it was remarkable that even a fifth of voters were still concerned about moral matters when so many other big issues were at stake. Maybe, but all that this means is that the war on terrorism has not fundamentally altered, or made irrelevant, the cultural, moral and religious divisions that have polarised America for so long.


A church-going land

It is also important to judge the religious-moral vote against the background of American religiosity in general. America is traditionally much more religious than any European country, with 80% of Americans saying they believe in God and 60% agreeing that “religion plays an important part in my life”.

What may be changing is that the country is getting a little more intense in its religious beliefs. Also, and this could be more important, it is becoming more willing to tolerate religious involvement in the public sphere. A study by the Pew Research Centre reported that the number of those who “agree strongly” with core items of Christian dogma rose substantially between 1965 and 2003. So did the number of those who believe that there are clear guidelines about good and evil, and that these guidelines apply regardless of circumstances. Gallup polls in the 1960s found that over half of all Americans thought that churches should not be involved in politics. Now, over half think that they can be.

At the same time, alongside all these signs of more intense religiosity, there are indications of mellowing and tolerance. Support for interracial dating has virtually doubled since 1987; discrimination against people with HIV/AIDS has become socially unacceptable; tolerance for gays in public life has risen by half—though gay marriage is still seen as a totally different matter. Americans may be holding tenaciously to a strict view of personal morality, but they say that they do not want to impose their views on others (abortion seems to be the big exception).

The fact that there was a substantial religious-moral vote is not by itself evidence of a political breakthrough by religious conservatives. Nor is it necessarily a sign of growing intolerance. The real question is whether there was anything new about what happened last week that might pave the way for such things to happen in the future. The answer is yes, though not quite in the way you might expect.

In 2000, 15m evangelical Protestants voted. They accounted for 23% of the electorate, and 71% of them voted for Mr Bush. This time, estimates Luis Lugo, the director of the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, they again accounted for about 23% of the electorate—which means that evangelicals did not increase their share of the vote. But overall turnout was much higher, and 78% of the evangelicals who voted, voted for Mr Bush. That works out at roughly 3.5m extra votes for him. Mr Bush's total vote rose by 9m (from 50.5m in 2000 to 59.5m), so evangelical Protestants alone accounted for more than a third of his increased vote.


In close association

Thus, the election revealed that though the evangelical share of the electorate has not increased, evangelicals have become much more important to the Republican Party. According to a study for the Pew Forum by John Green of the University of Akron, Ohio, the proportion of evangelicals calling themselves Republicans has risen from 48% to 56% over the past 12 years, making them among the most solid segments of the party's base.

This close association between party and evangelicals took a lock-step forward during the campaign. Mr Bush's chief policy adviser and campaign chairman held weekly telephone conversations with prominent evangelical Christians, such as Jim Dobson, the head of Focus on the Family, and the Rev Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention. Ralph Reed, formerly the executive director of the Christian Coalition, became the campaign's regional co-ordinator for the south-east—a move that encapsulates the integration of evangelical voters into the party.

Hitherto, evangelical Protestants have been the objects of Republican outreach. This time, they took the initiative themselves, asking for and distributing voter registration cards and collecting the signatures required to put anti-gay-marriage initiatives on the ballot. As the church organisers tell it, the Republican Party was left playing catch-up.


A leaderless lot

The campaign also revealed how decentralised the evangelical movement is. There are respected figures, of course, such as Mr Dobson, and there are self-appointed prophets, such as Pat Robertson. But these people have no official institutional standing, and only limited moral authority. The evangelical involvement in politics was largely the product of grass-roots organising and bottom-up effort. As we will see, this could have implications for how much of their agenda is adopted in practice.

Remember, too, that the religious right and religious America are far from being the same things; Mr Bush's moral majority depended on the votes of other religious groups as well. Catholics, with 27% of voters, are more numerous than evangelicals, and, unusually this year, the Republican candidate won a majority of the Catholic vote (52% against 47%).

Though Mr Bush did especially well among white Catholics and those who attended Mass regularly, he also increased his share of the Hispanic Catholic vote from 31% in 2000 to 42%. This alone accounts for the inroads he made into the Hispanic vote, which has traditionally gone to Democrats by two to one. In all, calculates Mr Lugo, 3.5m more Catholics voted for Mr Bush in 2004 than in 2000. Thus, they were as important to his increased majority as evangelical Protestants were.

















The Economist        11.11.2004















This points to another new development. The election seems to have consolidated the tendency of the most observant members of any church, regardless of denomination, to vote Republican. During the campaign, a debate erupted among Catholics over John Kerry's support for abortion rights. Orthodox Catholics condemned his stance and one bishop even said he would deny the candidate communion (as a Catholic himself, Mr Kerry opposed abortion, but did not back anti-abortion laws). “Progressive” Catholics defended him, but the election returns suggest that the orthodox position won out. That seems characteristic of all denominations.

Mr Green subdivides each church into three groups (see table): traditionalists, centrists and modernists, according to the intensity of belief. Traditionalists believe in church doctrine and go to church once a week or more; modernists are more relaxed. The three most Republican groups are traditionalist evangelicals, traditionalist mainline Protestants and traditionalist Catholics. Modernists lean towards the Democrats.

The election returns are consistent with this: people who go to church once a week or more voted for Mr Bush by nearly two to one. This seems to supersede the historical pattern, whereby evangelicals have tended to vote Republican, Catholics Democratic and mainline Protestants (Lutherans, Methodists) have split their vote.

The implication of these findings is that Mr Bush's moral majority is not, as is often thought, just a bunch of right-wing evangelical Christians. Rather, it consists of traditionalist and observant church-goers of every kind: Catholic and mainline Protestant, as well as evangelicals, Mormons, Sign Followers, you name it. Meanwhile, modernist evangelicals (yes, there are a few) tend to be Democratic.

What happens next?

The big question for the next four years is what the traditionalist constituency will demand of Mr Bush, and whether he will give it what it wants.

Already, self-appointed church leaders are queuing up to claim credit for the election victory and to insist on a bigger role in government. Mr Dobson told ABC's “This Week” programme that “this president has two years, or more broadly the Republican Party has two years, to implement those policies, or certainly four, or I believe they'll pay a price in the next election.”

There is no shortage of politicians, holding some of the more extreme views of the Christian right, who can be counted on to back the church leaders to the hilt. Tom Coburn, the new senator from Oklahoma, has called not just for outlawing abortion but for the death penalty for doctors who break such a law. Another new senator, John Thune of South Dakota, is a creationist. A third, Jim DeMint of South Carolina, has said single mothers should not teach in schools. Evangelicals are already bringing test cases to ensure that school textbooks include creationism and censor gay marriage.

Such local efforts have been common for years. What now matter are the country-wide political views of Mr Bush's traditionalist constituency. On the face of it, these Bush-leaning traditionalists come from central casting: conservative politically, rigid religiously, willing to mix up church and state. According to Mr Green's survey, nine out of ten of them say that the president should have strong religious beliefs, and two-thirds of them also believe that religious groups should involve themselves in politics.

Yet the picture is more complicated than this makes it sound. For instance, in all the religious groups substantial majorities agree that the disadvantaged need government help “to obtain their rightful place in America”.

All favour increasing anti-poverty programmes, even if it means higher taxes. All support stricter environmental regulation. Large majorities say that America should give a high priority to fighting HIV/AIDS abroad. Religious conservatives have been among the strongest backers of intervening in Sudan and increasing AIDS spending in poor countries. If the Bush administration wanted to, it could find plenty of religious support for increased welfare programmes, tougher environmental standards and more foreign aid.

The differences between the religious groups are equally striking. The Protestant traditionalists favour less government spending. But all the Catholics—traditionalist, mainline and modernist alike—favour more.

Traditionalist evangelicals are usually the odd men out. Fully 81% of them say that religion is important to their political thinking—far more than any other group. They are the only ones to rate cultural issues as more important than economic or foreign-policy ones. They are the most opposed to abortion (though 52% say it should be legal in some circumstances) and the most opposed to gay marriage (though 36% say they support gay rights). They also hold highly distinctive foreign-policy views: seven in ten say America has a special role in the world and two-thirds think America should support Israel in its conflict with the Palestinians.

He need not be trapped

Will the new importance of the traditionalist evangelical vote succeed in driving the president in the direction that many of these voters want? Not necessarily. The variety of conservative religious opinion means that Mr Bush need not be trapped by one important wing of his religious base, even if he will certainly not want to neglect it.

For example, the evangelicals' Zionist views are offset by the more even-handed positions of Catholics and mainline Protestants, implying that the president could try to restart the Middle East peace process without risking the wrath of his whole religious constituency. And because the evangelical churches are decentralised, and somewhat leaderless at the national level, it will be hard for any populist to mobilise them against a president they like and respect.

Attempts to ram conservative social policies into law look inevitable. They include the federal amendment banning gay marriage, though this is an uphill struggle that failed by 19 votes in the Senate last time round. Moreover, on the eve of the election, Mr Bush came out in favour of civil unions, which more than half the population, including many religious conservatives, favour. They also include extending a ban on “partial-birth abortion” to cover all third-trimester abortions, and, most important, appointing conservative judges to any Supreme Court vacancies.

This week there was a sign of what may be to come when Republicans threatened to strip Senator Arlen Specter of the chairmanship of the committee that oversees Supreme Court nominations after he said that staunch opponents of abortion were unlikely to be confirmed.

For opponents of Mr Bush, and also for many socially liberal Republicans, the election results and the trumpeted evangelical ambitions point to a big reversal: the victory of aggressive social conservatism over the small-government tradition in which morality is not legislated. It could, indeed, turn out to be something like this, but it need not. The wide variety of different opinions held by Mr Bush's religious supporters give the president, and his new administration, a lot of leeway, if they choose to look for it.

Source : The Economist, 11.11.2004,
© 2004 The Economist Newspaper and The Economist Group, http://www.economist.com/world/na/PrinterFriendly.cfm?Story_ID=3375543

















Voting under the Cross - E AP - 11.11.2004















Elections américaines :

Patrick Kenney,

professeur de sciences politiques à l'université d'Arizona:

«Le Parti républicain a poussé les chrétiens évangéliques à voter»


Vendredi 5 novembre 2004.
Par Pascal RICHE.


Patrick Kenney, professeur de sciences politiques à l'université d'Arizona, à Tempe, explique pourquoi la politique de la seconde administration Bush va accentuer et radicaliser la «révolution conservatrice» qui l'a porté au pouvoir.


La présidence Bush va-t-elle changer ce pays en profondeur ?

Il va pousser son programme le plus loin possible. Il ne va pas se rapprocher du centre. L'argent qui l'a financé, les électeurs qui l'ont soutenu, les gens qui l'entourent, tous soutiennent un programme bien spécifique. Et il a désormais derrière lui une majorité plus confortable à la Chambre et au Sénat. Les conditions pour qu'on assiste à un changement de ce pays n'ont donc jamais été aussi fortes depuis la présidence de Ronald Reagan au début des années 1980. Je ne pense pas qu'il va réussir à révolutionner les retraites, ni faire passer son amendement interdisant le mariage gay. Ni envahir un autre pays. Mais il va continuer sur le registre qui est au coeur du projet républicain : baisse des impôts, réduction du rôle du gouvernement, déréglementation. S'il en a l'occasion, il nommera un juge à la Cour suprême, et il choisira sans doute un idéologue.


Bush a-t-il été réélu parce que les Américains se sentent en guerre, ou sa victoire marque- t-elle la dérive à droite de ce pays, engagée par Ronald Reagan ?

C'est une question encore difficile à trancher. Il est clair que les Américains n'ont pas voulu changer de Président dans un contexte de guerre. Des sondages sortis des urnes montrent aussi qu'une personne sur cinq a motivé son vote par l'attachement à des «valeurs morales». Mais qu'entendent-ils par valeurs morales, on ne le sait pas bien. Sont-ce des valeurs traditionnelles qui tournent autour des thèmes de campagne comme la recherche sur les cellules souches, le mariage homosexuel, ou la définition que donnent les électeurs est-elle plus large ? En fait, on ne sait pas.


L'Amérique ne vous semble-elle pas solidement ancrée à droite ?

La principale leçon de ce scrutin, c'est que le Parti démocrate dans ce pays est un parti minoritaire. Il n'a jamais remporté la majorité des voix depuis Jimmy Carter en 1984 (et Clinton a été élu en 1992 par une minorité, grâce à la candidature du «troisième candidat» Ross Perot, ndlr). Les démocrates ne représentent qu'entre 45 et 49 % de l'électorat. Pourquoi ne parviennent-ils pas à étendre leur base, c'est une question très difficile. Est-ce un problème de rapport culturel ? C'est une hypothèse. Regardez la carte. Les Etats de la plaine sont traditionnellement républicains : petites villes, populations rurales. Ils sont plus conservateurs que la moyenne sur toute une série de sujets : la culture, la morale, la religion. Le Sud est similaire, mais il faut y ajouter la composante raciale. Si vous mettez bout à bout tous ces Etats de la plaine et du Sud, ils tiennent une énorme place sur la carte. Le Parti démocrate part avec un très gros handicap. Ajoutez à cela le contexte de guerre, une économie qui n'est pas si mauvaise (l'inflation et les taux d'intérêt sont bas, le PIB croît...), et vous mesurez combien il était difficile de faire tomber ce Président.


La religion est-elle l'explication principale du fossé entre les deux Amériques ? Les pratiquants votent Bush, les autres votent Kerry...

On constate cela depuis environ vingt-cinq ans. Ce qui est clair, c'est que Bush s'en sert plus ouvertement, et a renforcé l'idée que le Parti républicain est plus conservateur sur toute une série de problèmes, renforçant l'adhésion à ce parti des pratiquants réguliers.

Mais l'Amérique n'est pas de plus en plus religieuse. Ce qui a changé, entre 2000 et 2004, c'est l'effort du Parti républicain pour pousser les chrétiens évangéliques à aller voter. Il semble que cette stratégie, conçue par Karl Rove (le stratège de Bush, ndlr), ait très bien fonctionné. La plupart de ces voix ont été exprimées dans des Etats qui de toute façon auraient voté républicain. Cela n'a donc pas énormément aidé Bush à gagner des grands électeurs et la Maison Blanche, mais cela lui a permis d'afficher une confortable majorité du vote national et de gagner avec 3,5 millions de voix d'avance.

    Source : Libération, 5.11.2004,

















November 15, 2004        Vol. 164 No. 20        Election Special















President Bush

Thanks Americans in Wednesday Acceptance Speech


Remarks by the President in Acceptance Speech
The Ronald Reagan Building
Washington, D.C.

3:08 P.M. EST


THE PRESIDENT: Thank you all. Thank you all for coming. We had a long night -- and a great night. (Applause.) The voters turned out in record numbers and delivered an historic victory. (Applause.)

Earlier today, Senator Kerry called with his congratulations. We had a really good phone call, he was very gracious. Senator Kerry waged a spirited campaign, and he and his supporters can be proud of their efforts. (Applause.) Laura and I wish Senator Kerry and Teresa and their whole family all our best wishes.

America has spoken, and I'm humbled by the trust and the confidence of my fellow citizens. With that trust comes a duty to serve all Americans, and I will do my best to fulfill that duty every day as your President. (Applause.)

There are many people to thank, and my family comes first. (Applause.) Laura is the love of my life. (Applause.) I'm glad you love her, too. (Laughter.) I want to thank our daughters, who joined their dad for his last campaign. (Applause.) I appreciate the hard work of my sister and my brothers. I especially want to thank my parents for their loving support. (Applause.)

I'm grateful to the Vice President and Lynne and their daughters, who have worked so hard and been such a vital part of our team. (Applause.) The Vice President serves America with wisdom and honor, and I'm proud to serve beside him. (Applause.)

I want to thank my superb campaign team. I want to thank you all for your hard work. (Applause.) I was impressed every day by how hard and how skillful our team was. I want to thank Marc -- Chairman Marc Racicot and -- (applause) -- the Campaign Manager, Ken Mehlman. (Applause.) And the architect, Karl Rove. (Applause.) I want to thank Ed Gillespie for leading our Party so well. (Applause.)

I want to thank the thousands of our supporters across our country. I want to thank you for your hugs on the rope lines; I want to thank you for your prayers on the rope lines; I want to thank you for your kind words on the rope lines. I want to thank you for everything you did to make the calls and to put up the signs, to talk to your neighbors and to get out the vote. (Applause.) And because you did the incredible work, we are celebrating today. (Applause.)

There's an old saying, "Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers; pray for powers equal to your tasks." In four historic years, America has been given great tasks, and faced them with strength and courage. Our people have restored the vigor of this economy, and shown resolve and patience in a new kind of war. Our military has brought justice to the enemy, and honor to America. (Applause.) Our nation has defended itself, and served the freedom of all mankind. I'm proud to lead such an amazing country, and I'm proud to lead it forward. (Applause.)

Because we have done the hard work, we are entering a season of hope. We'll continue our economic progress. We'll reform our outdated tax code. We'll strengthen the Social Security for the next generation. We'll make public schools all they can be. And we will uphold our deepest values of family and faith.

We will help the emerging democracies of Iraq and Afghanistan -- (applause) -- so they can grow in strength and defend their freedom. And then our servicemen and women will come home with the honor they have earned. (Applause.) With good allies at our side, we will fight this war on terror with every resource of our national power so our children can live in freedom and in peace. (Applause.)

Reaching these goals will require the broad support of Americans. So today I want to speak to every person who voted for my opponent: To make this nation stronger and better I will need your support, and I will work to earn it. I will do all I can do to deserve your trust. A new term is a new opportunity to reach out to the whole nation. We have one country, one Constitution and one future that binds us. And when we come together and work together, there is no limit to the greatness of America. (Applause.)

Let me close with a word to the people of the state of Texas. (Applause.) We have known each other the longest, and you started me on this journey. On the open plains of Texas, I first learned the character of our country: sturdy and honest, and as hopeful as the break of day. I will always be grateful to the good people of my state. And whatever the road that lies ahead, that road will take me home.

The campaign has ended, and the United States of America goes forward with confidence and faith. I see a great day coming for our country and I am eager for the work ahead. God bless you, and may God bless America. (Applause.)

END 3:18 P.M. EST

Source : White House, 3.11.2004, http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2004/11/20041103-3.html

















The Economist        Infographie de l'article Back to basics, 4.11.2004


















R. J. Matson        Cagle        4.11.2004















State by state: how Americans cast their votes

The Independent        04 November 2004





George Bush 62.5%; John Kerry 36.8%

House: Rep 4, Dem 2

Senate: Rep





Bush 61.9%; Kerry 35%

House: Rep 1

Senate: Rep





Bush 55.1%; Kerry 44.3%

House: Rep 6, Dem 2

Senate: Rep





Bush 54.6%; Kerry 44.3%

House: Rep 1, Dem 2

Senate: Dem





Bush 44.3%; Kerry 54.6%

House: Rep 21, Dem 32

Senate: Dem





Bush 52.8%; Kerry 46%

House: Rep 4, Dem 3

Senate: Dem





Bush 44%; Kerry 54.3%

House: Rep 3, Dem 2

Senate: Dem





Bush 45.8%; Kerry 53.3%

House: Rep 1





Bush 9.3%; Kerry 89.5%





Bush 52.2%; Kerry 47%

House: Rep 13, Dem 2

Senate: Rep





Bush 58.6%; Kerry 40.9%

House: Rep 3, Dem 4

Senate: Rep





Bush 45.3%; Kerry 54%

House: Dem 2

Senate: Dem





Bush 68.5%; Kerry 30.4%

House: Rep 2

Senate: Rep





Bush 44.8%; Kerry 54.6%

House: Rep 9, Dem 10

Senate: Dem





Bush 60.1%; Kerry 39.2%

House: Rep 7, Dem 2

Senate: Rep




IOWA (undecided)

Bush 50.1%; Kerry 49.2%

House: Rep 4, Dem 1

Senate: Rep





Bush 62.2%; Kerry 36.5%

House: Rep 3, Dem 1

Senate: Rep





Bush 59.6%; Kerry 39.7%

House: Rep 4, Dem 1

Senate: Rep





Bush 56.8%; Kerry 42.2%

House: Rep 5, Dem 1

Senate: Rep





Bush 45%; Kerry 53%

House: Dem 2





Bush 43.2%; Kerry 55.8%

House: Rep 2, Dem 6

Senate: Dem





Bush 37%; Kerry 62.1%

House: Dem 6





Bush 47.8%; Kerry 51.2%

House: Rep 9, Dem 6





Bush 47.6%; Kerry 51.1%

House: Rep 4, Dem 4





Bush 59.7%; Kerry 39.5%

House: Rep 2, Dem 2





Bush 53.4%; Kerry 46.1%

House: Rep 5, Dem 4

Senate: Rep





Bush 59.1%; Kerry 38.5%

House: Rep 1





Bush 66.6%; Kerry 32.1%

House: Rep 3





Bush 50.5%; Kerry 47.9%

House: Rep 2, Dem 1

Senate: Dem





Bush 49%; Kerry 50.3%

House: Rep 2

Senate: Rep





Bush 46.5%; Kerry 52.7%

House: Rep 6, Dem 7




NEW MEXICO (Still undecided)

Bush 50.3%; Kerry 48.6%

House: Rep 2, Dem 1





Bush 40.5%; Kerry 57.8%

House: Rep 10, Dem 19

Senate: Dem





Bush 56.3%; Kerry 43.3%

House: Rep 6, Dem 6

Senate: Rep





Bush 62.9%; Kerry 35.5%

House: Dem 1

Senate: Dem




OHIO (Still undecided)

Bush 51%; Kerry 48.5%

House: Rep 12, Dem 6

Senate: Rep

[ COLUMBUS, Ohio (Reuters) - President Bush carried Ohio by 118,775 votes in last month's election,
17,708 fewer than reported at the time but not enough to change the outcome in the crucial state,
officials said on Monday. John Kerry conceded to Bush the day after the Nov. 2 balloting,
saying an analysis showed he could not win Ohio,
which provided Bush the final margin of victory and a second term.

Ohio Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell certified the outcome on Monday,
based on a county-by-county canvass done under state law in the days since the election.
It showed Bush with 2,858,727 or 50.82 percent
to 2,739,952, or 48.7 percent, for the Democrat Kerry.

Final Ohio Vote Tally Shows Smaller Margin for Bush, R, Mon Dec 6, 2004 05:06 PM ET





Bush 65.6%; Kerry 34.4%

House: Rep 3, Dem 1

Senate: Rep





Bush 47.1%; Kerry 51.9%

House: Rep 1, Dem 4

Senate: Dem





Bush 48.6%; Kerry 50.8%

House: Rep 14, Dem 5

Senate: Rep





Bush 38.9%; Kerry 59.6%

House: Dem 2





Bush 58%; Kerry 40.9%

House: Rep 3, Dem 2

Senate: Rep





Bush 59.9%; Kerry 38.4%

House: Dem 1

Senate: Rep





Bush 56.8%; Kerry 42.5%

House: Rep 3, Dem 5

Senate: Rep





Bush 61.2%; Kerry 38.3%

House: Rep 20, Dem 12





Bush 70.9%; Kerry 26.5%

House: Rep 2, Dem 1

Senate: Rep





Bush 38.9%; Kerry 59.1%

House: Ind 1

Senate: Dem





Bush 54%; Kerry 45.4%

House: Rep 7, Dem 4





Bush 46.2%; Kerry 52.4%

House: Rep 3, Dem 6

Senate: Dem





Bush 56.1%; Kerry 43.2%

House: Rep 1, Dem 2





Bush 49.4%; Kerry 49.8%

House: Rep 4, Dem 4

Senate: Dem





Bush 69%; Kerry 29.1%

House: Rep 1


Source : The Independent, 4.11.2004,

















The Economist


Back to basics

















La priorité accordée aux "valeurs morales"

a profité à George Bush


En mobilisant sa base tout en gagnant les indécis, le camp républicain a drainé les suffrages d'une opinion qui a placé l'avortement ou le mariage gay en tête de ses préoccupations. L'élection indique que les Etats-Unis sont plus conservateurs que ne le pensaient les observateurs.


New York de notre correspondant

La mobilisation de l'électorat américain, avec plus de 120 millions de votants et une participation à son plus haut niveau depuis 1968, laissaient augurer une victoire démocrate. Il n'en a rien été. Au contraire, les républicains ont creusé l'écart, à la surprise de la plupart des observateurs. Ils ont réussi tout à la fois à rameuter leur base et à convaincre de nombreux indécis. Le scrutin s'est finalement résumé à un référendum sur quatre sujets : les "valeurs", le terrorisme, l'économie et la guerre en Irak.

Selon les sondages réalisés à la sortie des urnes, le thème cité en premier par plus de 22 % des personnes interrogées était celui des "valeurs morales", devant l'économie (20 %), le terrorisme (19 %) et l'Irak (15 %). Les électeurs préoccupés par "la défense des valeurs" ont déclaré avoir voté à 79 % pour le président sortant et ceux qui ont fait du terrorisme leur principale préoccupation ont choisi presque dans la même proportion George Bush.

En revanche, John Kerry a recueilli les suffrages de 80 % des Américains inquiets de la situation économique et de l'emploi et de 75 % de ceux qui ont mis l'Irak en tête de leur liste.

Au lendemain de l'élection présidentielle, les Etats-Unis apparaissent comme un pays bien plus conservateur que les experts politiques et les médias, y compris américains, l'imaginaient. Ainsi, même dans l'Ohio, un Etat où ont été perdus un quart des emplois industriels du pays depuis quatre ans et qui aurait, logiquement, dû revenir à John Kerry, les sondages montrent que près de 25 % des électeurs se sont déterminés en fonction des "valeurs morales".



George Bush a même fait oublier le précepte de Richard Nixon selon lequel, pour accéder à la Maison Blanche, un républicain doit d'abord séduire l'aile conservatrice de son parti et ensuite se tourner vers les centristes. "Bush n'a même pas cherché à convaincre au centre. Il a eu pour seul souci et pour seule stratégie de satisfaire et de donner de l'énergie à sa base", explique John Zogby, spécialiste des sondages. Karl Rove, le stratège républicain, a réussi à faire voter en faveur de George Bush les 4 millions de chrétiens évangélistes qui lui avaient, selon lui, fait défaut en 2000. Le président n'a cessé de donner des gages sur les questions éthiques comme l'avortement, le mariage homosexuel ou la recherche sur les cellules souches embryonnaires.

Mais, dans le même temps, il a aussi réussi à convaincre les indépendants qu'un changement à la Maison Blanche était trop risqué pour un pays en guerre et menacé. "La performance du tandem Bush-Cheney prouve qu'il n'y a, en fait, pas de contradiction entre chercher à satisfaire notre base et convaincre les électeurs indécis", souligne Ralph Reed, responsable de la campagne républicaine dans le Sud-Est. "A qui pouvez-vous faire confiance ?", n'a cessé de marteler George Bush lors de ses meetings. La propagande républicaine a présenté pendant des mois John Kerry comme "faible" en matière de sécurité et de défense, incohérent face au terrorisme et incapable de devenir "commandant en chef". Et jamais, dans l'histoire du pays, un président sortant n'a perdu une élection pour un second mandat quand le pays était en guerre. Toujours d'après les sondages réalisés à la sortie des bureaux de vote, George Bush a amélioré ses positions par rapport à l'élection de 2000 auprès de la quasi-totalité des catégories d'électeurs. Il a recueilli 47 % du vote des femmes, soit 4 % de plus qu'il y a quatre ans. Il a perdu à nouveau la majorité du vote latino, mais en a tout de même obtenu 42 %, pour 55 % à John Kerry, soit 7 % de plus qu'en 2000. Cela explique sans doute les gains républicains dans des Etats comme la Floride et le Nouveau-Mexique.



Le président sortant a récolté 43 % du vote urbain, soit 8 % de plus que contre Al Gore. Les républicains ont gagné également 4 % auprès des catholiques, qui avaient soutenu - à une faible majorité - Al Gore. Cette fois, les deux candidats, dont John Kerry, qui est catholique, se partagent à égalité cet électorat. George Bush a également amélioré son score auprès de la communauté juive, en gagnant 5 points, à 24 %, contre 76 % pour le candidat démocrate.

Enfin, le président a réalisé une performance exceptionnelle auprès des électeurs se rendant à l'église au moins une fois par semaine : il a, dans cette catégorie, devancé son adversaire de 21 points. Cela lui a permis d'être particulièrement fort dans la région des Appalaches, les Etats de la "Bible Belt" (Ceinture de la Bible) comme la Virginie-Occidentale, le Kentucky et l'Arkansas, auparavant acquis au Parti démocrate. Bill Clinton l'avait emporté dans ces trois Etats en 1992 et 1996. George Bush a gagné le Kentucky avec 20 % d'avance, la Virginie-Occidentale avec 11 % et l'Arkansas avec 9 %.

Le président remporte ainsi une victoire d'une ampleur inattendue avec, paradoxalement, une image personnelle auprès des Américains qui n'est pas exceptionnelle. Une majorité, 57 % contre 38 %, considère qu'il accorde plus d'attention aux intérêts des grandes entreprises qu'aux citoyens "ordinaires". Plus étonnant encore, 52 % des personnes interrogées après avoir voté se déclaraient "en colère" ou "mécontentes" du bilan de George Bush à la Maison Blanche.

    Source : Eric Leser, Le Monde, 5.11.2004,

































55 % des hommes ont voté pour M. Bush

Le vote Bush est dominé par les hommes et les électeurs de race blanche. Selon le sondage CNN de sortie des urnes, 55 % des hommes ont voté pour le président sortant et 48 % des femmes. Le vote des Blancs - qui représente 77 % du total - est de 58 % en faveur de M. Bush, contre 41 % à John Kerry. Dans les autres groupes, M. Bush a obtenu 11 % du vote afro-américain (11 % du total) ; 44 % du vote latino-américain (8 % du total) ; 44 % du vote asiatique (2 % du total). Par revenus, on a voté de plus en plus pour George Bush en fonction de sa fortune. Ont voté Bush 44 % de ceux qui gagnent moins de 50 000 dollars par an (et 36 % de ceux qui gagnent moins de 15 000 dollars), mais 56 % de ceux qui gagnent plus de 50 000 dollars (et 63 % de ceux qui gagnent plus de 200 000 dollars). Cela ne recoupe pas les diplômes : ceux qui n'ont pas de diplôme d'études supérieures ont voté à 53 % pour M. Bush, les autres à 49 %.

    Source : encadré de La priorité accordée aux "valeurs morales"
    a profité à George Bush,
    Le Monde, 5.11.2004,

































Protestants évangéliques

et catholiques conservateurs unis dans le vote gagnant


La variable religieuse a eu un effet décisif. Le président sortant aurait rallié 60 % des voix protestantes et 51 % de l'électorat catholique.

Dans une Amérique ébranlée par le 11-Septembre, la peur du terrorisme fondamentaliste, la guerre en Irak, la division sur des sujets comme l'avortement ou le mariage homosexuel, la variable religieuse a eu un effet décisif. Selon les sondages "sortie des urnes", George Bush a non seulement fait le plein de ses voix au sein de la droite protestante évangélique, mais il a aussi gagné dans l'électorat catholique historiquement démocrate. Le président sortant aurait rallié près de 60 % des voix protestantes (toutes dénominations confondues) et 51 % de l'électorat catholique.

La corrélation entre la pratique religieuse et le vote pro-Bush est aussi clairement établie par ces sondages. Plus la pratique est régulière, plus le vote républicain l'a emporté. Quelle que soit leur confession, les Américains pratiquants d'une religion ont voté Bush à 60 %, contre 64 % pour John Kerry chez les non-pratiquants. Le vote Bush est un vote de ferveur religieuse.

Un vote qui s'est exprimé massivement dans les rangs des chrétiens évangéliques, soutien traditionnel, mais non exclusif, du Parti républicain, estimé à 70 millions de fidèles, soit le quart de la population. Plus des deux tiers d'entre eux ont voté Bush. A la différence de 2000, le candidat républicain a mobilisé le ban et l'arrière-ban de cette mouvance ultraconservatrice, dominée par les Eglises baptistes du Sud (30 millions), les Pentecôtistes (Assemblées de Dieu) et nombre d'Eglises "non dénominationnelles" (indépendantes).

Le triomphe de Bush est donc, aussi, celui de la droite religieuse qui avait percé sous Ronald Reagan, atteint son apogée aux élections au Congrès de 1994 et qui renaît aujourd'hui de manière spectaculaire. Les Eglises évangéliques ont creusé la distance avec les Eglises protestantes historiques, du "main line" ou courant principal (luthériens, presbytériens, méthodistes anglo-épiscopaliens, etc.), qui votent plutôt démocrate, ont pris position contre l'engagement en Irak, mais sont en perte de vitesse depuis les années 1960.

George Bush a remporté une écrasante victoire dans les bastions de la Bible Belt comme le Texas, la Géorgie, la Caroline du Sud et même le Colorado, d'implantation républicaine plus récente. Une population politiquement conservatrice, fondamentaliste dans sa lecture de la Bible, soudée par la défense des valeurs de la famille et de la prière à l'école, par la lutte contre la permissivité, contre l'avortement et l'homosexualité, par la méfiance à l'égard des idées libérales et du tout-Etat.



Autant de thèmes que, depuis quatre ans, et pendant la campagne électorale, George Bush a martelés. Ce conservatisme social et moral, ce mélange de patriotisme et de ferveur religieuse, l'insistance sur le rôle messianique de l'Amérique dans la lutte mondiale contre le Mal sont devenus son réservoir électoral principal. L'électorat évangélique s'est reconnu dans sa vision manichéenne du monde, dans la mission qu'il s'est fixée de modeler la politique selon "une vision biblique du monde", comme dit le baptiste Tom DeLay, chef de la majorité républicaine à la Chambre des représentants.

Le candidat républicain a aussi progressé dans les Eglises noires, contrairement aux espoirs du camp démocrate qui avait enregistré, avec satisfaction, l'inscription d'un million d'électeurs afro-américains supplémentaires.

Que George Bush ait mordu dans cet électorat noir, historiquement démocrate pour des raisons de justice raciale et sociale, confirme l'importance de la variable morale dans cette élection. Chercheur au CNRS, Sébastien Fath se souvient qu'une comparaison faite par John Kerry, en avril 2004, entre le mouvement pour l'égalité des droits des homosexuels et le mouvement des droits civiques avait été très mal reçue dans les Eglises noires.

La variable morale a été aussi décisive dans l'électorat catholique (63 millions de fidèles). En 2000, le démocrate Al Gore l'avait emporté d'un point (48 % contre 47 %) sur George Bush dans un électorat catholique déjà divisé. Dans cette population, les derniers sondages de 2004 donnaient le président sortant et John Kerry, catholique pratiquant, quasiment à égalité. Mais la perspective de l'élection d'un deuxième président catholique, quarante ans après celle de John Kennedy, n'a pas soulevé de dynamique chez les siens et M. Bush l'a emporté (51 %).

Le candidat démocrate a été trahi par ses positions jugées trop libérales en matière de mœurs. C'est George Bush, protestant intransigeant, qui s'est montré le meilleur avocat du pape, militant contre l'avortement et les recherches sur les cellules souches d'embryons, voulant changer la Constitution pour interdire le mariage homosexuel, reprenant, dans son troisième débat télévisé avec Kerry, les mots chers à Jean Paul II de "culture de la vie".

Sur ces thèmes, les catholiques pro-Bush ont orchestré une violente campagne antidémocrate. Des évêques ultraconservateurs ont soutenu que voter Kerry serait un "péché", oubliant que Jean Paul II fut l'un des adversaires les plus opiniâtres de la guerre en Irak. Cette alliance, sur des valeurs morales, entre les catholiques conservateurs et les protestants fondamentalistes est l'une des clés du succès de George Bush.

  Source : Henri Tincq, Le Monde, 5.11.2004,

















The Guardian        p. 12        1.11.2004
















Without a Doubt


New York Times Magazine

October 17, 2004.


Bruce Bartlett, a domestic policy adviser to Ronald Reagan and a treasury official for the first President Bush, told me recently that ''if Bush wins, there will be a civil war in the Republican Party starting on Nov. 3.'' The nature of that conflict, as Bartlett sees it? Essentially, the same as the one raging across much of the world: a battle between modernists and fundamentalists, pragmatists and true believers, reason and religion.

''Just in the past few months,'' Bartlett said, ''I think a light has gone off for people who've spent time up close to Bush: that this instinct he's always talking about is this sort of weird, Messianic idea of what he thinks God has told him to do.'' Bartlett, a 53-year-old columnist and self-described libertarian Republican who has lately been a champion for traditional Republicans concerned about Bush's governance, went on to say: ''This is why George W. Bush is so clear-eyed about Al Qaeda and the Islamic fundamentalist enemy. He believes you have to kill them all. They can't be persuaded, that they're extremists, driven by a dark vision. He understands them, because he's just like them. . . .

''This is why he dispenses with people who confront him with inconvenient facts,'' Bartlett went on to say. ''He truly believes he's on a mission from God. Absolute faith like that overwhelms a need for analysis. The whole thing about faith is to believe things for which there is no empirical evidence.'' Bartlett paused, then said, ''But you can't run the world on faith.''

Forty democratic senators were gathered for a lunch in March just off the Senate floor. I was there as a guest speaker. Joe Biden was telling a story, a story about the president. ''I was in the Oval Office a few months after we swept into Baghdad,'' he began, ''and I was telling the president of my many concerns'' -- concerns about growing problems winning the peace, the explosive mix of Shiite and Sunni, the disbanding of the Iraqi Army and problems securing the oil fields. Bush, Biden recalled, just looked at him, unflappably sure that the United States was on the right course and that all was well. '''Mr. President,' I finally said, 'How can you be so sure when you know you don't know the facts?'''

Biden said that Bush stood up and put his hand on the senator's shoulder. ''My instincts,'' he said. ''My instincts.''

Biden paused and shook his head, recalling it all as the room grew quiet. ''I said, 'Mr. President, your instincts aren't good enough!'''

The democrat Biden and the Republican Bartlett are trying to make sense of the same thing -- a president who has been an extraordinary blend of forcefulness and inscrutability, opacity and action.

But lately, words and deeds are beginning to connect.

The Delaware senator was, in fact, hearing what Bush's top deputies -- from cabinet members like Paul O'Neill, Christine Todd Whitman and Colin Powell to generals fighting in Iraq -- have been told for years when they requested explanations for many of the president's decisions, policies that often seemed to collide with accepted facts. The president would say that he relied on his ''gut'' or his ''instinct'' to guide the ship of state, and then he ''prayed over it.'' The old pro Bartlett, a deliberative, fact-based wonk, is finally hearing a tune that has been hummed quietly by evangelicals (so as not to trouble the secular) for years as they gazed upon President George W. Bush. This evangelical group -- the core of the energetic ''base'' that may well usher Bush to victory -- believes that their leader is a messenger from God. And in the first presidential debate, many Americans heard the discursive John Kerry succinctly raise, for the first time, the issue of Bush's certainty -- the issue being, as Kerry put it, that ''you can be certain and be wrong.''

What underlies Bush's certainty? And can it be assessed in the temporal realm of informed consent?

All of this -- the ''gut'' and ''instincts,'' the certainty and religiosity -connects to a single word, ''faith,'' and faith asserts its hold ever more on debates in this country and abroad. That a deep Christian faith illuminated the personal journey of George W. Bush is common knowledge. But faith has also shaped his presidency in profound, nonreligious ways. The president has demanded unquestioning faith from his followers, his staff, his senior aides and his kindred in the Republican Party. Once he makes a decision -- often swiftly, based on a creed or moral position -- he expects complete faith in its rightness.

The disdainful smirks and grimaces that many viewers were surprised to see in the first presidential debate are familiar expressions to those in the administration or in Congress who have simply asked the president to explain his positions. Since 9/11, those requests have grown scarce; Bush's intolerance of doubters has, if anything, increased, and few dare to question him now. A writ of infallibility -- a premise beneath the powerful Bushian certainty that has, in many ways, moved mountains -- is not just for public consumption: it has guided the inner life of the White House. As Whitman told me on the day in May 2003 that she announced her resignation as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency: ''In meetings, I'd ask if there were any facts to support our case. And for that, I was accused of disloyalty!'' (Whitman, whose faith in Bush has since been renewed, denies making these remarks and is now a leader of the president's re-election effort in New Jersey.)

he nation's founders, smarting still from the punitive pieties of Europe's state religions, were adamant about erecting a wall between organized religion and political authority. But suddenly, that seems like a long time ago. George W. Bush -- both captive and creator of this moment -- has steadily, inexorably, changed the office itself. He has created the faith-based presidency.

The faith-based presidency is a with-us-or-against-us model that has been enormously effective at, among other things, keeping the workings and temperament of the Bush White House a kind of state secret. The dome of silence cracked a bit in the late winter and spring, with revelations from the former counterterrorism czar Richard Clarke and also, in my book, from the former Bush treasury secretary Paul O'Neill. When I quoted O'Neill saying that Bush was like ''a blind man in a room full of deaf people,'' this did not endear me to the White House. But my phone did begin to ring, with Democrats and Republicans calling with similar impressions and anecdotes about Bush's faith and certainty. These are among the sources I relied upon for this article. Few were willing to talk on the record. Some were willing to talk because they said they thought George W. Bush might lose; others, out of fear of what might transpire if he wins. In either case, there seems to be a growing silence fatigue -- public servants, some with vast experience, who feel they have spent years being treated like Victorian-era children, seen but not heard, and are tired of it. But silence still reigns in the highest reaches of the White House. After many requests, Dan Bartlett, the White House communications director, said in a letter that the president and those around him would not be cooperating with this article in any way.

Some officials, elected or otherwise, with whom I have spoken with left meetings in the Oval Office concerned that the president was struggling with the demands of the job. Others focused on Bush's substantial interpersonal gifts as a compensation for his perceived lack of broader capabilities. Still others, like Senator Carl Levin of Michigan, a Democrat, are worried about something other than his native intelligence. ''He's plenty smart enough to do the job,'' Levin said. ''It's his lack of curiosity about complex issues which troubles me.'' But more than anything else, I heard expressions of awe at the president's preternatural certainty and wonderment about its source.

There is one story about Bush's particular brand of certainty I am able to piece together and tell for the record.

In the Oval Office in December 2002, the president met with a few ranking senators and members of the House, both Republicans and Democrats. In those days, there were high hopes that the United States-sponsored ''road map'' for the Israelis and Palestinians would be a pathway to peace, and the discussion that wintry day was, in part, about countries providing peacekeeping forces in the region. The problem, everyone agreed, was that a number of European countries, like France and Germany, had armies that were not trusted by either the Israelis or Palestinians. One congressman -- the Hungarian-born Tom Lantos, a Democrat from California and the only Holocaust survivor in Congress -- mentioned that the Scandinavian countries were viewed more positively. Lantos went on to describe for the president how the Swedish Army might be an ideal candidate to anchor a small peacekeeping force on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Sweden has a well-trained force of about 25,000. The president looked at him appraisingly, several people in the room recall.

''I don't know why you're talking about Sweden,'' Bush said. ''They're the neutral one. They don't have an army.''

Lantos paused, a little shocked, and offered a gentlemanly reply: ''Mr. President, you may have thought that I said Switzerland. They're the ones that are historically neutral, without an army.'' Then Lantos mentioned, in a gracious aside, that the Swiss do have a tough national guard to protect the country in the event of invasion.

Bush held to his view. ''No, no, it's Sweden that has no army.''

The room went silent, until someone changed the subject.

A few weeks later, members of Congress and their spouses gathered with administration officials and other dignitaries for the White House Christmas party. The president saw Lantos and grabbed him by the shoulder. ''You were right,'' he said, with bonhomie. ''Sweden does have an army.''

This story was told to me by one of the senators in the Oval Office that December day, Joe Biden. Lantos, a liberal Democrat, would not comment about it. In general, people who meet with Bush will not discuss their encounters. (Lantos, through a spokesman, says it is a longstanding policy of his not to discuss Oval Office meetings.)

This is one key feature of the faith-based presidency: open dialogue, based on facts, is not seen as something of inherent value. It may, in fact, create doubt, which undercuts faith. It could result in a loss of confidence in the decision-maker and, just as important, by the decision-maker. Nothing could be more vital, whether staying on message with the voters or the terrorists or a California congressman in a meeting about one of the world's most nagging problems. As Bush himself has said any number of times on the campaign trail, ''By remaining resolute and firm and strong, this world will be peaceful.''

He didn't always talk this way. A precious glimpse of Bush, just as he was ascending to the presidency, comes from Jim Wallis, a man with the added advantage of having deep acuity about the struggles between fact and faith. Wallis, an evangelical pastor who for 30 years has run the Sojourners -- a progressive organization of advocates for social justice -- was asked during the transition to help pull together a diverse group of members of the clergy to talk about faith and poverty with the new president-elect.

In December 2000, Bush sat in the classroom of a Baptist church in Austin, Tex., with 30 or so clergy members and asked, ''How do I speak to the soul of the nation?'' He listened as each guest articulated a vision of what might be. The afternoon hours passed. No one wanted to leave. People rose from their chairs and wandered the room, huddling in groups, conversing passionately. In one cluster, Bush and Wallis talked of their journeys.

''I've never lived around poor people,'' Wallis remembers Bush saying. ''I don't know what they think. I really don't know what they think. I'm a white Republican guy who doesn't get it. How do I get it?''

Wallis recalls replying, ''You need to listen to the poor and those who live and work with poor people.''

Bush called over his speechwriter, Michael Gerson, and said, ''I want you to hear this.'' A month later, an almost identical line -- ''many in our country do not know the pain of poverty, but we can listen to those who do'' -- ended up in the inaugural address.

That was an earlier Bush, one rather more open and conversant, matching his impulsiveness with a can-do attitude and seemingly unafraid of engaging with a diverse group. The president has an array of interpersonal gifts that fit well with this fearlessness -- a headlong, unalloyed quality, best suited to ranging among different types of people, searching for the outlines of what will take shape as principles.

Yet this strong suit, an improvisational gift, has long been forced to wrestle with its ''left brain'' opposite -- a struggle, across 30 years, with the critical and analytical skills so prized in America's professional class. In terms of intellectual faculties, that has been the ongoing battle for this talented man, first visible during the lackluster years at Yale and five years of drift through his 20's -- a time when peers were busy building credentials in law, business or medicine.

Biden, who early on became disenchanted with Bush's grasp of foreign-policy issues and is among John Kerry's closest Senate friends, has spent a lot of time trying to size up the president. ''Most successful people are good at identifying, very early, their strengths and weaknesses, at knowing themselves,'' he told me not long ago. ''For most of us average Joes, that meant we've relied on strengths but had to work on our weakness -- to lift them to adequacy -- otherwise they might bring us down. I don't think the president really had to do that, because he always had someone there -- his family or friends -- to bail him out. I don't think, on balance, that has served him well for the moment he's in now as president. He never seems to have worked on his weaknesses.''

Bush has been called the C.E.O. president, but that's just a catch phrase -- he never ran anything of consequence in the private sector. The M.B.A. president would be more accurate: he did, after all, graduate from Harvard Business School. And some who have worked under him in the White House and know about business have spotted a strange business-school time warp. It's as if a 1975 graduate from H.B.S. -- one who had little chance to season theory with practice during the past few decades of change in corporate America -- has simply been dropped into the most challenging management job in the world.

One aspect of the H.B.S. method, with its emphasis on problems of actual corporations, is sometimes referred to as the ''case cracker'' problem. The case studies are static, generally a snapshot of a troubled company, frozen in time; the various ''solutions'' students proffer, and then defend in class against tough questioning, tend to have very short shelf lives. They promote rigidity, inappropriate surety. This is something H.B.S. graduates, most of whom land at large or midsize firms, learn in their first few years in business. They discover, often to their surprise, that the world is dynamic, it flows and changes, often for no good reason. The key is flexibility, rather than sticking to your guns in a debate, and constant reassessment of shifting realities. In short, thoughtful second-guessing.

George W. Bush, who went off to Texas to be an oil wildcatter, never had a chance to learn these lessons about the power of nuanced, fact-based analysis. The small oil companies he ran tended to lose money; much of their value was as tax shelters. (The investors were often friends of his father's.) Later, with the Texas Rangers baseball team, he would act as an able front man but never really as a boss.

Instead of learning the limitations of his Harvard training, what George W. Bush learned instead during these fitful years were lessons about faith and its particular efficacy. It was in 1985, around the time of his 39th birthday, George W. Bush says, that his life took a sharp turn toward salvation. At that point he was drinking, his marriage was on the rocks, his career was listless. Several accounts have emerged from those close to Bush about a faith ''intervention'' of sorts at the Kennebunkport family compound that year. Details vary, but here's the gist of what I understand took place. George W., drunk at a party, crudely insulted a friend of his mother's. George senior and Barbara blew up. Words were exchanged along the lines of something having to be done. George senior, then the vice president, dialed up his friend, Billy Graham, who came to the compound and spent several days with George W. in probing exchanges and walks on the beach. George W. was soon born again. He stopped drinking, attended Bible study and wrestled with issues of fervent faith. A man who was lost was saved.

His marriage may have been repaired by the power of faith, but faith was clearly having little impact on his broken career. Faith heals the heart and the spirit, but it doesn't do much for analytical skills. In 1990, a few years after receiving salvation, Bush was still bumping along. Much is apparent from one of the few instances of disinterested testimony to come from this period. It is the voice of David Rubenstein, managing director and cofounder of the Carlyle Group, the Washington-based investment firm that is one of the town's most powerful institutions and a longtime business home for the president's father. In 1989, the catering division of Marriott was taken private and established as Caterair by a group of Carlyle investors. Several old-guard Republicans, including the former Nixon aide Fred Malek, were involved.

Rubenstein described that time to a convention of pension managers in Los Angeles last year, recalling that Malek approached him and said: ''There is a guy who would like to be on the board. He's kind of down on his luck a bit. Needs a job. . . . Needs some board positions.'' Though Rubenstein didn't think George W. Bush, then in his mid-40's, ''added much value,'' he put him on the Caterair board. ''Came to all the meetings,'' Rubenstein told the conventioneers. ''Told a lot of jokes. Not that many clean ones. And after a while I kind of said to him, after about three years: 'You know, I'm not sure this is really for you. Maybe you should do something else. Because I don't think you're adding that much value to the board. You don't know that much about the company.' He said: 'Well, I think I'm getting out of this business anyway. And I don't really like it that much. So I'm probably going to resign from the board.' And I said thanks. Didn't think I'd ever see him again.'' [To read more of Rubenstein's speech, go here: http://prorev.com/bushcarlyle.htm.]

Bush would soon officially resign from Caterair's board. Around this time, Karl Rove set up meetings to discuss Bush's possible candidacy for the governorship of Texas. Six years after that, he was elected leader of the free world and began ''case cracking'' on a dizzying array of subjects, proffering his various solutions, in both foreign and domestic affairs. But the pointed ''defend your position'' queries -- so central to the H.B.S. method and rigorous analysis of all kinds -- were infrequent. Questioning a regional supervisor or V.P. for planning is one thing. Questioning the president of the United States is another.

Still, some couldn't resist. As I reported in "The Price of Loyalty," at the Bush administration's first National Security Council meeting, Bush asked if anyone had ever met Ariel Sharon. Some were uncertain if it was a joke. It wasn't: Bush launched into a riff about briefly meeting Sharon two years before, how he wouldn't ''go by past reputations when it comes to Sharon. . . . I'm going to take him at face value,'' and how the United States should pull out of the Arab-Israeli conflict because ''I don't see much we can do over there at this point.'' Colin Powell, for one, seemed startled. This would reverse 30 years of policy -- since the Nixon administration -- of American engagement. Such a move would unleash Sharon, Powell countered, and tear the delicate fabric of the Mideast in ways that might be irreparable. Bush brushed aside Powell's concerns impatiently. ''Sometimes a show of force by one side can really clarify things.''

Such challenges -- from either Powell or his opposite number as the top official in domestic policy, Paul O'Neill -- were trials that Bush had less and less patience for as the months passed. He made that clear to his top lieutenants. Gradually, Bush lost what Richard Perle, who would later head a largely private-sector group under Bush called the Defense Policy Board Advisory Committee, had described as his open posture during foreign-policy tutorials prior to the 2000 campaign. (''He had the confidence to ask questions that revealed he didn't know very much,'' Perle said.) By midyear 2001, a stand-and-deliver rhythm was established. Meetings, large and small, started to take on a scripted quality. Even then, the circle around Bush was tightening. Top officials, from cabinet members on down, were often told when they would speak in Bush's presence, for how long and on what topic. The president would listen without betraying any reaction. Sometimes there would be cross-discussions -- Powell and Rumsfeld, for instance, briefly parrying on an issue -- but the president would rarely prod anyone with direct, informed questions.

Each administration, over the course of a term, is steadily shaped by its president, by his character, personality and priorities. It is a process that unfolds on many levels. There are, of course, a chief executive's policies, which are executed by a staff and attending bureaucracies. But a few months along, officials, top to bottom, will also start to adopt the boss's phraseology, his presumptions, his rhythms. If a president fishes, people buy poles; if he expresses displeasure, aides get busy finding evidence to support the judgment. A staff channels the leader.

A cluster of particularly vivid qualities was shaping George W. Bush's White House through the summer of 2001: a disdain for contemplation or deliberation, an embrace of decisiveness, a retreat from empiricism, a sometimes bullying impatience with doubters and even friendly questioners. Already Bush was saying, Have faith in me and my decisions, and you'll be rewarded. All through the White House, people were channeling the boss. He didn't second-guess himself; why should they?

Considering the trials that were soon to arrive, it is easy to overlook what a difficult time this must have been for George W. Bush. For nearly three decades, he had sat in classrooms, and then at mahogany tables in corporate suites, with little to contribute. Then, as governor of Texas, he was graced with a pliable enough bipartisan Legislature, and the Legislature is where the real work in that state's governance gets done. The Texas Legislature's tension of opposites offered the structure of point and counterpoint, which Bush could navigate effectively with his strong, improvisational skills.

But the mahogany tables were now in the Situation Room and in the large conference room adjacent to the Oval Office. He guided a ruling party. Every issue that entered that rarefied sanctum required a complex decision, demanding focus, thoroughness and analytical potency.

For the president, as Biden said, to be acutely aware of his weaknesses -- and to have to worry about revealing uncertainty or need or confusion, even to senior officials -- must have presented an untenable bind. By summer's end that first year, Vice President Dick Cheney had stopped talking in meetings he attended with Bush. They would talk privately, or at their weekly lunch. The president was spending a lot of time outside the White House, often at the ranch, in the presence of only the most trustworthy confidants. The circle around Bush is the tightest around any president in the modern era, and ''it's both exclusive and exclusionary,'' Christopher DeMuth, president of the American Enterprise Institute, the neoconservative policy group, told me. ''It's a too tightly managed decision-making process. When they make decisions, a very small number of people are in the room, and it has a certain effect of constricting the range of alternatives being offered.''

On Sept. 11, 2001, the country watched intently to see if and how Bush would lead. After a couple of days in which he seemed shaky and uncertain, he emerged, and the moment he began to lead -- standing on the World Trade Center's rubble with a bullhorn -- for much of America, any lingering doubts about his abilities vanished. No one could afford doubt, not then. They wanted action, and George W. Bush was ready, having never felt the reasonable hesitations that slowed more deliberative men, and many presidents, including his father.

Within a few days of the attacks, Bush decided on the invasion of Afghanistan and was barking orders. His speech to the joint session of Congress on Sept. 20 will most likely be the greatest of his presidency. He prayed for God's help. And many Americans, of all faiths, prayed with him -- or for him. It was simple and nondenominational: a prayer that he'd be up to this moment, so that he -- and, by extension, we as a country -- would triumph in that dark hour.

This is where the faith-based presidency truly takes shape. Faith, which for months had been coloring the decision-making process and a host of political tactics -- think of his address to the nation on stem-cell research -- now began to guide events. It was the most natural ascension: George W. Bush turning to faith in his darkest moment and discovering a wellspring of power and confidence.

Of course, the mandates of sound, sober analysis didn't vanish. They never do. Ask any entrepreneur with a blazing idea when, a few years along, the first debt payments start coming due. Or the C.E.O., certain that a high stock price affirms his sweeping vision, until that neglected, flagging division cripples the company. There's a startled look -- how'd that happen? In this case, the challenge of mobilizing the various agencies of the United States government and making certain that agreed-upon goals become demonstrable outcomes grew exponentially.

Looking back at the months directly following 9/11, virtually every leading military analyst seems to believe that rather than using Afghan proxies, we should have used more American troops, deployed more quickly, to pursue Osama bin Laden in the mountains of Tora Bora. Many have also been critical of the president's handling of Saudi Arabia, home to 15 of the 19 hijackers; despite Bush's setting goals in the so-called ''financial war on terror,'' the Saudis failed to cooperate with American officials in hunting for the financial sources of terror. Still, the nation wanted bold action and was delighted to get it. Bush's approval rating approached 90 percent. Meanwhile, the executive's balance between analysis and resolution, between contemplation and action, was being tipped by the pull of righteous faith.

It was during a press conference on Sept. 16, in response to a question about homeland security efforts infringing on civil rights, that Bush first used the telltale word ''crusade'' in public. ''This is a new kind of -- a new kind of evil,'' he said. ''And we understand. And the American people are beginning to understand. This crusade, this war on terrorism is going to take a while.''

Muslims around the world were incensed. Two days later, Ari Fleischer tried to perform damage control. ''I think what the president was saying was -- had no intended consequences for anybody, Muslim or otherwise, other than to say that this is a broad cause that he is calling on America and the nations around the world to join.'' As to ''any connotations that would upset any of our partners, or anybody else in the world, the president would regret if anything like that was conveyed.''

A few months later, on Feb. 1, 2002, Jim Wallis of the Sojourners stood in the Roosevelt Room for the introduction of Jim Towey as head of the president's faith-based and community initiative. John DiIulio, the original head, had left the job feeling that the initiative was not about ''compassionate conservatism,'' as originally promised, but rather a political giveaway to the Christian right, a way to consolidate and energize that part of the base.

Moments after the ceremony, Bush saw Wallis. He bounded over and grabbed the cheeks of his face, one in each hand, and squeezed. ''Jim, how ya doin', how ya doin'!'' he exclaimed. Wallis was taken aback. Bush excitedly said that his massage therapist had given him Wallis's book, ''Faith Works.'' His joy at seeing Wallis, as Wallis and others remember it, was palpable -- a president, wrestling with faith and its role at a time of peril, seeing that rare bird: an independent counselor. Wallis recalls telling Bush he was doing fine, '''but in the State of the Union address a few days before, you said that unless we devote all our energies, our focus, our resources on this war on terrorism, we're going to lose.' I said, 'Mr. President, if we don't devote our energy, our focus and our time on also overcoming global poverty and desperation, we will lose not only the war on poverty, but we'll lose the war on terrorism.'''

Bush replied that that was why America needed the leadership of Wallis and other members of the clergy.

''No, Mr. President,'' Wallis says he told Bush, ''We need your leadership on this question, and all of us will then commit to support you. Unless we drain the swamp of injustice in which the mosquitoes of terrorism breed, we'll never defeat the threat of terrorism.''

Bush looked quizzically at the minister, Wallis recalls. They never spoke again after that.

''When I was first with Bush in Austin, what I saw was a self-help Methodist, very open, seeking,'' Wallis says now. ''What I started to see at this point was the man that would emerge over the next year -- a messianic American Calvinist. He doesn't want to hear from anyone who doubts him.''

But with a country crying out for intrepid leadership, does a president have time to entertain doubters? In a speech in Alaska two weeks later, Bush again referred to the war on terror as a ''crusade.''

In the summer of 2002, after I had written an article in Esquire that the White House didn't like about Bush's former communications director, Karen Hughes, I had a meeting with a senior adviser to Bush. He expressed the White House's displeasure, and then he told me something that at the time I didn't fully comprehend -- but which I now believe gets to the very heart of the Bush presidency.

The aide said that guys like me were ''in what we call the reality-based community,'' which he defined as people who ''believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.'' I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. ''That's not the way the world really works anymore,'' he continued. ''We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.''

Who besides guys like me are part of the reality-based community? Many of the other elected officials in Washington, it would seem. A group of Democratic and Republican members of Congress were called in to discuss Iraq sometime before the October 2002 vote authorizing Bush to move forward. A Republican senator recently told Time Magazine that the president walked in and said: ''Look, I want your vote. I'm not going to debate it with you.'' When one of the senators began to ask a question, Bush snapped, ''Look, I'm not going to debate it with you.''

The 9/11 commission did not directly address the question of whether Bush exerted influence over the intelligence community about the existence of weapons of mass destruction. That question will be investigated after the election, but if no tangible evidence of undue pressure is found, few officials or alumni of the administration whom I spoke to are likely to be surprised. ''If you operate in a certain way -- by saying this is how I want to justify what I've already decided to do, and I don't care how you pull it off -- you guarantee that you'll get faulty, one-sided information,'' Paul O'Neill, who was asked to resign his post of treasury secretary in December 2002, said when we had dinner a few weeks ago. ''You don't have to issue an edict, or twist arms, or be overt.''

In a way, the president got what he wanted: a National Intelligence Estimate on W.M.D. that creatively marshaled a few thin facts, and then Colin Powell putting his credibility on the line at the United Nations in a show of faith. That was enough for George W. Bush to press forward and invade Iraq. As he told his quasi-memoirist, Bob Woodward, in ''Plan of Attack'': ''Going into this period, I was praying for strength to do the Lord's will. . . . I'm surely not going to justify the war based upon God. Understand that. Nevertheless, in my case, I pray to be as good a messenger of his will as possible.''

Machiavelli's oft-cited line about the adequacy of the perception of power prompts a question. Is the appearance of confidence as important as its possession? Can confidence -- true confidence -- be willed? Or must it be earned?

George W. Bush, clearly, is one of history's great confidence men. That is not meant in the huckster's sense, though many critics claim that on the war in Iraq, the economy and a few other matters he has engaged in some manner of bait-and-switch. No, I mean it in the sense that he's a believer in the power of confidence. At a time when constituents are uneasy and enemies are probing for weaknesses, he clearly feels that unflinching confidence has an almost mystical power. It can all but create reality.

Whether you can run the world on faith, it's clear you can run one hell of a campaign on it.

George W. Bush and his team have constructed a high-performance electoral engine. The soul of this new machine is the support of millions of likely voters, who judge his worth based on intangibles -- character, certainty, fortitude and godliness -- rather than on what he says or does. The deeper the darkness, the brighter this filament of faith glows, a faith in the president and the just God who affirms him.

The leader of the free world is clearly comfortable with this calculus and artfully encourages it. In the series of televised, carefully choreographed ''Ask President Bush'' events with supporters around the country, sessions filled with prayers and blessings, one questioner recently summed up the feelings of so many Christian conservatives, the core of the Bush army. ''I've voted Republican from the very first time I could vote,'' said Gary Walby, a retired jeweler from Destin, Fla., as he stood before the president in a crowded college gym. ''And I also want to say this is the very first time that I have felt that God was in the White House.'' Bush simply said ''thank you'' as a wave of raucous applause rose from the assembled.

Every few months, a report surfaces of the president using strikingly Messianic language, only to be dismissed by the White House. Three months ago, for instance, in a private meeting with Amish farmers in Lancaster County, Pa., Bush was reported to have said, ''I trust God speaks through me.'' In this ongoing game of winks and nods, a White House spokesman denied the president had specifically spoken those words, but noted that ''his faith helps him in his service to people.''

A recent Gallup Poll noted that 42 percent of Americans identify themselves as evangelical or ''born again.'' While this group leans Republican, it includes black urban churches and is far from monolithic. But Bush clearly draws his most ardent supporters and tireless workers from this group, many from a healthy subset of approximately four million evangelicals who didn't vote in 2000 -- potential new arrivals to the voting booth who could tip a close election or push a tight contest toward a rout.

This signaling system -- forceful, national, varied, yet clean of the president's specific fingerprint -- carries enormous weight. Lincoln Chafee, the moderate Republican senator from Rhode Island, has broken with the president precisely over concerns about the nature of Bush's certainty. ''This issue,'' he says, of Bush's ''announcing that 'I carry the word of God' is the key to the election. The president wants to signal to the base with that message, but in the swing states he does not.''

Come to the hustings on Labor Day and meet the base. In 2004, you know a candidate by his base, and the Bush campaign is harnessing the might of churches, with hordes of voters registering through church-sponsored programs. Following the news of Bush on his national tour in the week after the Republican convention, you could sense how a faith-based president campaigns: on a surf of prayer and righteous rage.

Righteous rage -- that's what Hardy Billington felt when he heard about same-sex marriage possibly being made legal in Massachusetts. ''It made me upset and disgusted, things going on in Massachusetts,'' the 52-year-old from Poplar Bluff, Mo., told me. ''I prayed, then I got to work.'' Billington spent $830 in early July to put up a billboard on the edge of town. It read: ''I Support President Bush and the Men and Women Fighting for Our Country. We Invite President Bush to Visit Poplar Bluff.'' Soon Billington and his friend David Hahn, a fundamentalist preacher, started a petition drive. They gathered 10,000 signatures. That fact eventually reached the White House scheduling office.

By late afternoon on a cloudy Labor Day, with a crowd of more than 20,000 assembled in a public park, Billington stepped to the podium. ''The largest group I ever talked to I think was seven people, and I'm not much of a talker,'' Billington, a shy man with three kids and a couple of dozen rental properties that he owns, told me several days later. ''I've never been so frightened.''

But Billington said he ''looked to God'' and said what was in his heart. ''The United States is the greatest country in the world,'' he told the rally. ''President Bush is the greatest president I have ever known. I love my president. I love my country. And more important, I love Jesus Christ.''

The crowd went wild, and they went wild again when the president finally arrived and gave his stump speech. There were Bush's periodic stumbles and gaffes, but for the followers of the faith-based president, that was just fine. They got it -- and ''it'' was the faith.

And for those who don't get it? That was explained to me in late 2002 by Mark McKinnon, a longtime senior media adviser to Bush, who now runs his own consulting firm and helps the president. He started by challenging me. ''You think he's an idiot, don't you?'' I said, no, I didn't. ''No, you do, all of you do, up and down the West Coast, the East Coast, a few blocks in southern Manhattan called Wall Street. Let me clue you in. We don't care. You see, you're outnumbered 2 to 1 by folks in the big, wide middle of America, busy working people who don't read The New York Times or Washington Post or The L.A. Times. And you know what they like? They like the way he walks and the way he points, the way he exudes confidence. They have faith in him. And when you attack him for his malaprops, his jumbled syntax, it's good for us. Because you know what those folks don't like? They don't like you!'' In this instance, the final ''you,'' of course, meant the entire reality-based community.

The bond between Bush and his base is a bond of mutual support. He supports them with his actions, doing his level best to stand firm on wedge issues like abortion and same-sex marriage while he identifies evil in the world, at home and abroad. They respond with fierce faith. The power of this transaction is something that people, especially those who are religious, tend to connect to their own lives. If you have faith in someone, that person is filled like a vessel. Your faith is the wind beneath his or her wings. That person may well rise to the occasion and surprise you: I had faith in you, and my faith was rewarded. Or, I know you've been struggling, and I need to pray harder.

Bush's speech that day in Poplar Bluff finished with a mythic appeal: ''For all Americans, these years in our history will always stand apart,'' he said. ''You know, there are quiet times in the life of a nation when little is expected of its leaders. This isn't one of those times. This is a time that needs -- when we need firm resolve and clear vision and a deep faith in the values that make us a great nation.''

The life of the nation and the life of Bush effortlessly merge -- his fortitude, even in the face of doubters, is that of the nation; his ordinariness, like theirs, is heroic; his resolve, to whatever end, will turn the wheel of history.

Remember, this is consent, informed by the heart and by the spirit. In the end, Bush doesn't have to say he's ordained by God. After a day of speeches by Hardy Billington and others, it goes without saying.

''To me, I just believe God controls everything, and God uses the president to keep evil down, to see the darkness and protect this nation,'' Billington told me, voicing an idea shared by millions of Bush supporters. ''Other people will not protect us. God gives people choices to make. God gave us this president to be the man to protect the nation at this time.''

But when the moment came in the V.I.P. tent to shake Bush's hand, Billington remembered being reserved. '''I really thank God that you're the president' was all I told him.'' Bush, he recalled, said, ''Thank you.''

''He knew what I meant,'' Billington said. ''I believe he's an instrument of God, but I have to be careful about what I say, you know, in public.''

Is there anyone in America who feels that John Kerry is an instrument of God?

''I'm going to be real positive, while I keep my foot on John Kerry's throat,'' George W. Bush said last month at a confidential luncheon a block away from the White House with a hundred or so of his most ardent, longtime supporters, the so-called R.N.C. Regents. This was a high-rolling crowd -- at one time or another, they had all given large contributions to Bush or the Republican National Committee. Bush had known many of them for years, and a number of them had visited him at the ranch. It was a long way from Poplar Bluff.

The Bush these supporters heard was a triumphal Bush, actively beginning to plan his second term. It is a second term, should it come to pass, that will alter American life in many ways, if predictions that Bush voiced at the luncheon come true.

He said emphatically that he expects the Republicans will gain seats to expand their control of the House and the Senate. According to notes provided to me, and according to several guests at the lunch who agreed to speak about what they heard, he said that ''Osama bin Laden would like to overthrow the Saudis . . .

then we're in trouble. Because they have a weapon. They have the oil.'' He said that there will be an opportunity to appoint a Supreme Court justice shortly after his inauguration, and perhaps three more high-court vacancies during his second term.

''Won't that be amazing?'' said Peter Stent, a rancher and conservationist who attended the luncheon. ''Can you imagine? Four appointments!''

After his remarks, Bush opened it up for questions, and someone asked what he's going to do about energy policy with worldwide oil reserves predicted to peak.

Bush said: ''I'm going to push nuclear energy, drilling in Alaska and clean coal. Some nuclear-fusion technologies are interesting.'' He mentions energy from ''processing corn.''

''I'm going to bring all this up in the debate, and I'm going to push it,'' he said, and then tried out a line. ''Do you realize that ANWR [the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge] is the size of South Carolina, and where we want to drill is the size of the Columbia airport?''

The questions came from many directions -- respectful, but clearly reality-based. About the deficits, he said he'd ''spend whatever it takes to protect our kids in Iraq,'' that ''homeland security cost more than I originally thought.''

In response to a question, he talked about diversity, saying that ''hands down,'' he has the most diverse senior staff in terms of both gender and race. He recalled a meeting with Chancellor Gerhard Schröder of Germany. ''You know, I'm sitting there with Schröder one day with Colin and Condi. And I'm thinking: What's Schröder thinking?! He's sitting here with two blacks and one's a woman.''

But as the hour passed, Bush kept coming back to the thing most on his mind: his second term.

''I'm going to come out strong after my swearing in,'' Bush said, ''with fundamental tax reform, tort reform, privatizing of Social Security.'' The victories he expects in November, he said, will give us ''two years, at least, until the next midterm. We have to move quickly, because after that I'll be quacking like a duck.''

Joseph Gildenhorn, a top contributor who attended the luncheon and has been invited to visit Bush at his ranch, said later: ''I've never seen the president so ebullient. He was so confident. He feels so strongly he will win.'' Yet one part of Bush's 60-odd-minute free-form riff gave Gildenhorn -- a board member of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and a former ambassador to Switzerland -- a moment's pause. The president, listing priorities for his second term, placed near the top of his agenda the expansion of federal support for faith-based institutions. The president talked at length about giving the initiative the full measure of his devotion and said that questions about separation of church and state were not an issue.

Talk of the faith-based initiative, Gildenhorn said, makes him ''a little uneasy.'' Many conservative evangelicals ''feel they have a direct line from God,'' he said, and feel Bush is divinely chosen.

''I think he's religious, I think he's a born-again, I don't think, though, that he feels that he's been ordained by God to serve the country.'' Gildenhorn paused, then said, ''But you know, I really haven't discussed it with him.''

A regent I spoke to later and who asked not to be identified told me: ''I'm happy he's certain of victory and that he's ready to burst forth into his second term, but it all makes me a little nervous. There are a lot of big things that he's planning to do domestically, and who knows what countries we might invade or what might happen in Iraq. But when it gets complex, he seems to turn to prayer or God rather than digging in and thinking things through. What's that line? -- the devil's in the details. If you don't go after that devil, he'll come after you.''

Bush grew into one of history's most forceful leaders, his admirers will attest, by replacing hesitation and reasonable doubt with faith and clarity. Many more will surely tap this high-voltage connection of fervent faith and bold action. In politics, the saying goes, anything that works must be repeated until it is replaced by something better. The horizon seems clear of competitors.

Can the unfinished American experiment in self-governance -- sputtering on the watery fuel of illusion and assertion -- deal with something as nuanced as the subtleties of one man's faith? What, after all, is the nature of the particular conversation the president feels he has with God -- a colloquy upon which the world now precariously turns?

That very issue is what Jim Wallis wishes he could sit and talk about with George W. Bush. That's impossible now, he says. He is no longer invited to the White House.

''Faith can cut in so many ways,'' he said. ''If you're penitent and not triumphal, it can move us to repentance and accountability and help us reach for something higher than ourselves. That can be a powerful thing, a thing that moves us beyond politics as usual, like Martin Luther King did. But when it's designed to certify our righteousness -- that can be a dangerous thing. Then it pushes self-criticism aside. There's no reflection.

''Where people often get lost is on this very point,'' he said after a moment of thought. ''Real faith, you see, leads us to deeper reflection and not -- not ever -- to the thing we as humans so very much want.''

And what is that?

''Easy certainty.''


    Ron Suskind was the senior national-affairs reporter for The Wall Street Journal from 1993 to 2000.
    He is the author most recently of ''The Price of Loyalty: George W. Bush, the White House and the Education of Paul O'Neill.''

    Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company.

    Source : New York Times magazine, 17.10.2004, http://www.nytimes.com/2004/10/17/magazine/17BUSH.html

    Extraits en français dans le Monde, 5.11.2004, http://www.lemonde.fr/web/article/0,1-0@2-3230,36-385757,0.html


















President George W. Bush by Christopher Morris

Backstage With Bush > Prayer Break

At a dinner in Santa Monica,

the President bows for the benediction

Time    2004 presidential campaign

















George W. président pour tuer le père

Alcool, faillite économique, échecs politiques...

Le destin de Bush Jr n'était pas tout tracé.


Jeudi 04 novembre 2004
Par Pascal RICHE

Washington de notre correspondant


Qui se souvient encore de George Bush? Non, pas George W.: l'autre, l'ancien président, le numéro 41. Il a été gommé. Pendant la campagne, c'est à peine si on l'a vu. Il est parfois passé, furtivement, souriant dans un coin de l'image, par exemple dans les gradins de la convention républicaine de New York, fin août. Sur le podium, Bush-le-fils a présenté Dick Cheney comme «le meilleur vice-président» de l'histoire, oubliant que son père avait été celui de Reagan.

En allant dans la même université (Yale), en se lançant dans le même business (le pétrole), en entrant en politique, en devenant président, puis en déclarant la guerre contre Saddam Hussein, George W. Bush semblait suivre les traces de son père. Erreur : il les recouvrait. Hier, le fils a sans doute vengé le père (qui avait, lui, été chassé au bout d'un mandat, par Bill Clinton), mais il l'a surtout effacé. Dans les livres d'histoire, s'il reste un «George Bush», ce sera lui : celui du 11 septembre, celui des deux mandats.

Le gai luron de l'université. La vie de George W. Bush, 58 ans, est étrange. Il est devenu président à la fois par accident et par fatalité. Il est né dans le Connecticut le 6 juillet 1946, aîné d'une famille de six enfants. Il grandit au Texas, dans la région de Midland. Son grand-père est sénateur, son père est un homme d'affaires capable. George Walker est un garçon charmant, proche de sa mère Barbara, femme au franc-parler et dotée d'un solide bon sens. Il lui voue encore aujourd'hui une adoration sans bornes. Lorsqu'il a 7 ans, sa petite soeur Robin, âgée de 3 ans, meurt d'une leucémie. C'est pour lui un choc : ses parents ne l'avaient pas informé de la maladie. «Il posait plein de questions et ne pouvait pas comprendre pourquoi nous savions, depuis longtemps», a raconté Barbara Bush dans ses mémoires. Cet épisode, assurent ses panégyristes, explique la fermeté de son caractère. Il peut aussi éclairer d'autres traits. A l'époque, c'est sur George que retombe la responsabilité de consoler sa mère. Son père est absent. Il voyage sans cesse. L'enfant divertit Barbara par ses mimiques...

Grâce aux relations familiales, George W. Bush entre dans la prestigieuse université de Yale, déjà fréquentée par son père et son grand-père. Comme eux, il est admis dans la société secrète estudiantine Skull and Bones, la plus prestigieuse du campus. Ce n'est pourtant pas un étudiant brillant. Son frère Jeb, dans l'idée de ses parents, est bien plus prometteur. George est un gai luron aux notes moyennes. Il aime faire le pitre et la fête (surtout bien arrosée), encourager l'équipe de foot, rigoler. Certains biographes racontent qu'il prend aussi goût à la cocaïne. Bush n'a jamais commenté le sujet, parlant seulement «d'erreurs de jeunesse». C'est sa période «Prince Hal». Le parallélisme avec le personnage shakespearien (qui deviendra le roi guerrier Henri V) est frappant : deux jeunes gens, promis un jour à régner, s'adonnant à de multiples frasques sans réussir à conjurer leur destin.

Laura ou Jack. Grâce aux appuis de son père, encore, Bush échappe à la guerre du Vietnam en s'enrôlant dans la Garde nationale texane. Il est déchargé prématurément de ses obligations militaires et termine ses études par un MBA à Harvard, en 1973. Plus son père prend de l'importance sur la scène publique (élu du Congrès, ambassadeur, directeur de la CIA...), plus la boisson en prend dans la vie de «W». Plus tard, il accrochera dans son bureau, un portrait du héros texan du XIXe Sam Houston couvert d'une serviette, en cure de désintoxication : «C'est la preuve qu'on peut avoir bu et être un grand homme», expliquera-t-il à ses conseillers. Sa vie professionnelle alors est chaotique : il s'est lancé dans le business du pétrole, comme papa, mais enchaîne les ratés. Ce sont les amis de son père qui, plus tard, sauveront son entreprise de la faillite.

Une femme, Laura Welch, change le cours de sa vie. Son père n'y est, cette fois, pour rien. C'est une bibliothécaire âgée comme lui de 30 ans. Des amis, cherchant à les marier, organisent un barbecue pour les rapprocher. Elle est son image inversée : sage, solide, tout en retenue. «Il a mis de l'excitation dans ma vie», confiera-t-elle un jour. Ils se marient trois mois plus tard. Toujours sur les traces paternelles, Bush cherche à se faire élire au Congrès en 1978, mais il échoue.

En 1981, le couple donne naissance à deux jumelles. Il appelle l'une d'entre elles Barbara, comme sa mère. Mais l'alcool est toujours là, minant sa vie. En 1986, Laura exige qu'il cesse : plus une goutte. «Elle m'a dit : "C'est moi ou Jack Daniel's"», a raconté un jour Bush.

Sa vie se stabilise alors, avec le soutien d'un groupe de chrétiens évangélistes. Il avait délaissé la religion, il la retrouve, violemment, comme le font la plupart des born again. Sa carrière politique devient «courte et joyeuse», pour reprendre le sous-titre d'un livre qui lui est consacré. Président d'une équipe de base-ball, les Texas Rangers, il se fait élire gouverneur du Texas en 1994. Son frère, candidat au même poste, mais en Floride, a été battu. Lorsque l'ex-président Bush appelle George pour le féliciter, ce dernier est mal à l'aise : «J'ai l'impression que Papa n'a retenu que la défaite de Jeb. Pas ma victoire», lâche-t-il.

Il se lance dans la campagne présidentielle en 2000. Avec l'aide de son fidèle stratège Karl Rove, il écrase le favori John McCain en s'appuyant sur la base chrétienne du parti. Le politicien conservateur qui se présente aux Américains est alors très différent du modéré qu'était son père. Il remporte l'élection, avec moins de voix que son opposant Al Gore, et au terme d'une vaste bataille juridique interrompue par la Cour suprême.

La présence de Dieu. C'est le 11 septembre qui marque la rupture la plus profonde de sa vie, donnant un sens à son mandat. Bush racontera par la suite que, ce jour-là, il a «senti» la présence de Dieu à ses côtés. Il se sent investi d'une mission. Il aurait pu alors profiter de cette tragédie pour se poser en rassembleur, se repositionner au centre, dans la tradition de son père. Mais non : il choisit la voie inverse, se posant en héros des valeurs chrétiennes à l'intérieur du pays, en «président de guerre» à l'extérieur. Il décide d'entrer en guerre contre Saddam Hussein. Lorsque celui-ci est arrêté dans son trou, il se fait remettre le pistolet du dictateur déchu, qu'il montre, parfois, à des invités de marque. «Il a essayé de tuer mon papa», laisse-t-il échapper un jour.

    Source : Pascal RICHE, Libération, 4.11.2004, http://www.liberation.com/page.php?Article=251313



















Private Eye        issue no. 1119        November 2004

















Les républicains en force au Congrès


Jeudi 04 novembre 2004


Les Américains ont également voté mardi pour renouveler la totalité de la Chambre des représentants et un tiers du Sénat. Les républicains ont renforcé leur domination dans les deux chambres du Congrès. A la Chambre des représentants, ils ont ravi au moins 2 circonscriptions aux démocrates. Au Sénat, ils ont gagné au moins 54 sièges sur 100, soit une progression de 3 sièges. Tom Daschle, chef du groupe démocrate au Sénat, a été battu dans le Dakota-du-Sud. Un Noir démocrate, Barack Obama, a en revanche été élu sénateur de l'Illinois. C'est le troisième Noir à avoir jamais siégé dans cette instance.

L'ancien maire noir démocrate de Washington Marion Barry, qui a purgé une peine de prison voici une dizaine d'années pour un délit lié à la drogue, a pour sa part réussi son retour en remportant un siège au conseil municipal.

Les Américains ont aussi voté sur des thèmes de société. La Californie a adopté (59 % pour, 41 % contre) la proposition en faveur de la recherche sur les cellules souches embryonnaires. Mais la totalité des 11 Etats consultés sur l'interdiction du mariage homosexuel (Arkansas, Géorgie, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, Dakota-du-Nord, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Montana, Utah) l'ont approuvée. (AFP, Reuters).

    Source : Libération, 4.11.2004, http://www.liberation.com/page.php?Article=251312






Les Américains votent aujourd'hui pour élire leur Président, mais aussi pour renouveler la totalité des 435 membres de la Chambre des représentants et un tiers des sénateurs, choisir leur gouverneur dans onze Etats, et se prononcer dans plus de 150 référendums locaux (sur les impôts, le mariage homosexuel, les jeux d'argent, la légalisation de la marijuana, la recherche sur les cellules souches...). Seront également élus de nombreuses assemblées locales, ainsi que des juges, des procureurs et des shérifs. Les républicains estiment avoir de bonnes chances de conserver la majorité au Sénat, où 34 sièges sur 100 sont à renouveler, dont 19 démocrates. A la Chambre des représentants, les démocrates doivent gagner douze sièges pour en reprendre le contrôle, tâche quasi impossible. (Avec AFP)

    Source : Jour J : Et aussi les représentants, le Sénat..., Libération, 2.11.2004, http://www.liberation.com/page.php?Article=250658






Jour J

Un mode de scrutin archaïque et peu sûr

Les anomalies du système

suscitent doutes et critiques de la part des Américains.


A la une des pages du Sun-Sentinel, quotidien de Fort Lauderdale, épicentre il y a quatre ans du fiasco de Floride (lire page 4), on constate que «l'élection nourrit l'anxiété. Les électeurs ont peur que leurs bulletins ne soient pas comptés». Nationalement, si on en croit un sondage CBS/New York Times, les Américains ne sont pas plus assurés de la fiabilité de leur système électoral. Un peu plus de 50 % d'entre eux disent redouter que leurs bulletins ne soient pas décomptés correctement, pourcentage qui passe à 80 % chez les électeurs noirs. La moitié juge que l'élection de Bush en 2000 n'a pas été légitime. Se préparant à des résultats extrêmement serrés, les deux partis se servent de cette hantise du fiasco pour mobiliser leur base. Les télévisions ont multiplié les reportages sur les dysfonctionnements dans certains Etats et les 30 000 avocats en embuscade pour traquer la moindre anomalie. Le système électoral américain coince. Revue de détail.


Le pouvoir des Etats

Le président des Etats-Unis n'est pas élu au suffrage universel mais par un «collège électoral», formé de grands électeurs désignés au prorata de la population des Etats. Mais, avec un vainqueur qui, dans chaque Etat, remporte l'ensemble des grands électeurs, ce système, créé à l'origine pour défendre le caractère fédéral des Etats-Unis, n'est pas un véritable reflet de l'Amérique. A quatre reprises, la dernière en 2000 avec Bush, le vainqueur dans le collège électoral était minoritaire en voix dans le pays.

Ce système avantage les Etats dits «décisifs», où les deux candidats ont une chance de l'emporter. Les Etats «sûrs» (le Texas pour Bush, la Californie pour Kerry) sont de fait hors jeu. Un vote républicain à New York ou démocrate au Texas est totalement perdu. Le petit Wisconsin, le lointain Nouveau-Mexique, l'excentrique New Hampshire sont en revanche l'objet de toutes les attentions des candidats. Cette année, dix-huit Etats n'ont jamais vu un candidat. Mais Bush est allé 43 fois en Pennsylvanie...

A chaque élection, le débat repart sur ce système sclérosé. Les grands journaux ont pris position pour une élection directe du Président. Mais, à chaque fois, les petits Etats, clé de toute réforme constitutionnelle, bloquent.

Ils sont, de plus jaloux, de leurs prérogatives électorales. Aucune loi fédérale ne fixe le déroulement du scrutin présidentiel. Chaque Etat, voire chaque comté, peut donc avoir son système d'inscription sur les listes électorales, de dépouillement ou de contestation des résultats...


Le vote par correspondance, anticipé, provisoire

Record historique, 26 millions d'Américains ont déjà voté avant même le 2 novembre. Par correspondance ou grâce au vote anticipé. Mais un grand nombre d'électeurs se plaignent de ne pas avoir reçu leurs bulletins par correspondance (notamment en Floride). Dans un pays aussi vaste et avec une population aussi mobile, les problèmes sont inévitables. Quant au vote des militaires à l'étranger et autres expatriés, certains Etats ne les compteront que s'ils peuvent modifier un résultat serré. Nouvelle source de complications, le vote dit «provisoire». On vote et on ne vérifie qu'ensuite si l'électeur est bien inscrit.


Les inscriptions

Personne n'a oublié les protestations de nombreux électeurs noirs de Floride qui ont affirmé n'avoir pas pu voter en 2000. Les démocrates estiment ainsi que jusqu'à un million d'Africains-Américains ont été victimes d'intimidations et d'entraves au vote. Cette année, les républicains affirment que ce sont les démocrates qui ont artificiellement gonflé les listes électorales. Les inscriptions sont particulièrement difficiles pour les prisonniers et anciens condamnés. Dans sept Etats, tout condamné à une peine de prison perd son droit de vote. Ce week-end, les démocrates de Charleston, en Caroline-du-Sud, ont dénoncé une «fausse lettre» envoyée à des milliers d'électeurs noirs. Prétendument signée par la NAACP, l'association de défense des droits des noirs, cette missive assure que tout individu qui n'aurait pas payé ses amendes «serait arrêté» s'il va voter...


Machines et fraudes

Depuis la Floride en 2000, de nombreux Etats sont passés aux machines à voter à écran tactile. Mais la machine ne délivre pas toujours de «reçu». Le soupçon de fraudes est donc omniprésent. Les démocrates accusent les républicains de détruire des listes d'électeurs (Oregon, Nevada). Les républicains accusent des centaines de démocrates de s'être enregistrés à la fois à New York et en Floride.

    Source : Par Annette LEVY-WILLARD et Fabrice ROUSSELOT et Francois SERGENT et Pascal RICHE, Libération, 2.11.2004, http://www.liberation.com/page.php?Article=250660

















The Guardian        p. 18        5.11.2004
















US election campaign 'most expensive ever'


Monday November 1, 2004
The Guardian
Dominic Timms


US presidential rivals George Bush and John Kerry have spent more than $600m on TV and radio ads in the run-up to tomorrow's election, making it the most expensive campaign in American political history.

The two candidates and their supporters have spent three times as much as in 2000 when Senator Al Gore narrowly lost the presidency to Mr Bush.

And the rise of multimillion pound campaigns from pressure groups such as the Swift Boat Veterans For Truth alongside the ad blitz by the Democrats and Republicans has taken the total spending on political and so-called issue advertising to over $1bn since the start of the year, according to US tracking group TNS Media Intelligence.

"The story this whole year has been the sheer volume of ads," said Evan Tracey, president of TNS Media Intelligence/Campaign Media Analysis Group. "This is an election that I think changes politics."

Though the result of the election is widely being described as too close to call, Mr Kerry's campaign is marginally ahead of his Republican rival.

The Democrats spent about $250m on TV and radio commercials between March and September, $10m more than Mr Bush's campaign spend.

And spending by left-leaning pressure groups such as The Media Fund stretches the Democrat spending lead still further.

Liberal groups have poured around $70m into adverts backing Mr Kerry, while Republican groups spent just $40m.

The Media Fund, set up by a former aide to Bill Clinton, emerged as the highest spending liberal group, pumping $55m into political ads. Its main Conservative rival, Progress for America Voter Fund, spent just $20m.

While the 2004 presidential campaign has been one of the longest on record - the Republican party started its TV campaign against Senator Kerry in the spring - it has concentrated on around a dozen swing states where the outcome of Tuesday's election is expected to be decided.

Residents of Toledo, Ohio for example were blitzed with just under 15,000 TV and radio ads between March and September, according to TNS Media Intelligence research.

Tampa residents could have watched 200 ads in a single day on the penultimate Saturday before the election, while on the same day people living in other swing cities such as Las Vegas, Cleveland and Milwaukee had between 100-150 ads to contemplate.

But in around two-thirds of the country the volume of campaign ads has been much more subdued.

Most television spending has been on national and local cable channels, with the Democrats favouring the news channels and the Republicans targeting male voters and buying into sports and outdoor shows, TNS reports.

The Democrats have been the cannier media buyers, snapping up spots at lower prices even if this meant opting for slots showing at different times than they would have wanted.

Records from a TV station in Cleveland quoted by TNS, reveal that Kerry's campaign spent $250 for a single spot between 9 am and 10 am on October 5, compared with the $375 paid by the Republicans in the same period.

    Guardian Unlimited © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2004

    Source : http://www.guardian.co.uk/uselections2004/story/0,13918,1340973,00.html






Le big business en campagne met la main au portefeuille

Les patrons des grosses entreprises comptent

parmi les plus gros bailleurs de fonds des deux candidats.


«Ne cédez pas à la politique de la peur. Je suis convaincu que Bush nous a entraînés dans la mauvaise direction. L'invasion de l'Irak était une erreur colossale et c'est seulement en répudiant les politiques du Président lors des élections que nous pouvons espérer nous sortir de ce bourbier.» Signée George Soros et publiée mardi sur deux pages dans le New York Times, la publicité n'a surpris personne. Depuis plusieurs mois maintenant, le financier d'origine hongroise installé aux Etats-Unis n'a pas caché son soutien politique et financier à John Kerry, déboursant des dizaines de millions de dollars en faveur de la course à la Maison Blanche du sénateur démocrate. En face, George W. Bush n'est pas en reste. Michael Dell, le patron des ordinateurs Dell, ou Graig Barrett, le PDG d'Intel, se sont par exemple publiquement déclarés en faveur du Président. Et ont eux aussi mis la main au porte-monnaie.

Record. Pour qui votent les grands patrons ? La question est d'importance puisque les PDG comptent parmi les plus grands bailleurs de fonds des deux partis, qui ont engrangé plus de 700 millions de dollars pour soutenir leurs campagnes cette année. Un record dans l'histoire américaine. Jusque-là, la tendance a toujours été claire. Le big business a généralement montré sa préférence au Parti républicain, considéré comme le parti de la dérégulation, de la libre entreprise et de la faible imposition.

Mais, en 2004, les choses semblent quelque peu différentes. En mars, un groupe de soixante-dix chefs d'entreprise, mené par Ben Cohen, le patron écologiste des glaces Ben and Jerry, avait traité Bush de «menteur sur l'Irak et les armes de destruction massive». Là encore par l'intermédiaire d'une publicité dans le New York Times. Steve Jobs, le patron d'Apple et Warren Buffett, le roi des placements, se sont également mobilisés derrière le sénateur démocrate dès le début de l'année. La presse américaine avait alors fait de Jobs le «nouveau conseiller économique» de Kerry. Il avait été contraint de démenti, précisant qu'il «avait juste proposé son aide».

«Bush a toujours un avantage auprès des patrons et des entreprises, mais il n'est pas aussi important que l'on pourrait le penser, explique Nathaniel Persily, professeur de sciences politiques à l'université de Pennsylvanie. Lors de son mandat, le Président a tout fait pour avoir les faveurs de l'industrie pharmaceutique ou du secteur de l'énergie. Et il y est parvenu. Dans le même temps, on se rend compte que les marchés financiers s'inquiètent de l'image négative des Etats-Unis à l'étranger, qui gêne les exportations. Et on n'apprécie guère non plus les gros déficits publics. Du coup, Kerry est perçu comme une alternative.»

Quasi-égalité. A Wall Street, si l'on s'en tient aux contributions versées par les grandes banques d'affaires, les deux candidats sont à quasi-égalité. Merrill Lynch, par exemple, a versé à Bush 72 % du 1,79 million de dollars donnés aux candidats. Mais Lehman Brothers a accordé 63 % de son 1,59 million de dollars à la campagne de Kerry. «Après les débats télévisés, les marchés ont soudain perçu Kerry comme un président potentiel et responsable», assure un analyste. Mais à l'en croire «Wall Street préférerait quand même Bush». Le pire des scénarios serait en tout cas de n'avoir pas de Président le 3 novembre : «Si l'élection est très serrée et le résultat contesté, alors les marchés partiront en vrille.»

    Fabrice Rousselot, Libération, 29.10.2004, http://www.liberation.com/page.php?Article=249880


















The Economist    North America Edition    30.10.2004















205,8 millions d'électeurs sont appelés à voter pour choisir le 44e président des Etats-Unis, qui prendra ses fonctions le 20 janvier 2005. Ils doivent également élire la Chambre des représentants (435 élus) et un tiers du Sénat (100 sénateurs).


Les grands électeurs

éliront officiellement le Président le 13 décembre. Leur collège est composé de 538 personnalités elles-mêmes élues le 2 novembre. Plus un Etat est peuplé, plus il a de grands électeurs. Dans 48 Etats sur 50, le candidat en tête remporte tous les sièges affectés à ce territoire.

La Floride et ses 27 grands électeurs avaient été la clé de la présidentielle de 2000, après un imbroglio dans le décompte des voix. Bush y avait été déclaré vainqueur avec seulement 537 voix d'avance sur Gore, et après 36 jours de confusion et l'intervention de la Cour Suprême.


48% C'est le score des deux candidats chez les électeurs ayant l'intention d'aller voter, selon un sondage NBC News/Wall Street Journal d'hier. (...)

    Source : A Savoir, Libération, 21.10.2004, http://www.liberation.com/page.php?Article=247811






(...) 3,9 milliards de dollars (3,17 milliards d'euros), c'est le coût des élections parlementaires et présidentielle 2004, soit une hausse de 30 % par rapport à 2000, selon une étude indépendante publiée jeudi. 1,2 milliard de dollars ont été dépensés pour la seule présidentielle.




Les minorités

Hispaniques: 39,9 millions (13,72 %)

Noirs: 35,6 millions (12,24 %)

Asiatiques: 12,1 millions (4,15 %)

Amérindiens: 2 millions (0,7 %)



Le recensement de 2000

permettait à la population de se définir comme appartenant à plus d'une race et de choisir entre 126 combinaisons différentes. Le classement par races vise à lutter contre les discriminations. Un «Noir» peut avoir la peau claire : est «noire» toute personne ayant une goutte de sang noir.

    Source : A Savoir, Libération, 25.10.2004, http://www.liberation.com/page.php?Article=248703






Etats-Unis. Analyse

Le vote des minorités très disputé

Bush ne ménage pas ses efforts

pour séduire un électorat traditionnellement démocrate


«Si je suis noir et pauvre, je ne vais pas voter pour le président Bush, qui a baissé les impôts pour les riches.» Ce constat du révérend Jesse Jackson, lors de la convention démocrate de Boston, peut sembler un peu rapide, mais il est historiquement juste. Depuis longtemps, le vote des minorités en général, et des Africains-Américains en particulier, a largement profité aux démocrates. Avec la perception traditionnelle au sein de l'opinion publique américaine que le parti de John Kerry se préoccupe plus du sort des plus défavorisés que celui de George Bush. Lors des récentes élections cependant, le vote minoritaire s'est montré plus mouvant que certains experts ne l'avaient prédit. En 2000, Bush avait ainsi profité d'une partie importante des voix hispaniques (lire ci-dessus). Et, avant lui, Ronald Reagan avait su attirer une bonne partie de l'électorat noir au sein des classes moyennes.

Politicien blanc. Le 2 novembre, Kerry devrait donc bénéficier d'une large majorité des votes noirs. Mais il n'obtiendra peut-être pas les 90 % des voix africaines-américaines récoltées par Gore en 2000. Depuis le début de sa campagne, le sénateur démocrate a en effet souffert de ses origines et de son image de politicien blanc, membre de l'élite libérale de la cote est. «C'est vrai que cette perception existe, mais elle s'efface peu à peu ; pour notre communauté, le choix est clair et c'est Kerry», assure Dianne Wilkerson, seule femme noire sénateur au Congrès du Massachusetts.

Bush, pourtant, ne ménage pas ses efforts pour combler son déficit. Alors que les Noirs classent l'économie comme le thème principal de cette élection, dans tout le sud du pays les républicains tentent de rallier l'électorat en faisant la promotion de leurs programmes éducatifs. Ils insistent aussi sur les initiatives religieuses destinées à aider les plus pauvres. Dans des Etats en balance comme le Michigan, le Président serait parvenu à rallier près de 20 % du vote noir, ce qui pourrait s'avérer déterminant le jour du scrutin.

La bataille est capitale. En 2000, les minorités représentaient 24 % des Américains qui se sont déplacés aux urnes. Parmi les groupes les plus convoités se trouvent notamment les Asiatiques. Tous les sondages montrent en effet que cette communauté est très divisée aux Etats-Unis, suivant les origines des immigrants. Selon l'institut New California Media, à la mi-septembre, 43 % des Asiatiques assuraient qu'ils allaient voter pour Kerry, contre 36 % pour Bush. Parmi les personnes interrogées surtout, 20 % se disaient encore indécises, un chiffre plus de deux fois supérieur à la moyenne nationale. A en croire le sondage, les Américains d'origine vietnamienne et philippine voteront en majorité pour le Président, appréciant son image de «leader fort» capable de protéger le pays. Chez les Chinois américains, au contraire, le choix se porte plutôt sur Kerry.

Guerre en Irak. Reste enfin une communauté sur laquelle le candidat démocrate devrait pouvoir compter pleinement : les Arabes américains. Lors d'un récent sondage réalisé dans quatre Etats indécis et publié par l'Institut Zogby, 47 % d'entre eux se prononçaient en faveur de Kerry, contre 31,5 % pour Bush. Une large majorité des Arabes américains estimaient notamment que le Président avait fait du «mauvais travail» sur la guerre contre le terrorisme et rejetaient la guerre en Irak. Bush, qui avait engrangé à 45 % des voix de la minorité arabe en 2000, conservait toutefois une base républicaine auprès de la communauté, principalement composée de chefs d'entreprise qui appréciaient ses baisses d'impôts.

    Source : Fabrice Rousselot, Libération, 25.10.2004, http://www.liberation.com/page.php?Article=248701






Bush et Kerry au chevet du système de santé

Les deux candidats se sont opposé jeudi soir sur les questions de santé

Bush a attaqué Kerry sur les «onéreuses» réformes qu'il propose

Le candidat démocrate mène campagne

en faveur de la recherche sur les cellules-souches «bloquée» par Bush


L'un (Kerry) dans l'Ohio, l'autre (Bush) en Pennsylvannie, les deux candidats au poste présidentiel américain se sont affrontés à distance jeudi sur les questions de santé. Un sujet qui, sur le fond, les oppose beaucoup plus que la lutte contre le terrorisme ou l'Irak. Et où le sénateur démocrate dispose, selon les sondages, d'un avantage sur le président sortant.

A douze jours du scrutin, George Bush s'est surtout attaché à démontrer que les projets de son rival en matière de santé coûteraient beaucoup trop chers. Kerry veut étendre la couverture santé à 27 millions d'Américains qui en sont aujourd'hui exclus. Selon le Washington Post, «les rangs des non-assurés ont grossi de 5 millions de personnes» pendant le mandat de Bush à la Maison Blanche, alors que le président avait promis en 2000 de faire baisser le nombre de ses concitoyens privés d'accès à la santé.

«En ce qui concerne la santé, l'ordonnance du sénateur Kerry, c'est plus de gouvernement et des coûts plus élevés», s'est moqué Bush devant ses fans. Pour le Républicain, cette réforme signifie une plus grande «intrusion» de l'Etat fédéral dans les soins quotidiens des Américains, une charge «insupportable» pour les petites entreprises «qui ne le méritent pas» et une baisse de la qualité et de l'offre de santé, privée comme publique. «Mes réformes» promet-il, «feront baisser les coûts et donneront davantage de contrôle et de choix au peuple américain.»

Kerry a attaqué lui sur la recherche sur les cellules-souches embryonnaires. Un thème devenu central dans la campagne depuis la mort de Ronald Reagan, victime de la maladie d'Alzheimer, en juin dernier, et réactivé par le décès de l'acteur Christopher Reeve (Superman à l'écran) la semaine dernière. Les deux célébrités souffraient de pathologies que la recherche sur les cellules-souches tentent de guérir. Kerry promet de laisser les scientifiques reprendre leurs travaux, qui portent sur le traitement de ces maladies du système nerveux (Alzheimer, Parkinson, paralysies).

Dans les bras de Dana Reeve, la veuve de l'interprète de Superman venue le soutenir, le sénateur du Masschusetts a déploré les limitations à la recherche scientifique sur ces cellules, imposées par son adversaire depuis 2001 dans le cadre de sa croisade contre l'avortement. Bush, a-t-il ironisé, «aurait été dans le lobby des défenseurs de la bougie contre l'électricité, des constructeurs de chariots contre la voiture, des fabricants de machines à écrire contre l'ordinateur». John Kerry assure aussi que la recherche ne fait pas que coûter de l'argent. Les dépenses fédérales pour la recherche sont «le meilleur plan pour l'emploi que l'Amérique ait jamais eu», a juré jeudi le candidat démocrate.

Libération.fr, 22.10.2004,



















Don Wright        Cagle        25.10.2004
















Les Noirs de Floride veulent

"se venger de l'humiliation de 2000"


Le Monde
Yves Eudes


Les Africains-Américains du comté de Miami-Dade ont vécu le recomptage chaotique des votes, il y a quatre ans, comme une injustice à leur égard. Pour prévenir un nouvel imbroglio et "virer les frères Bush", leurs leaders tentent de mobiliser les électeurs et prévoient des recours en cas de litige.



"Ground Zero, c'est ici. Nous sommes à l'épicentre du grand problème de l'Amérique, et c'est ici qu'il sera résolu." Charles Wellons, ancien policier aujourd'hui responsable du bureau du Parti démocrate de Liberty City, le grand quartier noir de Miami, est convaincu que l'élection présidentielle de 2004 se jouera en Floride, comme il y a quatre ans.

Ici, personne n'a oublié la crise qui, en novembre 2000, avait paralysé le processus électoral américain : l'administration de Floride, dirigée par le gouverneur Jeb Bush, frère de George Bush, s'était révélée incapable de mener à bien le dépouillement des bulletins. Finalement, après 36 jours de recomptage chaotique et une cascade d'actions judiciaires, George Bush avait été proclamé, par la Cour suprême, vainqueur de l'élection en Floride avec 537 voix de majorité, ce qui lui avait permis de l'emporter au plan national. Or les dizaines de milliers de bulletins invalidés, souvent sans raison, provenaient en majorité des bureaux de vote des quartiers noirs, qui, traditionnellement, votent démocrate à près de 90 %.

Charles Wellons est persuadé qu'il ne s'agissait pas d'un problème d'incompétence, mais d'une vaste opération de fraude visant la communauté noire. Quatre ans plus tard, la douleur est intacte : "En 2000, les républicains nous ont pris par surprise. Nous ne pensions pas qu'ils s'abaisseraient à des comportements aussi méprisables. Cette fois, nous avons compris. Depuis 2001, nous avons convaincu des milliers d'habitants de s'inscrire sur les listes électorales. Les raisons de voter contre Bush ne manquent pas : à Liberty City, près de 60 % de la population est au chômage, les familles n'ont plus d'assurance-maladie, l'habitat se dégrade, la criminalité augmente. Mais pour l'élection présidentielle, nous pensons avant tout à nous venger de l'humiliation subie en 2000", dit-il. M. Wellons affirme que l'administration de Floride est prête à récidiver. En mai, la commission électorale a décidé de supprimer le droit de vote de 22 000 personnes récemment libérées de prison, tout en refusant de publier leurs noms. Lorsque la liste a été finalement rendue publique, on s'est aperçu que la quasi-totalité des radiés étaient des Noirs, souvent condamnés pour des délits mineurs. En outre, de nombreux citoyens honnêtes y figuraient par erreur. L'opération de radiation a été annulée en catastrophe.

A Liberty City, la mobilisation est intense. Les murs sont décorés de fresques à la gloire de Martin Luther King ou couverts d'affiches appelant à voter pour John Kerry. En revanche, pas un seul panneau en faveur du président Bush : pour assurer une présence minimum, les républicains font passer des spots publicitaires ciblés sur la station FM noire The Beat.



Désormais, la campagne électorale se mélange au scrutin proprement dit, car la Floride permet le vote anticipé : ainsi, dans le comté de Miami-Dade, vingt bureaux de vote sont ouverts depuis le 18 octobre et le resteront jusqu'au 2 novembre au soir. Les leaders noirs misent beaucoup sur ce scrutin étalé pour réduire l'abstention.

Si des électeurs découvrent qu'ils ne peuvent pas voter, par exemple parce que leur nom n'apparaît pas sur les listes, ils auront le temps de réagir. Grâce à l'aide de grandes fondations, les associations locales ont formé des centaines de jeunes Noirs chargés de surveiller le déroulement du scrutin. En cas de problème, ils alerteront un "centre d'urgence" mis en place par la fondation People for the American Way, qui dispose d'équipes d'avocats pouvant se rendre sur place. Pour les cas litigieux, des bulletins de "vote provisoire" ont été prévus - une nouvelle source potentielle de conflit.

Afin de profiter au maximum du vote anticipé, les militants de Liberty City organisent des fêtes et des pique-niques, puis forment des cortèges pour mener les participants au bureau le plus proche. En ce jour d'ouverture d'un grand bureau de vote dans un complexe administratif du quartier, les démocrates ont organisé un meeting rassemblant des notables locaux, des syndicalistes, quatre congressistes noirs venus de Washington et trois orchestres. Des chômeurs ont été embauchés pour aller chercher les habitants, porter des banderoles et des boissons fraîches et mettre de l'ambiance. Quand le cortège officiel arrive, des centaines de personnes font déjà la queue pour voter. L'attente est longue, car les électeurs doivent prendre le temps de comprendre le maniement, assez complexe, des nouvelles machines électroniques. Dans le vaste auditorium jouxtant le bureau de vote, les orateurs exhortent les électeurs à voter pour "John et John" (Kerry et Edwards), et à "virer les frères Bush". La guerre d'Irak est condamnée, mais les problèmes sociaux dominent le débat.

Entre les discours, des chanteurs de gospel et de rhythm'n'blues chauffent la salle, qui se met aussitôt à danser. Puis les pasteurs baptistes entrent en scène : à Liberty City, pas question de séparer la politique de la religion. Les hommes d'Eglise se lancent dans des prêches remplis de références bibliques, mélangeant le devoir de soumission à la parole du Christ et le devoir de voter contre Bush : "Jésus-Christ a déjà arrangé le remplacement de Bush par John Kerry. Remercions Jésus par avance pour le bonheur que nous ressentirons au matin glorieux du 3 novembre. Mais souvenons-nous que Dieu ne nous accordera la victoire que si notre croyance en Lui est sincère."



Les leaders noirs veulent aussi afficher leur patriotisme : entre deux airs de rhythm'n'blues, ils ordonnent à la foule de "saluer le drapeau du plus beau pays du monde", puis de réciter le serment d'allégeance et de chanter "Que Dieu bénisse l'Amérique".

Ils se démarquent ainsi des groupes radicaux très actifs au sein de leur communauté, notamment l'organisation Nation of Islam, qui possède une mosquée à Liberty City et qui reproche à John Kerry de négliger les problèmes spécifiques des Noirs et de vouloir poursuivre la guerre en Irak. La communauté noire de Miami, très sollicitée, a aussi accueilli la caravane bruyante et bigarrée du Hip-Hop Summit Action Network (HSAN), association créée par le milliardaire Russell Simmons, producteur de musique hip-hop et créateur de mode. Son objectif est toucher les jeunes de la "génération hip-hop" des quartiers de Miami les plus déshérités, comme Overtown, zone urbaine délabrée et insalubre, en organisant des événements ludiques à mi-chemin entre le meeting et le concert de rap.

Le HSAN est non partisan, mais les militants reconnaissent qu'en incitant les jeunes Noirs des quartiers pauvres à aller voter ils aident de facto les démocrates. Les plus célèbres artistes hip-hop produits par Russell Simmons ont promis de donner l'exemple en allant eux-mêmes voter, sans doute pour la première fois de leur vie.

    Liberty City (Floride) de notre envoyé spécial, Yves Eudes, Le Monde, 22.10.2004,






Privés du droit de se faire entendre

Ils sont plus de cinq millions,

prisonniers ou ex-prisonniers, à être interdits de vote.


38 ans, Barry Campbell n'a encore jamais voté. En 1989, il avait été condamné à New York à deux ans et demi de prison pour cambriolage. «Je suis sorti en 1991, mais j'ai toujours pensé que ma voix ne comptait pas. En Amérique, on a l'impression qu'une fois qu'on se retrouve derrière les barreaux, on n'est plus un citoyen comme les autres. Mais cette année, j'ai décidé de me mobiliser. Il faut changer le système, permettre à tout le monde de se faire entendre. C'est une honte de voir tant de gens qui ne peuvent exercer le droit de vote à cause de leur casier judiciaire.»

Dans le Sud, rayés des listes à jamais. Ce 2 novembre, pas moins de cinq millions d'Américains ne se déplaceront pas aux urnes, tous prisonniers ou anciens prisonniers interdits de vote. Aux Etats-Unis, les lois électorales pour les prisonniers varient suivant les Etats. Seuls le Maine et le Vermont donnent le droit à la population carcérale de voter. Quatorze autres Etats permettent à ceux qui sortent de prison de déposer leur bulletin dans l'urne. Mais dans certains Etats, comme l'Etat de New York, on ne peut pas voter tant qu'on est en liberté conditionnelle. Enfin, dans sept Etats du Sud, il suffit d'avoir été condamné à une peine de prison pour être rayé à jamais des listes électorales.

«Nous sommes face à une véritable discrimination», s'indigne JoAnne Page, directrice de la Fortune Society, un groupe new-yorkais spécialisé dans la réinsertion des criminels. «Vous pouvez avoir commis une fraude fiscale et, soudain, on vous annonce que vous ne pouvez plus exercer l'un des droits les plus fondamentaux. On dit que cinq millions de personnes ne voteront pas, mais, en fait, c'est encore beaucoup plus, certainement le double. Parce que, dans la plupart des Etats, personne ne se donne la peine d'informer les anciens prisonniers qu'ils ont la possibilité de se réinscrire sur les listes électorales.»

Le vote des «criminels» est devenu un thème politique des plus controversés durant cette campagne présidentielle 2004. En Floride, un procès va s'ouvrir la semaine prochaine à l'initiative de 600 000 anciens condamnés qui n'ont pas pu voter en 2000 et qui réclament cette fois le droit de pouvoir «se faire entendre». La question est loin d'être bénigne quand on sait que les Noirs américains ont sept fois plus de chances d'être incarcérés que les Blancs et qu'ils votent majoritairement démocrate. «Si vous me demandez si le vote des prisonniers aurait un impact direct sur les élections, la réponse est évidemment oui, poursuit JoAnne Page. Il profiterait largement à John Kerry. Mais démocrates et républicains restent très discrets sur le sujet car ils ne veulent pas apparaître comme étant complaisants avec les criminels.»

Tournée carcérale. Fin septembre, Barry Campbell, lui, est monté dans un bus en direction de Cleveland (Ohio) avec treize autres anciens prisonniers de l'Etat de New York. «On est allés dans les prisons pour expliquer à tous ceux qui n'avaient pas été encore condamnés qu'ils avaient le droit de voter en Ohio. Personne ne le savait. Mais, pour moi, cela va être une expérience extraordinaire. Pour la première fois de ma vie, j'aurai l'impression d'être un citoyen comme un autre.»

    Source : Fabrice Rousselot, Libération, 21.10.2004,






Le vote électronique laisse sceptique

Installées après la farce des bulletins mal troués,

ces machines ont déjà des problèmes.


Depuis le fiasco d'il y a quatre ans, la plupart des Etats ont revu leurs procédures de vote, rendues très complexes par la multiplicité des scrutins simultanés (présidentiel, législatifs et locaux) qui impliquent l'utilisation de machines. Mais malgré les efforts des uns et des autres, quelque 30 millions de personnes dans 19 Etats voteront encore avec des cartes perforées ce 2 novembre. Seuls 30 % des électeurs auront droit à un système électronique à écran tactile. D'autres, moins nombreux encore, à un scanner optique.

En outre, les premières utilisations de l'électronique n'ont rassuré personne. L'inquiétude a de nouveau gagné la Floride en janvier, lors d'une élection pour le Sénat local. Après une campagne acharnée contre son adversaire démocrate, la républicaine Ellyn Bogdanoff était déclarée vainqueur, avec 12 petites voix d'avance. En accord avec la loi de l'Etat, les officiels ordonnaient aussitôt un recompte des votes, pour vérifier le résultat. Problème: ils réalisaient qu'un «recompte» était impossible puisqu'il n'existait aucune trace des votes électroniques. L'ordinateur ne pouvait que refaire le même calcul.

Le scrutin soulevait pourtant des questions : parmi les 11 000 votes enregistrés par les ordinateurs figuraient 137 bulletins blancs. Les démocrates ont aussitôt demandé pourquoi des électeurs se déplaceraient jusqu'à un bureau de vote pour finalement décider de ne pas voter. Et suggéré que les ordinateurs avaient peut-être mal fonctionné, ne comptant pas certains votes. Au final, et sans possibilité de vérifier quoi que ce soit, la victoire d'Ellyn Bogdanoff a été confirmée.

Tout le monde s'accorde pourtant sur le fait que le vote par ordinateur offre plusieurs avantages. Une même personne ne peut plus déposer plusieurs bulletins dans l'urne ou voter plusieurs fois, question soulevée en 2000 en Floride. Reste que les experts reconnaissent la possibilité de voir certains ordinateurs «piratés» lors du décompte. Il y a quelques semaines, la société Diebold, qui fabrique la plupart de ces machines, a même été accusée d'avoir altéré le logiciel de ses machines pour favoriser Bush, après que son PDG, Wally O'Dell, gros contributeur des campagnes républicaines, a reconnu son soutien à Bush. O'Dell a jugé ces accusations «ridicules».

    Fabrice Rousselot, Libération, 21.10.2004,






Le "sionisme chrétien"

inspire certains bataillons électoraux de M. Bush


Brandissant les récits bibliques et les mythes fondateurs de l'Amérique, un grand nombre d'organisations évangéliques proches du président, convaincues que le Messie reviendra en Terre promise après avoir rassemblé le peuple juif, soutiennent l'établissement d'un "Grand Israël".

Les survivants de l'Apocalypse sont le feuilleton que dévore l'Amérique évangélique. Depuis 1995, onze volumes s'arrachent en librairie (60 millions d'exemplaires vendus). Le dernier en date, en 2003, s'intitule Armageddon. Ce best-seller est l'œuvre du pasteur Tim La Haye, l'un des ténors de la droite religieuse et sioniste américaine, formé à l'université fondamentaliste Bob Jones.

Le récit commence avec la disparition subite d'une centaine de passagers lors d'un vol entre Chicago et Londres. C'est l'illustration hollywoodienne de l'Enlèvement, l'épisode cher aux chrétiens fondamentalistes, pour qui une minorité d'entre eux pourront monter au Ciel sans avoir à subir la Tribulation de sept ans promise avant le retour du Christ.

Le récit biblique de l'Apocalypse prophétise "mille années de captivité pour Satan, suivies de mille années de règne terrestre du Christ"(ch. 20). Ce nouvel avènement du Messie - le Millenium- obsède les milieux protestants "prémillénaristes". Pour eux, le retour du Christ est promis à tous les hommes, en premier lieu au peuple juif, élu de Dieu depuis Abraham et Moïse. Le peuple juif n'a pas reconnu le Christ lors de sa première venue, il y a 2 000 ans, mais la promesse de Dieu à son égard n'est pas caduque.

Ce thème du "rétablissement d'Israël" est l'un des plus constants dans les bastions protestants du Sud conservateur. On en parle comme d'un "sionisme chrétien", un mot qui a fait, dès 1992, la "une" du célèbre Christianity Today, magazine évangélique distribué à des millions d'exemplaires. Il représente un lobby pro-israélien très puissant. Compte tenu de la démographie - 70 millions de chrétiens born-again (nés de nouveau), convertis ou revenus à la foi, comme George Bush -, les lobbies sionistes chrétiens sont cinq fois plus nombreux que la communauté juive.

Ce "sionisme chrétien" puise dans les récits bibliques comme dans les mythes fondateurs de l'Amérique. Lorsqu'ils fuient l'Angleterre des Stuart, les "Puritains" étaient déjà nourris des récits de la Genèse et des Psaumes. Persécutés par la monarchie, comme le peuple hébreu l'avait été par Pharaon, ils émigrent en Amérique comme en "Terre promise". Ils sont le nouveau peuple élu. Leur conquête sur les tribus indiennes est identifiée à celle du peuple d'Israël contre les Cananéens, les Jébuséens, les Philistins.

Les bâtisseurs du Nouveau Monde font ainsi de l'antique nation d'Israël un guide et un modèle. Dieu leur a confié la mission de régénérer le monde et d'y préparer l'avènement du retour du Christ, d'y créer la fameuse "Cité sur la colline" qui inspira les Pères fondateurs. Dans cette "Nouvelle Jérusalem" (Washington) doit régner l'ordre divin.

Ce "sionisme chrétien" est donc l'héritier du messianisme américain, mais aussi du retour en force, après la création de l'Etat d'Israël, en 1948, de la théorie "dispensationnaliste" du fameux prédicateur John Darby (1800-1882). Selon lui, l'histoire de la relation entre Dieu et les hommes est marquée par des "dispensations" successives, dont la dernière sera "le temps du Royaume du Christ". L'actuelle dispensation - "le temps de l'Eglise" - n'achève pas la trajectoire divine et n'enlève rien à la "promesse" faite par Dieu à Israël.

Pour les "sionistes chrétiens", le doute n'est donc pas permis : c'est en Israël que le Messie reviendra après avoir rassemblé le peuple juif. C'est en Israël qu'aura lieu la bataille finale, annoncée dans l'Apocalypse, entre Dieu et les forces du Mal sur la plaine de l'Armageddon, qui a donné lieu à tant de livres et de films. Le Messie ne reviendra pas avant que les juifs ne soient tous de retour en Israël. Ils se convertiront au christianisme, sous peine de périr dans un holocauste lors de l'Armageddon.

Cette synthèse entre le mythe fondateur américain et une lecture millénariste des prophéties de la Bible a une traduction politique évidente. Dès 1977, quand le Likoud de Begin arrive au pouvoir, des liens se nouent entre les juifs ultraorthodoxes (aux Etats-Unis et en Israël) et les évangéliques américains. Jerry Falwell, chef de la Majorité morale, est l'objet de toutes les faveurs en Israël.

Pour accélérer le retour de Jésus, des évangéliques américains fondent même, en 1980, l'Ambassade chrétienne internationale à Jérusalem. Ils soutiennent l'émigration des juifs russes en Israël, financent des colonies en Cisjordanie et à Gaza, font un travail de lobbying intense au Congrès en faveur d'Israël. En 2002, le journal Haaretz déplore cette "sainte alliance"des évangéliques et des extrémistes israéliens, nuisible à la paix.

En 1998, pour le 50e anniversaire de la création de l'Etat d'Israël, Benyamin Nétanyahou, alors premier ministre, déclare à Orlando (Floride), devant une assemblée de Voices United for Israël (Voix unies en faveur d'Israël), réseau de 200 organisations évangéliques pro-israéliennes : "Nous n'avons pas de meilleurs amis et alliés que les gens assis dans cette salle."

Un nombre impressionnant d'organisations évangéliques soutiennent encore aujourd'hui la politique d'Ariel Sharon, "cet homme de paix", comme l'a qualifié George Bush en 2002. Citons Restoration Foundation (Fondation Restauration), Christian Friends for Israeli Communities (Amis chrétiens des communautés israéliennes), etc. Au début des années 2000, près de 30 millions de protestants américains se disaient convaincus que la politique d'Ariel Sharon et les revendications en faveur du Grand Israël reposent "sur une légitimité divine fondée dans les prophéties bibliques".

Certes, les évangéliques ne sont pas unanimes. Ils n'ignorent pas la souffrance des chrétiens arabes. Mais si une personnalité comme le pasteur Billy Graham ne s'aventure guère sur ce terrain, d'autres vedettes de la droite religieuse le font pour lui : Jerry Falwell qui, après le 11-Septembre, avait traité le prophète Mahomet de "terroriste", Pat Robertson, pour qui l'islam est "l'Antéchrist", Tim la Haye, qui a ses entrées à la Maison Blanche, ou le propre fils du "vieux Billy", Franck Graham, devant qui George Bush avait prêté serment sur la Bible, en janvier 2001, et qui sera encore là en cas de réélection le 2 novembre.

Henri Tincq, Le Monde, 20.10.2004,





Qu'est-ce qu'une primaire ?

Organisée dans une quarantaine d'Etats, la primaire constitue le mode de sélection des délégués des deux partis aux conventions nationales. Celle du Parti démocrate aura lieu le 26 juillet, la républicaine le 30 août. Premières primaires: le 27 janvier dans le New Hampshire.


19 janvier 2004

Début de la campagne présidentielle, avec le caucus de l'Iowa. Ce système, en vigueur dans une douzaine d'Etats, consiste en la réunion d'un comité électoral des militants du parti pour choisir des délégués qui votent pour désigner leur candidat à la présidence.


L'élection du Président

Le président américain n'est pas élu au suffrage universel direct. Il est désigné par un collège de 538 grands électeurs élus dans chacun des 50 Etats de l'Union et la capitale fédérale, chaque état ayant un nombre d'électeurs en fonction de sa population.


Match Bush-Gore en 2000

En 2000, le démocrate Gore a obtenu 50 158 094 voix et le républicain Bush 49 820 518 voix, soit 337 576 suffrages d'avance (0,33 %) pour Gore. Mais grâce à une avance de 537 voix en Floride, Bush s'est vu adjuger les 25 «grands électeurs» de cet Etat. Il a conquis la Maison Blanche en ayant obtenu 271 «grands électeurs», la majorité du collège électoral.

    Présidentielle. A savoir, Libération, 2.1.2004, http://www.liberation.com/page.php?Article=168732



    Précision sur les primaires :

    "Les primaires désignent un peu plus de 4 000 délégués qui choisiront le candidat démocrate à la présidentielle au cours d'une convention à Boston fin juillet."

    A Savoir, Libération, 12.2.2004,






Trois questions à Arthur Sanders


Professeur de sciences politiques à l'université Drake, à Des Moines,
pouvez-vous nous expliquer l'importance des "caucus" de l'Iowa ?


C'est un événement médiatique. L'enjeu, pour les candidats, est d'obtenir un résultat qui leur vaudra de bons articles dans la presse et une bonne couverture à la télévision.

L'importance de ces caucus est variable d'une élection à l'autre. Chez les démocrates, George McGovern, en 1972, et Jimmy Carter, en 1976, étaient des inconnus, qui ont lancé leur candidature dans l'Iowa. En 2000, la façon dont Al Gore a écrasé Bill Bradley, dans les caucus, a mis fin, virtuellement, à la candidature de ce dernier. A l'inverse, chez les républicains, en 2000, c'est en évitant l'Iowa et en se concentrant sur la primaire du New Hampshire, la semaine suivante, que John McCain a pu émerger comme un rival crédible face à George Bush. C'est la stratégie adoptée par Wesley Clark, cette année, chez les démocrates, face à Howard Dean.


Le rôle des électeurs de l'Iowa n'est-il pas démesuré
et n'introduit-il pas un biais dans le processus de sélection des candidats ?


A partir du moment où l'on a un processus séquentiel, il y a forcément un biais. Il faut bien commencer quelque part ! Si ce n'était pas dans l'Iowa nordiste et plutôt rural, ce serait dans un Etat plus industriel ou urbain, ou un Etat du Sud, etc. Et si l'on votait dans tous les Etats à la fois, cela créerait un biais financier, avantageant les candidats les plus richement dotés. Le système de l'Iowa amène les candidats à se frotter à des électeurs actifs qui n'en sont pas moins de vrais électeurs de base. C'est un bon test de leur programme et de leur capacité à communiquer avec des citoyens ordinaires. (...)

    Le Monde, 21.1.2004,






Le caucus,

avatar d'une réunion

de tribu indienne

Ames (Iowa)

de notre envoyé spécial


"La commissaire aux élections du comté est républicaine. Alors, évidemment, elle ne nous aide pas", explique Arthur, un retraité bougon qui tient le registre des électeurs inscrits dans ce quartier d'Ames, petite ville universitaire. En fait, tout se passe bien dans cette école primaire, où les électeurs sont invités à participer au caucus du Parti démocrate. Les listes sont à jour, mais de nouveaux venus peuvent s'inscrire sur place, de même qu'un républicain qui veut participer au vote peut le faire à condition de changer d'affiliation.

Le mot caucus est, paraît-il, un héritage des Algonquins, chez lesquels il aurait désigné des réunions de chefs de tribu. Lundi 19 janvier, malgré une température de - 25°, 366 personnes remplissent la grande salle de l'école. Le troisième âge est arrivé d'abord, mais la moyenne a baissé ensuite. Il y a même quelques dizaines de jeunes, qui auront 18 ans au moment du scrutin présidentiel, en novembre.

A 7 heures, la présidente provisoire, institutrice à la retraite, frappe la table de son marteau réglementaire. "J'ai à vous lire une lettre du président du Parti démocrate de l'Iowa...", commence-t-elle avec mauvaise grâce. La non-lecture de la lettre est décidée à l'unanimité. Le moment est venu de se grouper par affinités. Les "Kerry" vont dans la salle de peinture, les "Dean" dans celle de musique. Les "Edwards" restent dans la grande. Combien y a-t-il de "Gephardt" ? Cinq, on évite presque de les regarder. Les "Kucinich" sont plus nombreux, mais n'atteignent pas la barre au-dessous de laquelle on ne peut pas envoyer de délégué, dans un mois, à la convention du comté.

A 8 heures, tout s'arrête. La présidente tape les chiffres sur le clavier de son téléphone portable.

    Patrick Jarreau, Le Monde, 21.1.2004,






Pork barrel politics


As the United States enters an election year, Alistair Cooke describes how Congressmen will be trying to secure re-appointment in this Letter From America first broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on Friday, 26 December, 2003.


"The moment the New Year comes in," a veteran Congressman remarked on the fateful eve, "There'll be a knock on the door and a constituent bringing greetings and saying - Where's the pork?"

He'll say it with a wink and or a dig in the ribs but he'll mean it just the same. I don't know when I first heard that sentence or something much like it.

The commonest version was of a United States Senator visiting his home town and shaking hands all around and telling each constituent the wonderful bills he'd helped to pass or where he stood on North Korea or the Middle East.

And the old geezer sitting on the courthouse steps says: "That's just fine, but what 'ya done for me lately?"

It's the same question which this weekend will be being asked all around the country, because it's the dawn of an election year.

It will be asked less of most senators, who are in there for six years and can take their time in fulfilling their election promises.

But the House is a new House of Representatives every two years - so the question is asked more insistently of Congressmen and women, all 100 of whom face election or re-election in November: "Where is the pork?"

The second year, last year, of their term is the delivery year, the first year you might say is when they take the order.

The dictionary gives an accurate but prim definition of "pork barrel" - "appropriations secured by Congressmen for local projects."

That's about as enlightening as defining a dictatorship as a "system of government whereby one man is in control of the main branches".

You can get to the true juicy taste of the "pork" in the American political sense if you know the origin of the term. And there seems no doubt it derives from a benevolent practice common in the South in the years before the civil war.

Slave owners on special occasions, or whenever they were feeling particularly charitable (some did it regularly in the binding spirit of noblesse oblige - a code the best owners lived by), would put out salt pork in big barrels at a certain time on an announced day.

And like the Oklahoma settlers waiting for the firing of a gun to rush and seize a claim of land, the slaves would rush to the barrels and grab what they could.

It's a very fair, if rather melodramatised, image of the scene, in the House especially, at the very end of Congress - the second year of everybody's term.

The last bill the dying Congress passed in December was a so-called Omnibus bill, authorizing the spending of $23bn - more than the supplementary bill passed for the reconstruction of Iraq.

And what was more demanding, more urgent to more Congressmen than Iraq?

The answer is 7,000 other projects, local projects that some Congressmen had sworn to have funded - from $150,000 to improve the red and green stop signs in a small New York town to a $50m request by a Midwestern Senator to have an indoor rainforest built in his constituency as a tourist attraction.

In all 7,000 items, requests and allocations. You'll guess from the figure that these grabbings of pork for the locals are not allotted to states or counties but to single constituencies.

So, few requests are so humble as a piece of pork requested for your local constituency big or small that's been dying, or crying, for a new school swimming pool, a safe bridge for trucks between two villages, a million dollars for a marine museum in Alaska, a mere quarter million to have a Congressman's hometown's lake drained of tadpoles, (that's going to be trouble).

Notice that this $23bn bill was an authorization bill. It's what the House would like to have for total of these specified projects.

But the bill now has to go to the Senate for approval or rejection of, or indignation over, any particular item.

In the end it goes back to the House - but to it's appropriation committee who will decide, as it does with all money bills, who gets how much for what!

As you can imagine, in banging back and forth between different committees, there are only two people whose requests are certain to be granted - the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee - and the man sometimes called the most powerful man in the American government - the Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.

They are bowed down to because, obviously, they alone have a veto power in the direction of requests from lawmakers they don't like. They can refuse to take bills to the floor for a vote.

The Omnibus bill is over 1,800 pages long, and even under the refreshment of the New Year's punch, it's unlikely that all the Senate and all the committees will have read through and weighed the legitimacy of the 7,000 items.

So, many a lulu, lemon or what the 19th century called a "screamer" gets through. I'm sure nobody's going to deny the State of Maine a request in favour of more research on blueberries since it's a useful part of the State's economy.

But I remember how a famous southern Senator tossed into an Omnibus bill at the last moment - to pacify the State's education department - a new school bond issue.

The day after his election, he announced he was withdrawing the bond issue. Frantic supporters came to him. "But Earl," they cried, "You said it was a priority."

"So," he said sweetly, "Ah lied, didn't Ah?"

As the one institutional guarantee that your locality will be taken care of by the United Sates government, the pork barrel is unlikely ever to be abolished.

An old famous Speaker of the House called it: "every man's stake in his own government. "

It has been going since the civil war, and the first mention of the word in the slangy political sense is in the 1870s.

I don't think there's ever been a crusade to abolish the pork barrel and no politician of whatever stripe believes it would help.

As a young Congressman once said to me: "If you can't get some simple thing for the home folks, they won't trusts you, and maybe you won't take any interest in the big issues."

Or, as a long gone famous liberal Senator from Illinois, Paul Douglas, lamented: "As each group wins the battle for a special expenditure, they lose the important war for the general economy.

"They're like drunkards who shout for temperance in the intervals between cocktails."

So why is the second year of a Congressman's term so crucially important?

Because, as that young Congressman I followed through his first term put it: "It takes the first year to see how government works - you're staggered to find that there are seven separate stages before a bill is passed.

"When you've learned, you find that it's time to look for the loophole in which to slip through your piece of pork. At the end, I was desperate - too much wrangling over which piece for what. But at last, I won."

He was re-elected. He got through an appropriation to have a company deliver to his constituents for the first time - sliced bread.

One of the most triumphant examples of sneaking in a slice of pork by stealth was the case of an old-time dance band leader, who in his declining years, came to have a weekend television programme playing the songs of the 1920s, which were the big hits of his early audience.

Towards the end, you can imagine the tearful scene we saw on the tube: the old maestro gently waving his wand and his audience, the aged, nodding tearfully as he conducted " I'll be Loving you Always" - roused by the more rollicking numbers of the 20s, jigging their heads back and forth and lip reading "Yes, We Have No Bananas" and "Does the Spearmint Lose It's Flavour on the Bedpost Overnight?"

Years go by, the maestro dies.

One year, some weary Congressman discovered a $50,000 appropriation for a public statue of the maestro to be built in his hometown. It was an amendment to a national defence bill.

Too late. It had already been passed, and I suppose the maestro is still there, stonily waving his wand against the winds of the prairie.

A postscript to my Christmas letter. Many years ago I did talk about a school or college up the Hudson River which gave a two week course for Santa Clauses, instructing the entrants in such essentials as greeting the child, cleanliness, code of manners towards parents, problems of denial, etc.

This Christmas, in a California town, there appeared a Santa Claus who had been to no school but was being urged to start one of his own.

Finally, it has struck the town's typically Californian - that's to say ethnically mixed population - that a man who can say Merry Xmas in greeting lots of children is talking to people who don't know what he means.

Mr Michael Cox is on hand - a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley, now a travel agent, and in between times a proficient linguist in 11 languages.

As Santa Claus, he uses mainly eight: Punjabi, Hindi, Arabic, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Mandarin - English comes in there from time to time.

But he couldn't do his job without the language spoken by the majority of the population of hospital nurses (same as in New York).

The greeting he gives most often is in the Philippine language Tagalog. So last time, I forgot to say, Maligayang Pasko!

    Allstair Cook's Letter from America, 26.12.2003, 






What is the electoral college?

Established by the constitution, the electoral college meets after the general election and officially elects the president. Its members are chosen by the states, and they are meant to ratify the choice of the plurality of a state's voters.

Almost all the states operate a winner-take-all electoral system, thus giving winners a much larger margin of victory than they would have through the popular vote.

The constitution actually allows electors to cast their vote for any candidates they please, theoretically rendering the whole general election meaningless. Cases of "faithless electors" are rare, however, and there is great pressure on them to represent the choice of the people.

Each state is allocated one electoral vote for each member of the House of Representatives, and one for each of its two senators. The District of Columbia is awarded three electors.


Why not get rid of the electoral college?

The electoral college is condescending - the founding fathers did not entirely trust the people to elect their leader directly - but it also ensures a minimum voice for states with small populations. Without the electoral college, its supporters argue, the sheer volume of voters in California, New York, Texas and Florida would routinely choose the president, swamping the choices of tiny states like Rhode Island. Just seven states have 45% of the country's population.

The system does under-represent larger states: California has just over 12% of the US population, but its 55 electoral votes for 2004 represent only 10.22% of the total. In contrast, the least populated state, Wyoming, has only 0.18% of the population, but its 3 electoral votes (the minimum) represent 0.56% of the total.

Perhaps blaming the electoral college for the 2000 disaster is looking in the wrong direction. Had Florida not single-handedly made the case for international election observers with its shoddy practices, either Al Gore or George Bush could have emerged as the clear winner without the need for a court date.

    US elections, G, 6.1.2004,



















This graphic details the Electoral College vote count

by state for the 2004 presidential election.

Photo by Reuters Graphic.

Deadlocked Bush and Kerry Hit Swing States Hard

Sun Oct 31, 2004 08:55 AM ET.
















The U.S. president

is selected by the Electoral College.

Here is how it works:




TUESDAY, NOV. 2, 2004

Voters in 50 states and the District of Columbia select 538 representatives to the Electoral College, a decentralized body established in the Constitution to apportion presidential votes among the states.

Each state receives electors equal to the number of its representatives in Congress, which is comprised of the 435-member House of Representatives and the 100-member Senate. State representation in the House is based on the state's population, as determined in the Census every 10 years, while each state has two senators. The District of Columbia, which has no voting representation in Congress, gets three electors. All but two states award votes on a winner-take-all basis.




Meeting in their respective state capitals, electors vote for president and vice president, transmitting the results to the federal government.

Most states use the general election to select electors, though there is no federal requirement that they vote in accord with the statewide popular vote.

The Constitution says that electors cannot be federal officials.




The electoral votes are unsealed and read during a joint session of Congress. To win, a candidate must receive a majority, at least 270 of 538 votes, regardless of which candidate won the popular vote nationally.

In the event of a tie, or if neither candidate managed to secure a majority of the electoral vote, the president would be picked by the House of Representatives. Each state would cast one vote, an absolute majority of the states being required to elect.

FACTBOX: How the U.S. Electoral College Works,
R, Sun Oct 31, 2004 09:50 AM ET,










Related > Anglonautes > History


20th, early 21st century > USA > Timeline in pictures




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