11.06.2004

"Social issues are important, but they don't come close to telling the whole story."

This op-ed in the New York Times by David Brooks makes an important point. While, according to many exit polls, moral values played a huge role in the re-election of the President, that wasn't the whole story. Liberals (and their chore-boys in the mainstream media) are attempting to use that fact to label Bush supporters as homophobic small-minded bigots. Mr. Brooks writes:


  • "This theory certainly flatters liberals, and it is certainly wrong.

    Here are the facts. As Andrew Kohut of the Pew Research Center points out, there was no disproportionate surge in the evangelical vote this year. Evangelicals made up the same share of the electorate this year as they did in 2000. There was no increase in the percentage of voters who are pro-life. Sixteen percent of voters said abortions should be illegal in all circumstances. There was no increase in the percentage of voters who say they pray daily....

    Much of the misinterpretation of this election derives from a poorly worded question in the exit polls. When asked about the issue that most influenced their vote, voters were given the option of saying "moral values." But that phrase can mean anything - or nothing. Who doesn't vote on moral values? If you ask an inept question, you get a misleading result.

    The reality is that this was a broad victory for the president. Bush did better this year than he did in 2000 in 45 out of the 50 states. He did better in New York, Connecticut and, amazingly, Massachusetts. That's hardly the Bible Belt.....

    The fact is that if you think we are safer now, you probably voted for Bush. If you think we are less safe, you probably voted for Kerry. That's policy, not fundamentalism. The upsurge in voters was an upsurge of people with conservative policy views, whether they are religious or not....

    What we are seeing is a diverse but stable Republican coalition gradually eclipsing a diverse and stable Democratic coalition. Social issues are important, but they don't come close to telling the whole story. Some of the liberal reaction reminds me of a phrase I came across recently: The rage of the drowning man."

Let me qualify what I wrote yesterday about voting according to your values being more important than voting according to your pocketbook: Neither mean much if you've been blow up by freedom-hating Islamofascists.

(via The Corner)

UPDATE: Mark Steyn has more on this topic, focused on Europe's opinion: "The great European thinkers have decided that instead of doing another four years of lame Bush-is-a-moron cracks they're going to do four years of lame Americans-are-morons cracks." Read the whole thing.