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Michael A. Ross, Hawley, Minn., Published December 04 2012

Letter: Social issues always take backseat to pocketbook

Social conservative moral issues are not what make or break elections and never have been. Americans vote their pocketbooks. Issues such as gay “marriage,” abortion, church and state, war and peace, are very secondary at best.

In 1972, when Watergate broke, the economy was strong and Nixon was re-elected in a landslide (an unpopular and unwinnable war not withstanding). By 1974, the nation was in deep recession and stocks in a major bear market. The public wanted Nixon’s head on a platter. In 1980, social conservatives supported Reagan, but he was elected to get rid of Carter and stagflation.

The religious right’s impact was a “flash in the pan” during that time period with the influence of televangelists such as Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson. Reagan was re-elected because the economy and markets were booming. In the ’90s Clinton came to office on the back of a bad economy under Bush Sr. Clinton’s two terms saw the greatest bull market and longest period of sustained economic growth in U.S. history.

When the Monica Lewinsky scandal broke and the president had openly lied to his family, his staff, a grand jury and the American public, it didn’t matter. Clinton’s approval rating actually rose after those revelations. Bush Jr. lied us into a war that cost the lives of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and the lives and limbs of thousands of young Americans but won re-election on the back of the greatest financial bubble in history, that of housing.

Enter Barack Obama. Supposedly elected as a “peace candidate,” he has escalated one war (Afghanistan), started another with Libya, and is currently prosecuting at least five drone wars that have taken the lives of thousands of innocents in foreign lands. He has betrayed anti-war liberals who supported him. Was he re-elected because of a strong economy? Hardly. We are in the same recession/ depression that began in 2007. The factor now is dependence on government entitlements. Over half of American households are dependent on one or more government programs. Mitt Romney was seen as a threat to those handouts, and Obama has been awarded a second term. That he has openly supported gay “marriage” was a non-issue.

Christ admonished us to “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness” (Matthew 6:33). We have said to hell with righteousness; just give us SUVs, jet skis, iPads and ever-appreciating bank and brokerage accounts. When that fails, we can live off the government. One small problem: Over this time period, this “almighty provider” has gone from less than $1 trillion to over

$16 trillion in debt, with the unfunded liabilities of the federal government pushing $100 trillion. Anyone with half a brain knows this has to end badly. Our “prosperity” has been a debt-fueled illusion and deception.