t didn't take the neo-conservatives long to figure out the real truth
about the election and explain to us, hanging breathless, what we should
think about it. David Brooks in the NEW YORK TIMES was perhaps the
first to unveil it to the rest of us out here in the boonies.
you see, is that "it is certainly wrong" that
the "moral issue" was the driving force in the election.
That delusion comes from a "poorly worded question" in the
exit polls. "When asked about the
issue that most influenced their vote," Mr. Brooks writes, "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."
And if you
want a misleading result before you ask the question, you get neo-con
propaganda. Neo-conservatives don't like the "moral
the white Christian evangelicals who take that issue seriously enough
to vote on it. What the neo-conservatives care about is foreign policy,
especially how all those white Christian cattle in the backwaters can
be rounded up to fight the Middle East wars the neo-cons are slobbering
to wage — "World
War IV," as neo-con guru Norman Podhoretz likes to call it.
Brooks, despite occasional reservations about the Iraq boondoggle,
is on board for that agenda too, and much of his column sought to explain
how the election was really "a broad victory for [President] Bush" and
that a national consensus behind the "war on terror" was
what led to his victory.
Yet, as I have noted before, only 51 percent
of the voters supported Mr. Bush at all, and while he did win the election,
there was nothing "broad" about
it. The broad victory was not that of Mr. Bush and his foreign policy
but of the moral issue -- the massive and simultaneous success of 11
state ballot measures that rejected same-sex marriage. There's no "misleading
here. It was straight-forward and so simple even neo-cons could grasp
it, which they do, which is why they are so eager to explain it away
before the rest of the country starts talking about matters they don't
want to talk about.
The neo-conservatives of course are not the only
people who don't want to talk about such matters — namely, the moral
direction of the nation and its culture. The Republican establishment
doesn't want to talk about it either, which is why, as the Washington
Post reported last week, evangelicals had to drag the GOP kicking and
screaming to support the marriage amendments at all.
In Michigan, state
Sen. Alan Cropsey, sponsor of a bill to ban homosexual marriage, told
the Post "the Republican Party was not helpful
at all. It's not like they were the instigators. They were the Johnny-come-latelies,
if anything." Several other activists say the same.
So far from
Republicans or the White House using the ballot measures to crank out
the evangelical vote, the evangelicals themselves — and
in some areas Roman Catholic groups — created the movement. Evangelical
leader Charles Colson says, "The White House guys were kind of
resisting it [the marriage issue] on the grounds that 'We haven't decided
what position we want to take on that.'"
What the election returns
really tell us, then, has little to do with President Bush (who a week
before the election defended "rights
to a civil union, a legal arrangement, if that's what a state chooses
to do," and explicitly renounced the GOP platform on same-sex
marriage on ABC's Good Morning America), let alone his foreign policy.
What they tell us is that the Republican Party including its top leader
still doesn't get it and that it still prefers to take its signals
from neo-conservatives like Mr. Brooks and the cultural and ideological
ghetto they represent.
The White House and the GOP didn't want to support
the grassroots movement against same-sex marriage because the people
who staff those institutions are more comfortable with the people who
write THE WASHINGTON POST and the NEW YORK TIMES than with the Middle
Americans whose votes they desperately want and need. It's not easy
to argue that a party able to win the White House and both houses of
Congress is the Stupid Party, but stupidity is largely a matter of
being unable to learn, and what this election tells us more than anything
else is that, at least up until Election Day, the Republican Party
had learned nothing.
Nor has Mr. Brooks. He and his neo-con allies now
have four more years to plot how to derail the Middle American Revolution
toward which this election clearly points. If Mr. Bush is not stupid,
he'll derail the neo-cons from the White House now.
[This column was originally published by Creators Syndicate on November
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The Samuel Francis Classics are copyright © 2008
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Political pundit Samuel Francis was an author
and syndicated columnist. A former deputy editorial page editor for
THE WASHINGTON TIMES, he received the Distinguished Writing Award
for Editorial Writing from the American Society of Newspaper Editors
in both 1989 and 1990.
FIRED: SAM FRANCIS ON AMERICA'S CULTURE WAR, a collection of some
of Mr. Francis' writing and speeches,
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