Saturday, November 06, 2004

A Victory For Morals 

I have recommended Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged to hundreds of people since I first read these books after graduating high school. The major criticism of these works from those who actually took my advice is that the author unfairly and unquestionably chastises people and their behaviors as immoral.

How ironic these comments now seem in reference to the 2004 Presidential election. It is obvious to me that it is on the basis of morality that this election was decided. But please don't get me wrong. I am not talking about the beliefs of Christian evangelicals. Despite what you may have heard it was not the religious right who won this election for Mr. Bush. People who classify themselves as conservatives outnumber liberals by over 12% in this country yet the President won by 3. So what happened?

I contend that people reacted to the strong leadership of George Bush mostly centered around the Iraq war and terrorism. We sensed that we would not be as safe as we are now with John Kerry in office and we respect the President when he says that you may not agree with me but you know where I stand and what I am going to do.

The leadership issue revolved around much more then the war. Mr. Bush brought up Iraq as often as he could so that he could differentiate his position from that of his opponent. But in a brilliant political move, he also raised the subject to demonstrate that the various views John Kerry expressed on Iraq made him untrustworthy, indecisive, and inconsistent. The discussion helped convince the electorate that if you vote for John Kerry you do not really know what he will do in office.

In all the analyses I have read so far about the election the person who actually gets it right is Mark Penn, a democratic pollster. Writing about the morals question in today's Washington Post he states:

So while liberals and conservatives can be motivated and brought to the polls in increasing numbers, the real battle at the end of the day is for the more moderate voters who this year slipped away to the Republicans, on the basis not of gun control and gay marriage but of security and secular values such as trust and standing up for your beliefs. They are the core of any winning national coalition and at the heart of our national values.

These are exactly the morals Ayn Rand wrote so passionately about.

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