Capital Games: “It’s official: the 2004 campaign is a referendum on whether the United States should wage a crusade to bring liberty to the repressed of the world–particularly in the Middle East–in order to heed the call of God and to protect the United States from terrorists who target America because they despise freedom. Or, at least, that is how George W. Bush would like the contest to be framed.

In his acceptance speech, Bush pushed the message of the week–it’s the war, stupid–to lofty heights. Like the speakers of previous nights, he fully embraced the war in Iraq. But while John McCain, Rudy Giuliani, Zell Miller, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Laura Bush depicted the war as an action necessary for safeguarding America, Bush also placed it within the context of an even grander mission. ‘America,’ he proclaimed from that altar-like podium, ‘is called to lead the cause of freedom in the new century….Freedom is not America’s gift to the world. It is the Almighty God’s gift.’ (Minutes earlier, New York Governor George Pataki described Bush as the Supreme Being’s gift to the United States: ‘He is one of those men God and fate somehow lead to the fore in times of challenge.’) “


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