Duluth, MN (OpEdNews) April 8, 2010 Robert J. Samuelson has published a column entitled "The Politics of Self-Esteem: Why everyone feels offended" in NEWSWEEK magazine dated April 12, 2010, page 24.
Samuelson does correctly state that "[p]urging moral questions from politics is both impossible and undesirable." So he and I agree on that much.
I also agree with him that moral questions "evoke deep values." As far as I am concerned, moral questions by definition always involve values and value judgments.
Inasmuch as political debate involves debate about competing possible courses of action that can be taken, political debate by definition involves values and value judgments about each possible course of action.
Now, the NEW YORK TIMES did at one time run a news-analysis story in which the author pointed out that President Barack Obama tends to structure his speeches around imaginary adversarial positions "made of straw" (as the author put it) known proverbially as straw men and straw women.
In terminology used by Aristotle in his famous treatise on civic rhetoric, President Obama has a strong tendency to engage in epideictic rhetoric, the kind of rhetoric that is centered on values and oftentimes tends toward seeing the world of values in terms of good versus evil, instead of competing goods, one of which the orator would prefer.