Guns, God, gays and abortion
I've been trying to think of something profound and original to say about the tendency of many low- and middle-income voters to embrace such issues as guns, God, gays and abortion, and to vote against their own best personal interests.
Having failed to come up with new thoughts of my own, I will take the liberty of quoting two extremely insightful letters-to-the-editor in the Sept. 8 issue of the New York Times.
The first one, written by Kathy Roberson of Middlesex, N.J., has this to say:
"One thing President Bush has done well has been to get so many people, often at an unconscious level, feeling that smart or educated or intellectual equals un-American.
"The result has been that the less educated you sound, the more of a patriotic American you are perceived to be.
"In this way, Mr. Bush and other wealthy elites have been able to install policies that hurt poor working- and middle-class Americans, while casting as snobbish elites those who think in nuanced ways about how to solve the real problems of ordinary Americans.
"We live in a world of staggering complexity. As the last eight years have shown, we ignore that at our own peril."
This is the other letter, which was written by David Rawson of New York City:
"The Republicans are blowing the usual smoke to get working-class people to vote against their economic interest.
"Can you imagine Americans voting for John McCain to strike a blow against the wine-drinking, brie-eating coastal elites and denying themselves a decent health care system, a better economy and competent leadership? Believe it. It could happen."
End of quotes.
Of course, what Mr. Rawson describes did happen eight years ago when George W. Bush was elected.
I fear that it is now more likely to happen again because of Sarah Palin's selection as the Republican nominee for the Vice-Presidency and the enthusiasm it has evidently stirred up in the Republicans' "conservative base."
From what we can glean about the Alaska governor, who is being sheltered from public scrutiny until she is well primed, her political and social opinions can best be described as primitive.
Once again, as in the past two Presidential elections, this election is likely to degenerate into a Republican campaign on "family values" and those old election standbys--guns, God, gays, and abortion. The Democrats will have to struggle to put the focus on the far more vital issues of the economy, health care and the war on terrorism.
The Democrats must also stress the threat that the cold war with Russia will be revived because of the Bush Administration's hard-edged foreign policies. Like Bush, McCain is provoking Russia with the campaign to gain admission of former Soviet bloc countries into NATO. (I have always felt that the Soviet Union's collapse made NATO redundant.)
But not to worry. McCain is acquiring expertise on Russian affairs from his new running mate, Alaska's Governor Palin. After all, as McCain's wife Cindy has pointed out, Palin is very knowledgeable about Russia because Alaska is so geographically close to that country, separated only by the narrow Bering Strait.