UPDATE: 7/11 @ 3:40 PM
The Washington Post reported today that the values rhetoric is heating up on the presidential campaign trail. Of course, after reading the article it became quite clear that "values" has been mysteriously transformed into "partisan nitpicking of every errant quote or association ever made by the opposing party." But moving beyond the Post's faulty coverage, am I the only one who thinks that if Kerry wins the values debate, the election will be a snap? Kerry's main flaw (aside from being percieved as a distant and aristocratic) is that he is seen as a Massachusetts hyper-liberal. However, the liberal economic message has proven popular in the past, especially in the "conservative" south. Democratic strategists have long been confounded that poor southerners constantly are willing to outweigh their own economic interests in favor of making a statement on the culture war. But if Kerry can convince a chunk of southern voters that his "values" aren't out in left field somewhere (and he's been trying with his "life begins at conception" schtick), that will let his economic message shine through and put the Bush campaign in some serious trouble. Its an uphill fight though.
The Washington Post wrote another article on Kerry's new values push. And like the old one, it focuses on the more extreme part of Kerry's allegations (Bush is a liar) rather than the values-debate that Kerry actually has a chance of winning (that is, Edwards' brilliant critique of Bush's policies helping wealth and harming work). Hooray for objective, non-partisan analysis!