Thursday, May 18, 2006

No kidding....

In the "well, duh" category, George Will (who I've found myself agreeing with more often lately) notes that a lot of people are "values voters", not just social conservatives.

An aggressively annoying new phrase in America's political lexicon is "values voters." It is used proudly by social conservatives, and carelessly by the media to denote such conservatives.

This phrase diminishes our understanding of politics. It also is arrogant on the part of social conservatives and insulting to everyone else because it implies that only social conservatives vote to advance their values and everyone else votes to . . . well, it is unclear what they supposedly think they are doing with their ballots.

Every demographic phrase necessarily trades accuracy for pithiness, but Will is right that the "values voter" phrase has been hyped and distorted more than most. And let's not forget that even if you put aside the hopelessly vague meaning of the phrase and accept that it means "social conservatives", their impact on the last election was probably overstated.

But I invite the Republicans to court values voters -- and get creamed in November by an electorate more concerned about substantive problems than ethereal wedge issues.

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