September 18th, 2010
09:00 AM ET

LETTERS TO THE PRESIDENT: #607 'Whose vote? Whose values?'

Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

Staunch conservatives are feeling energized, some liberals are feeling enervated, and I am feeling empowered to write yet another letter to the White House.

Dear Mr. President,

Most evenings as I drive home I pass pretty close to your house, which is to say “our” house (as in “We the people,”) which is to say The White House. If it’s late enough the lights are all off, but other times I catch a glimpse of that famous façade gleaming in the dark and it’s pretty interesting. I often wonder what you might be up to. I know that you are kept pretty darn busy and I have wondered if you ever just sit around with the wife and kids watching TV, or playing Jenga, or maybe working a jigsaw puzzle.

Anyway, if by chance you’re roaming around the lawn one night and you see me cruising by, give a yell and I’ll come over to chat.

Speaking of chatting, I have been following this “values voters” summit in DC with some interest. Ever since the big “values” election a few years back, I have felt like the term itself is so imprecise as to make it meaningless. Or worse, it may actually encourage a false impression. What we are talking about in this meeting, for example, is conservative values. But liberal voters could also have a “values” summit, and so could moderates, and so could wandering remnants of the Bull Moose Party.

When we use “values,” in the context of politics, what we mean is “our beliefs about things other than money,” and we’ve all got those, no matter which way we lean politically; ours views of an average family, for example, or what we think of religion, morality, sexuality, honesty, integrity, that sort of thing.