Monday, November 03, 2008

What if they gave a culture war and nobody came?

Why was the "Culture War" scenario such an epic failure this election cycle? Whether the GOP wins or loses tomorrow, there's no question that this aspect of their campaign didn't work as well as it has in the past. While Sarah Palin might have electrified the superstitious, anti-intellectual, pro-ignorance, abortion-obsessed nutcase faction of the GOP base, it was reflected in only the briefest of upticks in the polls. The economy could be partly to blame, but could it also be that the whole "culture war" narrative has run its course, and there just aren't enough people who care about that bullshit anymore?:
"In 2000, in the wake of an economic boom and a sex scandal that led to a president's impeachment, 22 percent of Americans told exit pollsters that "moral values" were their biggest concern, compared with only 19 percent who cited the economy.

Today, according to a recent Newsweek poll, the economy is up to 44 percent and "issues like abortion, guns and same-sex marriage" down to only 6 percent. It's no coincidence that Palin's popularity has plummeted as the financial crisis has taken center stage. From her championing of small-town America to her efforts to link Barack Obama to former domestic terrorist Bill Ayers, Palin is treading a path well-worn by Republicans in recent decades. She's depicting the campaign as a struggle between the culturally familiar and the culturally threatening, the culturally traditional and the culturally exotic. But Obama has dismissed those attacks as irrelevant, and the public, focused nervously on the economic collapse, has largely tuned them out.

Palin's attacks are also failing because of generational change. The long-running, internecine baby boomer cultural feud just isn't that relevant to Americans who came of age after the civil rights, gay rights and feminist revolutions." (emphasis mine)
And it's about fucking time.