Abstract

Many pundits assumed that an allegiance to "moral values" associated with social issues such as same-sex marriage enabled George W. Bush to narrowly defeat John F. Kerry in the 2004 presidential election campaign. In this essay, I argue that both candidates produced surprisingly little explicit discourse on the moral issues in and of themselves, but rather, in distinct ways, relied upon the moral framing of the "war on terrorism" and the situation in Iraq as a battle between "good and evil" in their day-to-day political discourse. I argue that Bush employed this rhetorical frame to politically and morally cloak the war in Iraq under a larger war on terror and, in this way, produced a hegemonic expression, test, and affirmation of conservative morality. Although John Kerry successfully questioned the validity of Bush's policy framing of the Iraq war as part of the war on terror, he continued to reason within the orthodox moral frame created by Bush in the wake of September 11, 2001. Consequently, Kerry did not critique the conservative moral foundations upon which Bush's policy frame rested nor did he affix an alternative liberal moral worldview to his own discourse on Iraq.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1534-5238
Print ISSN
1094-8392
Pages
pp. 549-569
Launched on MUSE
2006-03-30
Open Access
No
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