To the Editor:
In his last editorial, Mike McCaffery suggests that Bush’s re-election indicates the dominance of right-wing social values. However, his interpretation is based on false premises. While he claims that “a majority of people voted based on their moral values,” he provides no reference for this claim.
If he is writing about the same exit poll as the one all the other pundits are discussing, he should know that it found that only 22 percent of voters identified “moral values” as the decisive influence on their vote, falling well behind domestic issues and war issues.
Furthermore, he appears to assume that this 22 percent share his “moral values.” However one-fifth of these voters apparently find Bush’s record morally repugnant, as they voted for Kerry. Recall that the Pope said that invading Iraq was morally unjust, and many people may have reservations about our government’s human rights violations. Even if we assume that the 18 percent who voted for Bush mainly for his “moral values” were mainly motivated by anti-gay and anti-abortion beliefs, it is worth noting that the same exit poll found that about 60 percent of American voters do believe in authorizing gay civil unions or marriage, and 55 percent believe abortion should be legal in most or all cases (only 16 percent favor an outright ban).
These majorities are greater than the 51 percent majority that re-elected the president, and suggests that if Bush has any sort of mandate, it is not the one that McCaffery is claiming. McCaffery should get his facts straight before reaching conclusions – otherwise his argument is meaningless at best, deceptive at worst.