This Year, the Culture Wars Won't Work

Palin rhetoric rallies the base, but indies care about their wallets
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 8, 2008 12:40 PM CDT
John McCain picks out four bottles of salsa and waits to pay for them at El Pinto restaurant for himself and running mate Sarah Palin on Sunday afternoon, Sept. 7, 2008 in Albuquerque, N.M.    (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)
camera-icon View 3 more images

(Newser) – The McCain-Palin ticket is hoping to reignite the culture wars—but this time, it might not work, writes Michael Tomasky in the Guardian. While the Republicans once again drag out attacks against secular elitists on the coasts, the small towns whose "values" the GOP extols are suffering from 6.1% unemployment and high gas prices. In that atmosphere, fighting on abortion and religion is not a winning prospect.

The "blue" and "red" cultural divide has endured for decades, admits Tomasky, but "most Americans aren't particularly political." Instead, they make judgments on two bases: what their instincts tell them about the candidates, and how they will affect their immediate socioeconomic condition. And with independents seemingly underwhelmed by Palin, Tomasky concludes, the election remains Obama's to lose.