And overcomes my prejudices. Everyone (many Guardian contributors, for example) who thinks that US politics is dominated by a simplistic Right-wing agenda, sponsored by fundamentalist Christians, should be made to read this New York Times article that the Anonymous Economist drew to my attention. (S)he also sent this snippet from a meet-the-people piece, “In an Old Coal Town, the Old Party Labels Are Faded“, about part of one of the critical states in the presidential election:

“NEW LEXINGTON, Ohio, Sept. 3

“Sharon Alfman, the cook at the little County Seat Diner here, might seem to be a likely John Kerry supporter. She has voted Democratic most of her life. She has no health insurance through the diner, and her husband’s insurance ran out after he was on disability for more than a year. But she already knows that she is going to vote for President Bush.

‘Mrs. Alfman, 51, said that if the Democrats could do anything about health insurance, they would have done it under Bill Clinton. Now, she said, the Democrats have ‘burned themselves out.’ And like several other people here in this gritty patch of southeastern Ohio, she has already tuned Mr. Kerry out. A Kerry commercial, in which he says his economic plan would provide ‘good wages and good benefits,’ came on the overhead television by the kitchen, and no one seemed to notice.

Kerry doesn’t know what the working-class people do; he hasn’t done any physical labor all his life,’ said Mrs. Alfman, who gets up at 4 a.m. to start her job. ‘Bush’s values are middle-class family values.‘”