+0
The context --

In one of a series of interviews with reporters since teaming up on Tuesday, Kerry and Edwards predicted they would win the political fight over which party best exemplifies the values and ethics of most Americans, but Kerry said they would wage that battle on their own terms and not what he called the GOP's "little hot-button, cultural, wedge-driven, poll-driven values" issues.

Please rewrite the two so that I might understand them better.

Thanks in anticipation.
+0
That's pretty colourful jargon. "Hot-button" has been around for awhile. This term describes an issue that is known to make many people immediately give a strong negative reaction. If the GOP campaigns along the lines of "under the Democrats, what you are going to see is a lot of "GAY MARRIAGES" and "DISCRIMINATORY HIRING OF MINORITIES" and "ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS DEMANDING TO USE THEIR LANGUAGES IN OUR SCHOOLS," then they will be relying on "hot-button" issues. What is the hot button in question? I speculate that it might be the red call-coming-in button on the telephone at radio stations where open-air political discussions go on. These call-in shows always get hundreds of calls whenever such issues are discussed.

You can see that the hot-button issues are all about some disfavoured group of people getting more rights or advantages. They are all matter of "it's us versus them, we have to stand up to defend our rights and privileges now!" This us-vs.-them focus could be said to be driving a wedge between social groups, splitting them apart. I have never heard "wedge-driven" used as an adjective before, but it sounds like it is intended more to say "wedge-driving" and to suggest that the GOP wants to panic white middle-class heterosexual Americans into seeing themselves as a separate group, determined to fight the other groups in society tooth and claw.

Wedge-driven could be rendered out of jargon into English as "divisive," I think, but hot-button is more of a challenge. "Demagogue-inspired" comes to mind; maybe some other Forum readers can think of a few simpler expressions. "Inflammatory" is not bad; it also conveys the idea of heat. It can't be directly combined with "values" as in the sentence given, but it could be combined with "issues." "Fear-driven" might work in combination with "values."

"...little fear-driven, poll-driven, divisive cultural values" issues... This translation wouldn't work in US politics, but it may help to explain the meaning.
Comments  
Sorry for being late, since my area got blackout two days in a row.

I've got much inspired by you. Still, I am not very sure what "little fear-driven' means. Does it mean 'nothing fearful-driven"?