Dale (Parenting Beyond Belief) McGowan has a great piece on the Right's "Inconvenient Commandment," (i.e., the biblical prohibition against lying) and how much trouble they seem to have following it. Here's the comment I left for him:
I, too, find it interesting (ironic?) that those with the seemingly strongest prohibitions against lying seem to do more of it than we of the godless-heathen/moral-relativist persuasion...rather like some other "moral problems" that tend to be worse in highly religious states, such as teen pregnancy and divorce. A cross-national study I mentioned three years ago (I apologize for the link-whoring, but it's relevant!) noted that "higher rates of belief in and worship of a creator correlate with higher rates of homicide, juvenile and early adult mortality, STD infection rates, teen pregnancy, and abortion."
I've seen speculation that--like the menopausal grandmother who insists that everyone should wear a sweater when she shivers--religious voters want to legislate "morality" (anti-choice laws, anti-LGBT, anti-divorce, pro-censorship, etc.) not because society as a whole needs them, but because they themselves do.
I'd like to answer your last question with another question: doesn't shame require a conscience?
P.S. Some political trivia: Carter never used the word "malaise" in his famous speech.