THE Christian right has sought to portray the president's re-election as a victory for their moral agenda, claiming that it was a mandate to legislate further curbs on abortion and to approve draconian Supreme Court nominees.
In fact, the president's victory was about terrorism, terrorism and terrorism. It was his steady hand in Iraq and his commitment to battle the "axis of evil" that won him a second term.
The only basis for the assertions tying President Bush's win to his embrace of their social agenda is exit-polling data indicating that 22 percent of the voters cited "moral" issues as the basis for their vote. But to tie their comments to abortion, which was not an issue, rather than to gay marriage, which was a huge issue, is a misinterpretation of the information.
The election had nothing to do with abortion. To the extent that moral issues played a part, it was the left's overreaching on the gay-marriage issue that kindled a massive rebuttal from the right and the center.
The true moral message of this election was not to use the judicial or the legislative process to enact a moral agenda — left or right — which is out of step with the national consensus. Those voters who opposed a Massachusetts judge and a San Francisco mayor ratifying gay marriage are also likely to oppose a president and a Senate trying to jam doctrinaire pro-life justices down our national throat.
Bush is also wisely interpreting his re-election as a mandate to win in Iraq and to increase pressure on North Korea and Iran. He is doing well in using his mandate to reshuffle the intelligence community — and should not take a military or a congressional "no" for an answer.