An aggressively annoying new phrase in America's political lexicon is 'values voters.' It is used proudly by social conservatives, and carelessly by the media to denote such conservatives.An excellent column, and well worth reading. Though not a social conservative myself, I know and love many very sincere people who are social conservatives, even as I harbor a cordial loathing for some of their public representatives.
This phrase diminishes our understanding of politics. It also is arrogant on the part of social conservatives and insulting to everyone else because it implies that only social conservatives vote to advance their values and everyone else votes to . . . well, it is unclear what they supposedly think they are doing with their ballots.
Last Saturday, when John McCain delivered the commencement address at Jerry Falwell's Liberty University, he was said to be reaching out to values voters. Hillary Clinton, speaking recently at the annual U.S. Chamber of Commerce convention, scolded "kids," by which she evidently meant young adults, for thinking "work is a four-letter word." She was said to be courting values voters. If so, those voters must value slapdash rhetorical nonsense as well as work.
That being said, to say or even imply that social conservatives have a lock on "values" or the moral high ground is both absurd and insulting to the two-thirds of America that *isn't* socially conservative.
George Will: Who Isn't A 'Values Voter'? (Washington Post, May 18, 2006)