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Tom Schaller nailed this one.  Take a look at David Brooks' spin on who delivered the Bush victory:

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/11/06/opinion/06brooks.html?hp
The Values-Vote Myth
By DAVID BROOKS

Every election year, we in the commentariat come up with a story line to explain the result, and the story line has to have two features. First, it has to be completely wrong. Second, it has to reassure liberals that they are morally superior to the people who just defeated them.

In past years, the story line has involved Angry White Males, or Willie Horton-bashing racists. This year, the official story is that throngs of homophobic, Red America values-voters surged to the polls to put George Bush over the top.

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

(more)

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.

It's true that Bush did get a few more evangelicals to vote Republican, but Kohut, whose final poll nailed the election result dead-on, reminds us that public opinion on gay issues over all has been moving leftward over the years. Majorities oppose gay marriage, but in the exit polls Tuesday, 25 percent of the voters supported gay marriage and 35 percent of voters supported civil unions. There is a big middle on gay rights issues, as there is on most social issues.

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. Bush, on the other hand, did not gain significantly in the 11 states with gay marriage referendums.

"A broad victory for the president".  Yep, they're not happy with the wingnut evangelicals getting the credit.  Sounds like we have a winner, folks.  Divide and conquer...

Originally posted to Jonathan on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 10:59 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Perhaps we need to encourage this... (none)
    This didn't take long to get under Brooks' skin.  A little encouragement should help to enhance the divisions and slow down any adoption of a wingnut conservative agenda.

    Either that, or two years from now, we get to invite the non-evangelicals to come join us.

    Visit the Diary of the Lying Socialist Weasels, for commentary from the Original Progressive Web Warriors!

    by Jonathan on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 10:58:53 PM PST

    •  I'm thinking that we should encourage (4.00)
      the evengelicals to ask for their due.  Liberals get blamed for a batch of crap that we could care less about.  One example being women prostituting themselves on Fox TV reality shows.  Let the broadcast TV be squeaky clean.  I'm getting damn tired of viagra and cialis ads myself.  Don't really want to have to explain to the kids why you would want to use them, and the idea of old people needing drugs to get it up so they can screw is more than even this 46 year old wants to think about while I'm watching a football game.  Not to mention erections that last more than 4 hours.

      I know I'm starting to think like Nader, but some of the asinine things the evangelicals want, like no birth control, could turn this country blue.  And why should we give our hard earned tax dollars to tv preachers in the name of the faith-based initiative?  Let's encourage Christians to ask for that, giving Jerry Falwell tax money is bound to scare up some mighty nice scandals.  And the businessmen that actually run the republican party don't want this crap any more than we do, and we should get them to be obvious about it.

      I got an all-rethug congressional delegation here in central pensylvania, so I think I'm going to start writing letters and encouraging my fellow evangelicals to do the same.

      •  i'm doing the same thing. (none)
        my wingnutter senators are coburn and inhofe. truly, i am blessed!

        i want laws against adultery, divorce, harry potter books, condoms, plagues of locusts and rampant homosexuality. church should be state funded. that's a start.

        No member of our generation who wasn't a Communist or a dropout in the thirties is worth a damn. Lyndon B. Johnson

        by maskling11 on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 11:24:24 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I really like this (none)
        I smell wedge issues and ballot initiatives.  Let's make the moderates explicitly disavow the nutcases.  Let's make Bush either come out explicitly in favor of or against the evangelicals' most dearly-held dreams.

        Nothing like making them fight amongst themselves to get the ball rolling for 2006, and stymie more radical change.

        Visit the Diary of the Lying Socialist Weasels, for commentary from the Original Progressive Web Warriors!

        by Jonathan on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 11:36:38 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Sure, not a bad idea (none)
        What this column tells me is that the media storyline is currently "hard right Christian conservatives reelected Bush" and this worries others who voted for Bush and threatens his whole "I have the will of all [51% of] the people" thing.

        In other words, the more we all talk about far-right evangelicals, the more other elements in the Republican party and Bush voters in general get freaked out, and the more the far-right thinks it gets to push its own agenda.  So keep talking.  Brooks is trying to defuse that by pretending a whole broad coalition wanted Bush's agenda (the one he never told us about).  Don't let him.

        We must cultivate our garden.

        by daria g on Sat Nov 06, 2004 at 12:52:06 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Absolutely Agree (none)
      So we've got fundamentalists and neo-cons arguing about who was the bigger factor - but both of them unite to presume to tell Kerry supporters to "unite with them." So you tell the neo-cons that you don't want to unite with a party of bigots, and you tell the fundamentalists that you'd really rather not hang out with a bunch of warmongers.

      Divide & conquer.

      Disgusted at Bush's "One Finger Victory Salute?" Salute Back!

      by aftk2 on Sat Nov 06, 2004 at 12:33:16 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  You miss the point (none)
      Brooks knows and does not care about why the hard right came out so strongly in support of Bush.

      The point he is trying to make is that MOST OF AMERICA broadly supported Bush.

      In other words, he is trying to say that Bush has a broad mandate, while getting in a few old-school cheap shots at "liberals" and the liberal media.

      That's David Brooks, sophist extraordinaire, who talks a rational game in support of the most radical of agendas.

      We must cultivate our garden.

      by daria g on Sat Nov 06, 2004 at 12:48:31 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I don't think so (none)
        I agree with you that that is one part of Brooks' column -- pushing the "mandate" theme.  But he specifically attacks the idea that Bush owes his re-election to "values" voters.  There's a subtext there that the rest of them don't want evangelicals to rule the roost, and whether he intended it that way or not (I think he did), that's how it will be taken by evangelicals.

        Visit the Diary of the Lying Socialist Weasels, for commentary from the Original Progressive Web Warriors!

        by Jonathan on Sat Nov 06, 2004 at 08:49:11 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Takeover. (none)
    They're in denial about the wingnut takeover of their party. I guess that, so long as your side is winning, you'd rather close your eyes to that.

    But yes, it's definitely a good issue to push.

  •  oh yeah (none)
    Let them go as wingnutty as possible. David brooks will be begging his freinds not to jump to our side in 2006
  •  A broad victory of (none)
    historically low proportion for an incumbent.  The most pathetic, just squeaked by incumbent victory since 1916.  Proper meme:

    As [re]elected incumbents go, Bush has less support than any in almost 90 years.

  •  brooks is actually correct i think (none)
    some of his language was a little snotty, i think he is correct about bush voters.  he completely misses the nature of bush/cheney themselves though.

    my relatives are spread out through oklahoma, texas and alabama.  this slate article hits on an important point i think folks who grew up in brady bunch northeast, shaker heights suburbia (as i did) miss.  

    bush/cheney are not the traditional republican party of eisenhower, ford, mccain, powell, sandra day o'connor, olympia snowe, you name it.  bush/cheney are a radical, revolutionary minority out for their own shallow personal interests at the expense of the rest of the country and the world.  they are only able to manage a (bare) electoral majority through mccarthy-style smear campaigns, jim crow-style vote suppression, and (whether it tipped the election or not it is clearly within the realm of possibility if not probability) vote fraud.

    this is not a dems v. repubs issue.  it is not mondale v. reagan.  do not think in those terms.  it is a gross power play by incompetents and authoritarians who have no natural majority in the u.s. and have hijacked the republican party name.

    http://slate.msn.com/id/2109218/

    •  The brady bunch lived in the valley (none)
      (that would be the San Fernando Valley, not the valley of the dolls, or the valley of the shadow of death, although both might apply here).

      They're my people.

      Card carrying member of the Reality Based Community

      by spot on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 11:30:00 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  i don't think of them as republicans (none)
      either. pick up paul krugman's book "the great unraveling". he has been saying that this outfit is a radical splinter group that does not recognize our system as legitimate. he has been making this point for a couple of years at least.

      while pushing them further right, we need to start calling them out for what they are: radicals. dominionists. they did not hesitate to paint us with that brush during the vietnam era. what the hell are we waiting for?

      No member of our generation who wasn't a Communist or a dropout in the thirties is worth a damn. Lyndon B. Johnson

      by maskling11 on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 11:30:31 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  brooks is speaking to the wrong audience. (none)
    he should be talking to those who are apparently calling the white house to protest the possible departure of ashcroft and the senate to protest the potential ascension of arlen specter to the senate judiciary committee. he might also want to tell richard viguerie and ralph reed they have no claims on the bush administration. i'd like to be the fly on the wall during that conversation.

    We get a lot of advice. We tend to listen when somebody's won something. - Joe Lockhart

    by yankeedoodler on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 11:43:47 PM PST

    •  Yes, I emailed him and told him the exact same (none)
       I agree it is an oversimplification to say that all the people that voted for Bush are evangelicals, he has a coalition as all winning candidates do.  On the other hand, if you are trying to minimize the 'religious right' part of the coalition, I'm sure you would get disagreement not just from me, but from George Bush and Karl Rove as well.  I agree with you that their is not a lot of evidence the 'gay marriage' amendment caused much of a shift in the vote, or an increase in turnout, but it's ridiculous to think they were put on the ballot in the presidential election just to prevent gay marriage.

      As to the insults and claims of superiority.  There is plenty of that to go around on both sides.  on the right just look at the Republican talking points bashing Hollywood, or "liberal North Eastern elitists" as insults, or the crap about 'the great people in the United States live in the Heartland" as the claims of superiority.

      Conversly though, I don't think you will find a lot of liberals bringing up the disgusting vote in Alabama I mentioned above to bash the 'heartland'.  In fact, I'm really not all that familiar with any thing on the left says or does that compares to the bashing of the "liberal North Eastern elitist".

    •  My reply to him is in that post (none)
      Sorry, forgot to add that

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