"Vote your pocketbook" vs. "Vote moral values"
by Jon Roland

The post-mortem theme of the 2004 election seems to be "It's Moral Values, Stupid!"

The exit polls that showed 22% of the voters putting "moral values" ahead of the economy or the war as the most important issue for how they voted is confounding pundits, but my conversations with people indicate that this concern is not about abortion or gay marriage or even legislation or court decisions, so much as it is about asking political leaders to use the "bully pulpits" of their offices to help counteract the corrupting influence of modern culture on our youth. This includes setting an example of moral rectitude, but also includes doing what's right even when it's unpopular with some constituency groups.

During the campaign there was a blatant appeal (by Democrats) to "Vote your pocketbook!" in just those words, as though that was a good thing and not something sordid.

In my 1974 campaign for U.S. Representative I said:  "Political corruption begins with every voter who votes his pocketbook instead of for what's good for the country. There is little difference between the selling of his vote by an elected official and the selling of his vote by a voter, to whatever candidate promises him some benefit."

I submit that those who answer "Moral Values" are rejecting those pocketbook appeals on principle. 

Jon Roland is the brains behind The Constitution Society at http://www.Constitution.org  and other endeavors.