Getting Through to Bush’s Christian Loyalists / Bush Backers Believe Propaganda [Kerry backers don’t believe Kerry Propoganda??]

Getting Through to Bush’s Christian Loyalists

by James Leroy Wilson

Jim Lobe's latest article [its below, don't go breaking my heart] is
quite sobering. Three quarters of Bush’s supporters still believe in
the President’s original reasons for going to war – the WMD’s, the Al
Qaeda connection. This despite the Administration’s well-reported
admissions of error. In addition, many Bush supporters believe that
their own internationalist, multi-lateralist views are Bush’s views.
Conversely, the vast majority of Kerry’s supporters have at least some
clue as to the facts. Kerry’s supporters may not be well-informed on
the Constitution or economics, but at least they’re better informed on
the latest news.

Most of my writing has been done not here, but at the Partial Observer.
There is substantial ideological diversity among its audience and
regular writers. I find that it is hard to communicate libertarian
ideas to a general (not exactly large, but general) audience. A
first-time reader, not knowing what libertarianism is, is often taken

With LRC it’s different. Most readers here get where I’m coming from,
most of the time. And in any case, 80% of the time we have the same
anti–federal government agenda. So with "Conservatives for Bush" I
expected some letters from Bush voters because they still saw abortion
and the Supreme Court as too important. And I knew that "Two Third
Parties" would draw some criticism by Constitution Party supporters and
closed borders people. But in these cases, the readers for the most
part understood what I said and disagreed with it.

That’s different from, not understanding what I wrote at all.

I write an article against the draft, and one letter begins "You
liberals." I lay out Bush’s betrayals of conservatives as a reason for
his coming defeat, and one response is that the reason leftists
(including, apparently, me) hate Bush is because they hate

I think I have been missing something.

One topic I have often brought up, only to dismiss, is the "Culture
Wars." I have believed they are manufactured differences – distractions
– designed to promote loyalty to the two-party system. As the gulags
are being built, clergy and activists debate gay marriage. As the
Yankee jackboot continues to stomp on the Arab face for no particular
reason, and as the deficits soar, the real issues are Janet Jackson’s
cleavage and whether or not the Stars and Stripes wave "under God." But
where the Culture Wars may be phony, I think there is indeed a cultural

Maybe I was naïve, or maybe I didn’t think about it all that much. I
don’t know how else to say it, most people are simple-minded. And I
don’t mean simpletons. Only that they have faith in what they’ve been
told by the authorities they were taught to trust. When Bush said in a
primary debate in 2000 that his favorite philosopher was Jesus Christ
because "he changed my heart," that was enough. Clinton bad, Bush good.
And especially after 9-11. 9-11 was Clinton’s fault; Bush is resolute.

There are, of course, many thoughtful Christian conservatives who see
through this. Yes, Bush may be a sincere Christian. That doesn’t mean
he’s a good President. But there are substantial numbers who have
placed their faith in the President. It is as if he has become the face
of the evangelical community, that he is "our guy" and much better than
the Democrats who want to destroy families and impose communism.

Will such people read James Bovard’s The Bush Betrayal? Of course not;
why would they read such "liberal rants"?

The case against Bush must come from a Christian, speaking as a
Christian. Jim Babka comes to the rescue here, with a CD "Why
Conservative Christians are Re-evaluating George W. Bush."

Far from calling on Christians to vote Democrat, Babka lays out a
tragic record of lies, hypocrisies, and cowardly acts by the President,
including a sorry record that may most shock Bush’s core constituency
on issues of gay rights, abortion, and religion itself. It is an
excellent resource, primarily because it is spoken with passion and
moral and logical clarity. Listening to the truth is more powerful than
just reading it, and Babka hits it out of the park. Babka is more
persuasive in his case against Bush than most of us can be. Real
conservatives and Christian libertarians should take advantage in these
last days before the election to listen to, learn from, and circulate
Babka’s message.

Many things in our country just continue to get worse and worse. They
get worse under Democrats, they get worse under Republicans. The
loyalty to the President is strong, and appeals to logic and reason
won’t often suffice. Followers of the Bush Cult will not trust
libertarian writers, or the mainstream media that bring tidings of
great sadness. It’s all a conspiracy against morality, decency, and
Christianity. They will need to hear, not read, but hear, the truth
from a fellow Christian. I don’t know if there’s any other way.

October 23, 2004

James Leroy Wilson [send him mail] lives and works in Chicago and is a
columnist for the Partial Observer. He also has a new blog,
"Independent Country."
Copyright © 2004


Bush Backers Believe Propaganda [Kerry backers don’t??]

by Jim Lobe
Three out of four self-described supporters of President George W. Bush
still believe pre-war Iraq had weapons of mass destruction (WMD) or
active programs to produce them, and that Iraqi President Saddam
Hussein gave "substantial support" to al-Qaeda terrorists, according to
a survey released Thursday.

Moreover, as many or more Bush supporters hold those beliefs today
than they did several months ago, before the publication of a series of
well-publicized official government reports that debunked both notions.

Those are among the most striking findings of the survey, which was
conducted in mid-October by the University of Maryland's Program on
International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) and Knowledge Networks, a
California-based polling firm.

The survey, which polled the views of nearly 900 randomly chosen
respondents equally divided between Bush supporters and those intending
to vote for Democratic Senator John Kerry in November's presidential
election, found a yawning gap in the worldviews, particularly as
regards pre-war Iraq, between the two groups.

"It is normal during elections for supporters of presidential
candidates to have fundamental disagreements about values or
strategies," said an analysis produced by PIPA.

But "the current election is unique in that Bush supporters and Kerry
supporters have profoundly different perceptions of reality. In the
face of a stream of high-level assessments about prewar Iraq, Bush
supporters cling to the refuted beliefs that Iraq had WMD or supported

Indeed, the only issue on which the survey found broad agreement
between the two sets of voters was on the question of whether the
administration itself actively propagated the misconceptions about
Iraq's WMD and connections to al-Qaeda.

"One of the reasons that Bush supporters have these [erroneous]
beliefs is that they perceive the Bush administration confirming them,"
noted PIPA Director Steven Kull. "Interestingly, this is one point on
which Bush and Kerry supporters agree."

The survey also found a major gap between Bush's stated positions on a
number of international issues and what his supporters believe that
position to be. A strong majority of Bush backers believe, for example,
that the president supports a range of global treaties and
institutions, which he is actually on record as opposing.

On pre-war Iraq, the survey asked each respondent questions about WMD
and links to al-Qaeda on three levels: 1) what the respondents
themselves believed about the two issues; 2) what they believed "most
experts" had concluded about them; and 3) what they believed the Bush
administration was saying about them.

The survey found 72 percent of Bush supporters believe either that
Iraq had actual WMD (47 percent) or a major program for making them (25
percent), despite the widespread media coverage in early October of the
Central Intelligence Agency (CIA's) Duelfer Report, the final word on
the subject by the $1 billion, 15-month investigation by the Iraq
Survey Group.

It concluded Hussein had dismantled all of his WMD programs shortly
after the 1991 Gulf War and had never tried to reconstitute them.

Nonetheless, 56 percent of Bush supporters said they thought most
experts currently believe Iraq had actual WMD, and 57 percent said they
thought the Duelfer Report had concluded that Iraq either had WMD (19
percent) or a major WMD program (38 percent).

Only 26 percent of Kerry supporters, by contrast, said they believed
that pre-war Iraq had either actual WMD or a WMD program, and only 18
percent said they believed "most experts" agreed with those two

Similar results were found with respect to Hussein's alleged support
for al-Qaeda, a theory that has been most persistently asserted by Vice
President Dick Cheney, but that was thoroughly debunked by the final
report of the bipartisan 9/11 Commission earlier this summer.

Seventy-five percent of Bush supporters said they believed Iraq was
providing "substantial" support to al-Qaeda, with 20 percent asserting
Baghdad was directly involved in the 9/11 attacks on New York and the

Sixty-three percent of Bush supporters even believed that clear
evidence of such support has been found, and 60 percent believed "most
experts" have reached the same conclusion.

By contrast, only 30 percent of Kerry supporters said they believe
such a link existed and that most experts agree.

But large majorities of both Bush and Kerry supporters agree that the
administration is saying Iraq had WMD and was providing substantial
support to al-Qaeda. In regard to WMD, those majorities have actually
grown since last summer, according to PIPA.

Remarkably, asked whether the United States should have gone to war
with Iraq if U.S. intelligence had concluded Baghdad did not have a WMD
program and was not supporting al-Qaeda, 58 percent of Bush supporters
said no, and 61 percent said they assumed the president would also not
have gone to war under those circumstances.

"To support the president and to accept that he took the U.S. to war
based on mistaken assumptions," said Kull, "likely creates substantial
cognitive dissonance and leads Bush supporters to suppress awareness of
unsettling information about prewar Iraq."

Kull added that this "cognitive dissonance" could also help explain
other remarkable findings in the survey, particularly with respect to
Bush supporters' misperceptions about the president's own positions.

In particular, majorities of Bush supporters incorrectly assumed he
supports multilateral approaches to various international issues,
including the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) (69
percent), the land mine treaty (72 percent), and the Kyoto Protocol to
curb greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming (51

In all of these cases, majorities of Bush supporters said they favored
the positions that they imputed, incorrectly, to the president.

Large majorities of Kerry supporters, on the other hand, showed they
knew both their candidate's and Bush's positions on the same issues.

Bush supporters were also found to hold misperceptions regarding
international support for the president and his policies.

Despite a steady flow over the past year of official statements by
foreign governments and public-opinion polls showing strong opposition
to the Iraq war, less than one-third of Bush supporters believed that
most people in foreign countries opposed Washington having gone to war.

Two-thirds said they believed foreign views were either evenly divided
on the war (42 percent) or that the majority of foreigners actually
favored the war (26 percent).

Three of every four Kerry supporters, on the other hand, said they
understood that most of the rest of the world opposed the war.

Kull, who has been analyzing U.S. public opinion on foreign-policy
issues for two decades, said misperceptions of Bush supporters showed,
if anything, the hold the president has over his loyalists.

"The roots of the Bush supporters' resistance to information very
likely lie in the traumatic experience of 9/11 and equally into the
near pitch-perfect leadership that President Bush showed in its
immediate wake," he said.

"This appears to have created a powerful bond between Bush and his
supporters – and an idealized image of the president that makes it
difficult for his supporters to imagine that he could have made
incorrect judgment before the war, that world public opinion would be
critical of his policies or that the president could hold
foreign-policy positions that are at odds with his supporters."
October 22, 2004
Jim Lobe is Inter Press Service's correspondent in Washington, DC.
Copyright © 2004 Inter Press Service

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