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It’s the Values, Stupid

sarah_palin_02.jpgMy wife is far more liberal than I. And over the weekend, for shits and giggles, I tried — I really tried — during an episode of “Real Time with Bill Maher” to play devil’s advocate with her on Sarah Palin and politics, in general. Because when it comes to politics, my wife gets self-righteous as hell, and agree or disagree, it’s always tempting to argue with self-righteousness. I see it here in our comments, all the time. Only it’s usually from the conservative side.

Anyway: Here’s what I discovered. If you want to win an argument (or an election) bad enough, you can pretty much blind yourself to all your own faults. It’s actually not that hard to argue on McCain’s behalf — the problem is, it’s not a very exciting argument (and it requires that you forget about the last two years). It’s when Palin comes into the equation that it gets a little more difficult to argue on behalf of that ticket. But, if your values swing a certain way, and if you’re one of the many, many, many, many voters who makes a decision based, largely, on values (gah!), it’s a lot easier to see why Palin is so popular. If you’re a waitress, if you’re an apolitical single mom who works as a secretary for a law firm, if you work at Wal-Mart, or in a factory, of if you watch NASCAR, well, then: Palin is the only person on either of the tickets that it’s easy to relate to on a personal level. War-hero senator? Hell no. Foreign-policy expert? Hell no (the fact that Biden takes the train home every night is compelling, but who takes the train?). And a Harvard-educated lawyer from Chicago? Hardly. None of those three are particularly compelling to a middle-aged woman who puts in eight-hours as a hospital administrator and goes home only to find her teenage son playing video games. But Palin and all of her goddamn baggage is — in fact, the more baggage she has, the more compelling she is to values voters.

So, the problem — at least as I see it — is that values voters clearly make up most of the electorate now. And values voters don’t listen to the pundits, or even the ads. The only news most of them watch is the local news, and mostly for the weather. I know — my entire family consists of value voters (gah!). And, ultimately, it is those value voters who are going to elect the president. And there is nothing the rest of us can do about it. Maybe, this year, there will be a groundswell of young voters — voters who use only cell phones, who haven’t been polled — who turn out in favor of Barack Obama. But I doubt it. The American worker is not only the backbone of our economy, but of the electorate. And the average American worker will, more often than not, vote for the candidate who shares their values the most. And, at least on the surface, that’s Sarah Palin. And there are no arguments that Barack Obama or Joe Biden can make to defeat that connection. So, until the Democrats find another “salt of the Earth” candidate, like Bill Clinton (a brilliant, Rhodes scholar, who was still able to convince the American people he was one of them, in part, by fucking his secretary), then we’re kind of screwed. Values voters don’t vote for the smartest, the more experienced, or the guy with the best ideas. Values voters vote for themselves.

And right now, I’m just praying to a God I don’t believe in (because I’m an elite, liberal heathen) that McCain lives out his term.

| Comments (7)


Jesus Dustin! Are you trying to spark a wave of suicides here? I'm depressed enough. I'm just hoping the economic news galvanizes middle-class people to open their eyes.

wow, you skipped your prozac today huh? I pray every night that Sarah Palin will develop something horribly debilitating, like a severe rectal abscess, that will force her to drop out of the race(but not kill her, that'd be sad for her litter of children). But the miracle I really pray for is a doctor to come forward with proof of her having had an abortion. Please God??? Pleeeeease???

I'm not willing to accept defeat yet. I am one of those young people who only have a cell phone, never have been polled and will certainly not be voting for McCain.

And I have a lot of friends just like me. And I don't even live in a major metropolitan area.

Sure, there are a lot of people who vote on values, but there are a lot of values out there and they aren't all property of the Republican party.

Additionally: every time a liberal-thinking person loses faith an angel somewhere in heaven loses its wings. It's true. Think about what you are doing. Do you want to punish the innocent angels?

Now, get back to taking names, Rowles!

My sister-in-law mentioned this past weekend that she likes Sarah Palin. I asked her why. She said it was because of the obvious chemistry between Palin and McCain - she just "seems like a nice person."

I am going to start a personal campaign to make damn sure that my sister-in-law, and people like her, mysteriously disappear on Tuesday, November 4th. Violence may or may not have to be resorted to. It's for the best.

At a cousin's wedding this weekend, I sat around a dinner table listeing to my family sing Sarah Palin's praises - mainly, she's pretty and down to earth. Regardless of the content of their praises, you knew which way their votes were going. It was the best I could do not to commit octuple homicide with a bride and groom cake topper.

The worst part is the types of people that make up my family. Get this for an electorate: 2 union member uncles (1 works the press at the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the other at the Ford factory on its last legs), a recently laid-off uncle, my retired grandmother, who's currently struggling to pay off my recently deceased grandfather's medical bills; and 4 small business owners (my parents and another aunt and uncle). I live in a state that's swings typically Democratic, but should be bluer than its 10,000 lakes.

It really made me realize that unless I get my ass in gear to get my friends out in droves to vote this November, I could be considered a McCain/Palin contributor by non-action. We're of the cell phone only generation you've written about. I'm glad to hear that I'm not the only one slightly shaken in my confidence. It could potentially be a good thing though, as it may push a few of us into action.

Let's hope.

I think, Dustin, that you hit a nail on the head (whether or not you were aiming for it, I dunno)...the people who you are talking about aren't Values Voters. They're image voters, people who are voting on an identity calculus. Values voters are people who vote because they think a candidate represents/upholds certain principles...straight anti-abortion voters, for example, who will vote for Palin because she's anti-choice, or hard right Christians who will vote for her because they think she's pro-creationism. The people you're talking about aren't those people. They're people who are voting because, well, Palin feels like them, the same people who voted for W. because he was "someone they could have a beer with."

[not "with whom"]

The question is...can you justifiably differentiate people who vote on an identity image? The Palin Middle aren't the only group doing it.

[btw, I think the answer to my question is yes]

I really wish people would stop voting for "folksy" or "i would love to have a beer with that candidate." Vote for the candidate who will help this country with the issues that are important. I'm so sick of everyone talking about "values." Everyone is a sinner! I'm a sinner! I should run for office. If the public wants someone with Great Values...Vote for Jesus!