Friday, November 12, 2004

The "Moral Values" Canard

With the 2004 presidential election an exit poll was conducted that included the following question:

Which one issue mattered most in considering your vote for president?

A. Education, 4 percent.
B. Taxes, 5 percent.
C. Health Care, 8 percent.
D. Iraq, 15 percent.
E. Terrorism, 19 percent.
F. Economy and Jobs, 20 percent.
G. Moral Values, 22 percent.

Because "moral values' includes so many issues, such as gay marriage, crime, abortion, and even character, it polled slightly higher than the others, which were all more narrowly defined. Group the other issues into broad categories such as "the war" or "domestic issues" and they easily out-polled "moral values."

Nevertheless, another leftist canard was born with that survey, which was the idea that Kerry was defeated by bigoted Christian rednecks. Maureen Dowd in the New York Times said it with the most verve, cursing the Republicans for pandering to "isolationism, nativism, chauvinism, puritanism and religious fanaticism" in their unfailing drive to "summon our nasty devils."

An analysis of the polls conducted after the election contradicts this idea. Bush received no more of the vote in states that had anti-gay marriage proposals on the ballot than he did in 2000, for example, and the moral values issues came up as being no more imporant than usual in other polls. The proportion of the electorate claiming to be fundamentalist Christian did not change, either.

But it can never be that the Democrat's message was simply rejected. It's never that they've gone wrong. The liberal elite must find a way to deligitimize the Republican victory and assuage their moral vanity, and this was going to be the theme this time, much like "Angry White Men" had been the theme in an earlier election.

So it is that, while standing on the smoldering ruins of yet another Democratic defeat, they angrily, absurdly claim moral superiority.