Carol Platt Liebau

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

The discussion about the "winning issues" for President Bush continues apace. Immediately after the election, there were fine articles by David Brooks and Charles Krauthammer that had the effect of downplaying the values issue, and pointing out that the major issues that drove the electorate were about national security, not social issues.

Their point that discussions about gay marriage and abortion didn't drive the election are well-taken. And it was an important point to make; otherwise, Democrats would have tried to "spin" the election as nothing more than the result of a bigoted scare campaign on the part of President Bush . . . not incidentally thereby avoiding the admission that his approach to foreign policy has been ratified by the people.

But there is also a danger in Republicans downplaying the importance of moral values in the campaign just past -- and denying the salience of the moral values issue makes it easier for libertarians and liberals to pretend that President Bush didn't get a mandate on that score, as well. My view, reflected in yesterday's column, is that both national security and moral values issues mattered, and now that view is reinforced in this fine piece by Maggie Gallagher.

Is it too much to conclude that people may see moral values and national security as somehow intertwined? That is, that it is morally right (even a religious duty) to stand up to evil, whether it manifests itself as Al Qaeda, the Taliban, Saddam Hussein -- or even some parts of the United Nations?


The news that Dan Rather is going to retire elicits nothing more than a jaded sense that it's about time. Given his evident partisan leanings, the MSM was losing credibility by the day as he sat comfortably in his anchor chair. Note that the announcement is an attempt to pacify everyone -- the conservatives assume that, since the decision was made during the summer, it has something to do with the National Guard story; liberals feel vindicated that Rather will still be around working for "60 Minutes." And also note that he managed to get out before the much-anticipated release of the results of CBS' "internal investigation" of the National Guard scandal.

Rather retiring is all to the good, and will improve the overall quality of the media, at the margins, at least. But let's not kid ourselves. It's analogous to the treatment of a symptom, while the underlying virus -- the knee-jerk left wing arrogance fostered by the liberal journalism culture -- continues unabated. Rather was a liberal, he will be replaced with a liberal, and CBS will continue to avoid any real reflection about why so many Americans are no longer watching the nightly newscast. Sometimes I think that liberals, particularly in the media, don't examine "the truth" about who they are and what they're doing because "they can't handle the truth."

The blogosphere, including Hamilton's Pamphlets are buzzing on this one.


Blogger Patrick O'Hannigan said...

Further examples to buttress your point that the "values gap," however defined, is real, can be found here (from Michael Moore, of all people) and here.

3:09 PM  
Blogger jchess said...

I am not sure if I should laugh or cry: The Boulder Weekly is claiming the reason President Bush was re-elected was because people did not understand what they were voting for.

1:21 PM  
Blogger David said...

"s it too much to conclude that people may see moral values and national security as somehow intertwined? That is, that it is morally right (even a religious duty) to stand up to evil..."

Well, of course the issues are intertwined, at least for those of us who believe the Bible to speak authoritatively to the issues of life. For example, one (of many) biblical references to being good citizens includes this little nugget on the function of civil government:

"It is not without purpose that the ruler carries the sword; he is God's servant, to inflict his wrath upon the wrongdoer..."

And Romans 13 is not the only passage that makes clear that civil government has a primary role: creating fear in outlaws by means of the sword.

Did the U.S. accomplish this with the Afganistan and Iraq campaigns and thus increase the security of its law-abiding citizens? Ask Qadaffi.

Now, what to do about the outlaws within our borders... Hmm... Another issue.

7:10 AM  

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