How Many Values Does it Take to Make a Values Voter?

By Ryan Rodrick Beiler 10-22-2007

No doubt there are critics who will dispute Jim's description of the Religious Right as having an overly narrow agenda. Case in point: Witness this dynamic observed by Faith in Public Life's (former Sojourner intern) Dan Nejfelt, live blogging from the FRC Summit on Friday:

Earlier [FRC head Tony] Perkins said "values voters" aren't single issue voters. Brownback - "you're right, I care about two issues." [Okay, that's a paraphrase, but he said it. Those issues are abortion and "restoring decency" to America's culture.]

"Restoring decency" - I guess that's a shorthand way of letting listeners fill in the blank with their favorite cultural boogeyman. But even with that deliberate ambiguity this narrow assertion is surprising given Brownback's outspoken concern for poverty. But, like any good politician, he knows his audience, and when speaking to this crowd, he knows which buttons to push.

Then again, Brownback is dropping out of the race, which may say something about how much appeal either an agenda focused on abortion and "decency" - or one that includes a strong concern for poverty - may have within the Republican party. Discuss.

Ryan Rodrick Beiler is the web editor for Sojourners.

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