A lot of analysts talk about moral values being the factor that pushed George W. Bush over the top, but they're missing it by a syllable. It's moron values.
Thomas Frank's best-selling question What's The Matter With Kansas? asks why these good folks devotedly support the Republicans who screw them financially. Simple. They're morons.
President Bush is a moron and millions of morons identify with that. The dumbing down of America is no longer a work-in-progress. Consider the job complete.
Now, I can be dumb myself. I'm a mechanical moron. And it takes me a long time to learn from my mistakes.
So I'm a lot like Democratic candidates. They thought they could appeal to voters with facts. Facts like there were no weapons of mass destruction and no link between Iraq and 9/11. Facts like there were more jobs lost under Bush than under any president since Herbert Hoover.
Wrong! They missed the thing that really elects politicians: faith. And a faith that is entirely divorced from intellect.
Faith in God (Jesus and his daddy God the Father &endash; not Buddha or Krishna, and sure as hell not Allah); faith in America, not foreign-speaking allies; faith in family (the "Father Knows Best" kind, not the two lesbian moms kind); faith in force, not some pusillanimous peace plan.
God, guts and guns, as the bumper sticker puts it. Ya wanna win, that's what you go for. Macho rules.
And it apparently doesn't need to be genuine machismo. Witness the posturing of George W. Bush. The same powers of persuasion that have fooled us all our lives, selling us huge trucks for taking the kids to school and Marlboros so we can be more manly, has now sold us a guy who was a drunken cheerleader in school and absent without leave in his service record, as the commander-in-chief of America's armed forces.
Dubya's opponent, Ol' Longface, who was an actual athlete, scholar and war hero, was transformed by television's dark magic into a weak, confused ne'er-do-well in the most expensive game of yes-you-are, no-I'm-not ever played.
Who ya gonna call? Spinbusters or your minister? If it's spinbusters, then you believe the ungodly media. If it's your minister, then you just believe.
Of course, many conservatives are intelligent. Bob Dole of my own fair state was a savvy senator. And John McCain used to be intelligent until he sacrificed his soul on the altar of party loyalty after Bush smeared and sabotaged him in the 2000 campaign.
The smart conservatives don't mind that Bush is less man than muppet for Dick Cheney and Karl Rove because their agenda of advancing the American Empire is being served. And the dumb conservatives are clueless that their vote for God and guns just means their kids might die in our leaders' desire for domination.
Abusing loyalty is the Neoconservatives' special skill. They abuse the loyalty of the American people who want to believe their leaders. They abuse the loyalty of American troops who will obey their orders even if it's to defend Amoco, not America.
Inter-changing the war on terror and the war in Iraq is a snap for the Neocons, and millions of morons fell for it. Meanwhile, the unspoken factors of race and religion are subtly but powerfully present. The parallels of the Middle East to Vietnam grow and plenty of our moron masses are mean and racist enough to lump all them A-Rabs as the enemy like once they lumped the Gooks. And you know what the enemy soldiers in Iraq call us?
Yes, too bad it was moron values that won the election for Bush because we could use some moral values right now.
Like peace and good will toward men.
Frank Lingo is a writer in Lawrence, Kan., and author of Earth Vote. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.