4 November 2004
The over/under on the culture wars
If I hear one more commentator grousing about how it's all because of those horrid religious conservatives, I'm apt to say words which would not be appropriate for the sanctuary. Here in Soonerland, the shiny side of the buckle on the Bible Belt, conventional media wisdom says that everyone emerged from the church to go vote for the ballot initiative (SQ 711) opposing same-sex marriage. And while 711 won easily, the two state-lottery measures, which won somewhat less easily, drew more actual ballots (not-yet-certified state vote totals are here), and even 711 proved to be less popular than the measure to abate property taxes on disabled veterans (SQ 715), which no one characterizes as conservative. The prevailing belief in The Area Formerly Known As Kerryland seems to be that social conservatives are small in number and decidedly weird; I'm not much of a social conservative myself, but I find it hard to see them that way perhaps because they live over on the next street, as opposed to, say, way beyond the Hudson.
Given that a Republican president won a re-election on a conservative platform, that conservative Republicans won most of the vacant Senate seats, that Republicans have now won seven straight majorities in the House, and that gay marriage bans were enacted in 11 of 11 states they were on the ballot, one might get the impression that there is some sentiment out there for conservative policies.
Gee, ya think? But that couldn't possibly be, could it? I mean, isn't conservatism an oddity committed by and for odd people? Yet the Republicans still picked up those big numbers. There's only one other explanation: the center looked both ways, and decided to ignore the leftists.
And boy-howdy, they hate that.