Iraq was not the overriding issue for the American people, at least according to the much-maligned exit polls. People said instead that they were voting on values.
It was morality, stupid. It was about defending the family. It was about preserving conventional ideas of right and wrong.That is what civilization is: at base, the basic acknowledgement that there are rules of proper behaviour.
This essential premise has clearly been under attack in the last few years, by postmodernism et al.
Bush had the best of that issue, because he appeared to be a man of principle. Kerry was labouring under memories of Clinton’s personal misbehaviours, I imagine. But he was also the wrong candidate on values. Kerry, in the end, seemed to have no principles. That resonated. And I think I was right that he hurt himself tremendously with his comment about Mary Cheney in the third debate: it made him seem to lack character, to lack honour. This is also, I think, why the Swift Boat ads resonated so strongly: Kerry seemed to show no honour as a soldier. This is why the CBS memo fiasco resonated: it spoke of general dishonesty on the left.
The Dems have lost the moral high ground.