November 5, 2004


'It's the culture, stupid' (Spengler, 11/04/04, Asia Times)

James Carville, Bill Clinton's consigliere of 1992, kept the words "It's the economy, stupid!" pinned to his office wall. Substitute "culture" for "economy", and the basis of US President George W Bush's re-election victory becomes obvious. Evangelical Christians compose 40% of the American population, and three-quarters of them probably voted for the incumbent. Voter participation for traditional Democratic constituencies changed little, but the number of evangelical voters surged, just as Bush political adviser Karl Rove predicted. From available data it appears plausible that the increase in evangelical voter participation accounted for all of the president's 3.5-million-vote victory margin.

What brought 4 million more evangelical voters to the polling stations than in the previous presidential election? The US evangelical movement is not by nature political. Families join evangelical churches as a refuge against the septic tide of popular culture that threatens to carry away their children. Evangelical concerns center on family issues, child-rearing and personal values rather than national or global politics.

Liberal commentators blame the evangelical turnout on bigotry, noting that 11 states carried ballot referenda against same-sex marriage. The truth in that observation is misleading.

It is true that the Republicans have made evangelical issues into politics, but it is just as true, and far more important, that the evangelicals have made political issues into religious issues. [...]

It is the hard, grinding reality of American life in the liberal dystopia that makes the "moral issues" so important to voters. Partial-birth abortion and same-sex marriage became critical issues not because evangelical voters are bigots. On the contrary, parents become evangelicals precisely in order to draw a line between their families and the adversary culture. This far, and no more, a majority of Americans said on November 2 on the subject of social experimentation.

Unlike the Europeans, whose demoralization has led to depopulation, Americans still are fighting against the forces of decay that threaten - but do not yet ensure - the ultimate fall of American power. That is the message of November 2. The central truth that shapes all our relations with the world and the politics within the nation is that we are the only nation resisting the decline.

It's the values, stupid (Melanie Phillips, 5 November 2004, Daily Mail)

With the re-election of President George W Bush, the United States has shown that — as a contemporary book has famously claimed — America really is from Mars, while Britain and Europe are from Venus.

Both the election result and the reaction to it here suggest that America inhabits a completely different political universe from Britain. In America, President Bush won in large measure because he championed moral virtue. In Britain, by contrast, politicians believe that morality is the political kiss of death.

In America, a politician has won because he correctly identified and championed the values of the mainstream. In Britain, the mainstream feel instead utterly disenfranchised and have lost trust in an entire political class which refuses to represent their concerns.

In America, a President has been elected because he opposes gay marriage and upholds Christian morality. In the European Union, a commissioner was forced out because he thought homosexuality was a sin and was thus pilloried for representing Christian morality.

The scale of the Republican victory — and the Democrat collapse — is formidable. Not only did Mr Bush secure the biggest popular vote of any American president, but the Republicans also crushed the Democrats in Congress, with even the Democrat Senate leader Tom Daschle booted out of his seat in South Dakota.

The overwhelming reason for this was the moral clarity of Mr Bush’s message. He stood for a set of principles which were consistent, to which he had stuck despite ridicule from the ultra-sophisticated arbiters of American culture, and which — most importantly — resonated with America’s mainstream voters.

-Australian Prime Minister calls for debate on abortion law (CNA/, 11/02/04)
Following the release of recent statistics from the state of South Australia suggesting that the majority of women who have late-term abortions do so for reasons of mental health, acting Prime Minister John Anderson has called for a debate on Australia's late-term abortion policy.

It is time to "welcome a wider debate to re-examine our understanding of medical science and the law," said Anderson, according to a report in The Australian newspaper. However, he also said that any change in the law would have to reflect attitudes of the community, "from the bottom up."

Some members of Australia's Liberal party have backed a private member's bill outlawing late-term abortions in two of the country's territories, and Australia's Health Minister Tony Abbot has called on Christians to build a political constituency against abortion.

Even those most like us aren't much like us.

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 5, 2004 10:44 AM

The best description, I've come across to date, of what the exit poll responses Re: moral issues means.

I'm no religious evangalist but I surely stand fast with them behind the line they've drawn for their families ... for all families.

Posted by: Genecis at November 5, 2004 11:32 AM

There's another 4 million where those came from.

Posted by: h-man at November 5, 2004 11:55 AM