....LMB: "Moral Mandate Myth"....

November 14, 2004

By now, it has become common "knowledge" that George W. Bush won the election because Christian fundamentalists came out in droves to vote for the president. However this is not fact, it's an interpretation of data, and a fairly inaccurate one at that.

This myth comes from exit polls in which 22% of respondents said that "moral values" were the "most important issue". It's fairly telling that the media has decided that "moral values" means "fundamentalist Christian."

But even more to the point, political scientist Phillip Klinker has analyzed the exit poll data from 2000 and 2004, and has found no signifiant increase in the turnout of religious voters. Bush got roughly the same percentage of votes from religious voters in 2004 as he did in 2000.

So where was the increase?

Rich people.

Which makes plenty of sense. Maybe some rich folks voted for Bush in 2000, figuring he'd serve their interests better than Gore. But after 4 years, Bush truly proved himself, so it seems many more rich folks turned out for that reason.

Unfortunately, everyone is running with the "rise of the Fundamentalists" myth. Either fundamentalists are believing the hype, or the media is suddenly deciding to cover them more, but these conservative Christians are trying to exert their influence on Bush since Nov 2:

- some pro-life folks are complaining that Bush's choice for new attorney general isn't conservative enough.

- at the same time, the Christian Coalition is praising Bush's attorney general selection.

- and now, conservative Christians are attacking Bush for letting Dick Cheney's daughter "flaunt her homosexuality"... whatever that means.

I feel like it's the 80s all over again, with an all new Moral Majority. And once again, they're going to try to save us from the "oppression" of the liberals by forcing their version of morality on everyone else.

Posted by Jake at 12:27 AM | TrackBack (0)

So is it just Democrats who visit girl-on-girl-action websites?

Posted by: Em² at November 14, 2004 06:11 AM

Well, claiming it's a new thing and a mandate this time is easier than saying, "They helped get him into the White House twice and since they had to play nice for four years they want their payback now."

Posted by: Amanda at November 14, 2004 07:19 AM

Not conservative enough? Who do they fucking want, Adolf Hitler? Or are they just saying that 'cause he's a latino?

Posted by: Snow Crash at November 14, 2004 11:16 AM

Apparently, some conservatives feel that past Gonzales rulings aren't as anti-abortion as they could be.

Posted by: Jake at November 14, 2004 11:56 AM

But also remember, Jake that Gonzales was the guy who gave W his reports on if a person should be executed or not. His reports were often found to be incomplete and lacking crucial details about false evidence, mistrials, etc. The Atlantic had an article almost a year ago on this.

Posted by: Brian at November 14, 2004 04:04 PM

the problem with the blanket term "moral values" is that it gives no indication as to what the voter means when saying that. they could mean religion, but also many other things.

im sure that a perceived morality, in that old fashioned biblical sense did play its part, but i would agree that it wasnt the main factor.

if religion played no part then candidates who are athiests would be viable. at present they are far from it. its funny, but in our current cultural climate all candidates are required to trump up their religious convictions in order to get the votes.

Posted by: ryan a. at November 14, 2004 05:33 PM

This "moral values vote" -- myth or otherwise -- is a gift from God -- myth or otherwise. It almost instantly turned the various Republic factions against each other. Most likely, the meme of the moral values vote is the result of run-of-the-mill media sloppiness. But if it was a piece of Democratic disinformation, it was friggin' brilliant!

Posted by: Miss Authoritiva at November 14, 2004 07:39 PM

I just love that conservatives are "allowed" to attack Cheney's daughter, but Kerry saying that she's gay is the worst thing on Earth.

Gimme a break.

Posted by: Denise at November 15, 2004 01:21 PM

Never mind that these are the same exit polls that were supposedly flawed because they Kerry winning Ohio.

Posted by: Eric at November 15, 2004 02:31 PM

The 80's all over again? Does that mean I can finally bring back that "I Wear my Sunglass At Night" song? Yes!

Posted by: Brian at November 15, 2004 07:24 PM

Keep in mind, though, Jake, that there are rich people who voted Democrats, mainly because the Bush policy would be so disastrous to their fortunes in the long run. The more discerning of the rich know this anyway.

Posted by: Eric at November 18, 2004 04:54 PM

To clarify - I mean Bush's policies would be disastrous to the rich if they cause significant anger among the working class and poor. Remember that liberal Keynesian economics (like the New Deal, Great Society, etc.) are not so much about helping the working poor, but just giving them enough to stave off social strife between the classes and save capitalism from itself. The funny thing is that the Democrat leadership is doing what they can to repeal their reformist legacy and their liberal supporters are chasing them to the right.

Posted by: Eric at November 18, 2004 05:01 PM

Confiscation of one's hard earned money and doling it out to the "less fortunate" along with other social engeneering concepts can fall under the
category of "morals".

As a "right-winger" I would like to share with ya'll another perspective. I honestly believe that we need a certain divisiveness in the nation for balance because it keeps the extremists on both sides at bay. I am glad we don't have a President-Elect Kerry. He would further empower the UN which I consider to be a hostile entity toward the USA. They should be relocated to Paris.

But that's another subject. What I'm trying to say is I don't want my party to monopolize the gov't like the Dems have for so long. It would only embolden the nuts to think they can push their agendas. But when I see how the Dems try to explain why they lost I am baffled!

To the point, here goes:

Dump the Michael Moore/Hollywood crowd. They understand NOTHING about how the majority of Americans feel. Political dialogue can be POLITE (the root word!)and still be effective. Bomb throwing and personal attacks cause well deserved suspicion.

Open your minds to the point of view of gun owners and NRA members(stop snickering for a minute and hear me out:^). I understand how people from large urban areas have such a disdain for firearms. They see stories about drive-by shootings and school kids on a rampage and they just want the dangerous things to be gone. The problem is with sweeping legislation that only affects the law abiding and actually aids and emboldens the criminals. Try to restrain your emotions and see the reality (if you really want to win back the hearts and minds of people)that some folks like the security of having a firearm and can contribute to society by making it harder to be a criminal. Where does a career mugger want to live? In a state with a concealed carry law?

Too much weight is given to the moral/gay-marriage/abortion issues. Yes, many will base their vote on one or more of these but I think that after 9/11 they are back burner to most folks.

There's a lot more to add but I'll let this little bit ride and see what kind of response it gets.

Posted by: chupic at November 23, 2004 12:30 PM
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Media News

November 16, 2004

Tales of Media Woe

Senate May Ram Copyright Bill- one of the most depressing stories of the day that didn't involve death or bombs. It's the music and movie industries' wet dream. It criminalizes peer-to-peer software makers, allows the government to file civil lawsuits on behalf of these media industries, and eliminates fair use. Fair use is the idea that I can use a snippet of a copyrighted work for educational, political, or satirical purposes, without getting permission from the copyright-holder first.

And most tellingly, the bill legalizes technology that would automatically skip over "obejctionable content" (i.e. sex and violence) in a DVD, but bans devices that would automatically skip over commericals. This is a blatant, blatant, blatant gift to the movie industry. Fuck the movie industry, fuck the music industry, fuck the Senate.

Music industry aims to send in radio cops- the recording industry says that you're not allowed to record songs off the radio, be it real radio or internet radio. And now they're working on preventing you from recording songs off internet radio through a mixture of law and technological repression (although I imagine their techno-fixes will get hacked pretty quickly).

The shocking truth about the FCC: Censorship by the tyranny of the few- blogger Jeff Jarvis discovers that the recent $1.2 million FCC fine against a sex scene in Fox's "Married By America" TV show was not levied because hundreds of people wrote the FCC and complained. It was not because 159 people wrote in and complained (which is the FCC's current rationale). No, thanks to Jarvis' FOIA request, we find that only 23 people (of the show's several million viewers) wrote in and complained. On top of that, he finds that 21 of those letters were just copy-and-paste email jobs that some people attached their names to. Jarvis then spins this a bit by saying that "only 3" people actually wrote letters to the FCC, which is misleading but technically true. So somewhere between 3 and 23 angry people can determine what you can't see on television. Good to know.

Reuters Union Considers Striking Over Layoffs- will a strike by such a major newswire service impact the rest of the world's media?

Pentagon Starts Work On War Internet- the US military is talking about the creation of a global, wireless, satellite-aided computer network for use in battle. I think I saw a movie about this once...

Conservative host returns to the air after week suspension for using racial slur- Houston radio talk show host (and somtime Rush Limbaugh substitute) Mark Belling referred to Mexican-Americans as "wetbacks" on his show. He was suspended for a couple of weeks, and then submitted a written apology for the racial slur to a local newspaper. But he seems to be using the slur and its surrounding controversy to boost his conservative cred with his listeners.

Stay Tuned for Nudes- Cleveland TV news anchor Sharon Reed aired a story about artist Spencer Tunick, who uses large numbers of naked volunteers in his installations and photographs. The news report will be unique in that it will not blur or black-out the usual naughty bits. The story will air late at night, when it's allegedly okay with the FCC if you broadcast "indecent" material. The author of this article doesn't seem to notice that Reed first claims that this report is a publicity stunt, but then claims it's a protest against FCC repression. I'd like to think it's the latter, but I'm not that much of a sucker.

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Mission: Mongolia

Jake's first attempt at homemade Mongolican barbecue:


What went right: correctly guessing several key seasonings- lemon, ginger, soy, garlic, chili.

What went wrong: still missing some ingredients, and possibly had one wrong, rice vinegar. Way too much lemon and chili.

Result: not entirely edible.

Plan for future: try to get people at Great Khan's restaurant to tell me what's in the damn sauce.

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