Sunday, November 11, 2012

The Left's Values Voters

From Christopher Caldwell, at the Weekly Standard, "Values Voters Prevail Again":

Sandra the Riveted
Had this presidential campaign been a chess match, one move would have merited a row of exclamation points. A chess master will violate the rules of strategy as neophytes understand them (“You’re gonna lose your Queen!”) but only because he sees possibilities on the board that are invisible to others.

In January, the Obama White House set out to pick a fight with the Catholic church over contraception. A Health and Human Services directive ordered that all insurance plans cover contraception, morning after pills, and sterilizations with no exceptions for religious conscience. This looked like an act of folly. Not only was it an affront to the free exercise of religion, but Catholics are the largest group of swing voters in the country. They are heavily concentrated in Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and other potential swing states. And it was in the name of Obamacare—the most unpopular federal program in living memory—that the administration thumbed its nose at them.

The Obama campaign understood that “reproductive rights” are similar to “gun rights.” Even if the number of people who care about protecting them is small, all of them vote on the issue. And in a country that now has as many single women as married women, the number is not small. President Obama won the Catholic vote on the strength of a landslide among Hispanics. (Non-Hispanic Catholics opposed him 59-40 percent.) His pollster Joel Benenson credits him not just with identifying new demographic groups but also with figuring out how to appeal to them. “He won,” Benenson wrote in the New York Times, “because he articulated a set of values that define an America that the majority of us wish to live in.” For this election he is right.

Not since Jimmy Carter has a Democrat won an election this way. “Values” campaigns have favored Republicans. The journalist Thomas Frank warned in his book What’s the Matter with Kansas? that Republicans were talking about the Bible and gays and abortion in order to distract attention from their failed economic agenda. “People getting their fundamental interests wrong is what American political life is all about,” Frank wrote. In Republicanism he saw a movement “of working-class guys in Midwestern cities cheering as they deliver up a landslide for a candidate whose policies will end their way of life.”

That is elegant writing, but the argument was wrong in three ways...
Keep reading.

Caldwell's most important point is that the Democrats are forcing their values on the rest of America, and Obama is the Enforcer-in-Chief.

IMAGE CREDIT: The People's Cube, "Sandra the Riveted of the Grift Generation."