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Cheney’s Record Gives Lie to Bush Campaign’s “Compassionate Conservativism”

On a host of national television news talk shows this week, Republican Vice Presidential hopeful Dick Cheney attempted to justify his Congressional voting record, which proved him to be anti-gun control, anti-abortion rights, anti-education spending, and anti-ERA. Despite the Bush campaign’s effort to highlight Cheney’s “moderate” and Democrat-friendly image, Cheney’s Congressional and federal appointment records show him to be conservative on practically every issue, from economic measures to social policy.

Cheney confidently reiterated his anti-abortion stance, and told interviewers that he voted against the ERA because he feared it would mandate drafting women into the military, and implied that he still holds the same views. His record also shows him to be anti-education spending. For example, he voted against funding for the Head Start program in the 1980s, arguing that a national deficit justified his vote. However, the Head Start program represented a tiny proportion of national spending, and Cheney put budget-balancing concerns aside to vote instead in favor of tax subsidies for oil companies, utilities, railroads and other corporate interests. In 1986 Cheney voted against a resolution that would have pressured South Africa to release Nelson Mandela from prison. Cheney argued that his doubt as to whether economic sanctions would best solve the situation mandated his vote, but congressional records and political science experts counter that sanctions were not even part of the discussions surrounding that resolution. The military spending measures he favored brought military spending to the highest proportion of the economy since World War II.

Sources:

: Washington Post Story 1, Story 2 and New York Times Story 1, Story 2, Story 3, 28 July 2000; and Washington Post 24 July 2000

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