Green Tea, Moral Values and the Elites

During the presidential campaign, Candy Crowley of CNN found herself sitting with John Kerry in a super-ordinary coffee shop in Dubuque, Iowa. The veteran political correspondent ordered coffee. The senator, from Massachusetts, ordered green tea. The waitress was puzzled.

I spent many of my formative years in eastern Iowa, and I can assure you that while Iowans are not all a bunch of hayseeds, green tea is not high on the beverage list, and this story is quite revealing.

The Crowley incident is related in a column today by Terry Mattingly, a longtime journalist covering the Christian community and now a professor at Palm Beach Atlantic College. His column is syndicated by Scripps-Howard. It is another good analysis of the impact of evangelicals and moral values on the election. Mattingly writes:

Crowley grew up in the Midwest and she thinks she can tell red zones from blue zones. Democrats have cornered the green-tea crowd, she said. Republicans are winning what Capital Beltway insiders now call the “Applebee’s vote.” This schism may have as much to do with cappuccinos and chainsaws as with the New York Times and the Southern Baptist Convention.

Faith played a major role, but it’s simplistic to say that religious people voted for President George W. Bush and secularists for Kerry, said Crowley. The religious left has its own moral and spiritual beliefs and it will, in future elections, find ways to express them in the public square.

It would also be inaccurate to claim that evangelicals marched into voting booths and seized control. Bush won 52 percent of Catholic voters, facing a Catholic candidate, and 59 percent of the overall Protestant vote. The New York Times noted that the president, in four years, raised his share of the Jewish vote from 19 to 25 percent, winning two-thirds of the Orthodox Jewish votes.

The elites just didn’t get it. “Somewhere along the line, all of us missed this moral-values thing,” said Crowley.

–James Jewell

About Jim Jewell

I am a writer and consultant on faith and public life, active for many years in management and communications in the evangelical community. I now work as the director of the nonprofit practice at The Valcort Group ( Everything on this blog, however, is my personal opinion and is not read or approved before it is posted. Opinions, conclusions and other information expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views of Valcort.
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