As the dust settles, we are beginning to see how heavily concern about moral values influenced this election. After a campaign focusing on the threat of terrorism and the war in Iraq, this development will surprise those from the Left — and Right –who dismissed moral issues and social conservatives as irrelevant. And, in fact, those who view the appeal to moral values as mere political manipulation and ideological posturing have a basic misunderstanding of people of faith and Main Street Americans.
The moral values that were a top priority in this election — abortion, embryonic stem-cell research, same-sex unions, etc. — are rooted in deep religious beliefs. In addition, at another level they are the values that form the basis of democracy — moral boundaries and personal responsibility, respect for life and human dignity, freedom, etc. — and are the essence of what it means to be American. President Bush embodies those values and, during his first term, put people and policies into place that supported them.
Further, there was no way that patriotic Americans would elect as president a person who betrayed his military buddies and trashed his nation’s reputation. Nor would Americans choose as president a person who surrendered the nation’s leadership in the world arena.
Bush’s strong, resolute stance on terrorism as well as his unwavering position on pro-life, pro-marriage and pro-family issues resonated with mainstream Americans. The Left has tried to portray these moral values as extremist; Americans have resoundingly said that these values are American.