Here is a summary of George W. Bush’s public positions on issues.
On reproductive rights: Opposes abortion except in the case of rape or incest or to save the life of the mother. Believes parents should be notified before minors may obtain an abortion or contraceptives. Opposes laws aimed at protecting women and doctors from violence at clinics.
Supports a gag rule that prohibits health care providers from discussing abortion as an option for pregnant women. Supports efforts to increase adoptions, including a $5,000 adoption tax credit. Believes abstinence-only education is the answer to unintended teen pregnancies and would more than double federal spending on abstinence education, to more than $135 million annually.
On Faith-Based Initiatives: Would expand “Charitable Choice” to all federal social service programs, allowing religious organizations to be eligible for funding on the same basis as any other provider, without impairing their religious character. He would also establish an “Office of Faith-Based Action” in the Executive Office of the President and provide federal matching funds for the establishment of state offices of faith-based action. He would also promote alternative licensing regimes that recognize religious training as an alternative form of qualification for delivery of non-medical social services.
On Education: Believes that failing schools should be given a deadline by which to improve. If the schools fail to meet the deadline, Bush believes federal money could be diverted from the schools and given directly to low-income parents to pay for private schools, tutoring help or some other education option.
Believes that schools must have measurable goals and students should be tested to determine whether they are measuring up. Does not believe the federal government should write those standardized tests, however, because that then the federal government would virtually be dictating curriculum to local schools. Would commit $1 billion to math and science education, $3 billion for technology and $5 billion to ensure every third grader can read.
Wants to triple spending on character education and expand the role of religious and community groups in after-school activities. Opposes affirmative action quotas, but supports “affirmative access” such as a Texas plan that guarantees the top 10 percent of high school grads will be admitted to any state college or university.
On Health Care: Promises to make health insurance affordable through a graduated tax credit that would pay up to $2,000 per family for low-income people who must purchase their own health insurance. Would allow small businesses to band together to lower the cost of providing health insurance for their employees.
On Medicare: Believes seniors should have more choices, including the option of choosing a plan that would offer prescription drug coverage; that the government pick up the Medicare costs for low-income seniors and that seniors have a choice among medical insurance plans.
On Social Security: Promises no changes for current retirees or those nearing retirement. Believes there is no need to raise Social Security taxes. Instead, would change current Social Security system permitting individuals to direct the investment of their payroll taxes.
On Crime: Opposes mandated gun registration. Would raise the minimum age for handgun possession from 18 to 21. Supports the ban on assault weapons and would ban juveniles from possessing semi-automatic assault weapons. Although his web site is mute on the subject of the death penalty, Bush has resisted calls to impose a moratorium on executions in Texas.
On Defense: Promises to spend $1 billion to increase military pay, or about $750 per active duty service member. Would upgrade housing and military training. Would increase spending on defense research and development by at least $20 billion over four years. Believes a new generation of weapons is needed to ensure the military of the future “well-defined objectives”
On Foreign Policy: Believes U.S. troops should never be placed under United Nations command. Would pay dues to the UN only if its bureaucracy is reformed and America’s proportionate share of costs is reduced. Believes there is a need for greater accountability at the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. Believes China should be considered a competitor rather than a strategic partner. Opposes further International Monetary Fund loans to Russia. Believes trade and investment in India should be increased. Supports continuing economic and trade sanctions against Cuba. Would promote economic development in the Balkans. Would move the United States Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem immediately upon taking office.
Cindy Richards is a Chicago-based free-lance writer. She previously was a reporter for the Chicago Tribune and a reporter, columnist and editorial writer for the Chicago Sun-Times.