I think there is a growing perception that achievers are solely motivated by money. Those on the liberal side beat this drum constantly, and add the part about “… and at the expense of others.”
But conservatives, more specifically Republicans, tend to cement this notion as well by always talking about one’s ability to make money, get rich on their own hard work or even just keep more of what they earn. This implies that it’s the money they are most concerned about.
I think that’s a shame, because most of the people I’ve known and had the honor to work with, be they liberal or conservative, tend to take joy in their achievements.
Accomplishing something, especially having to overcome obstacles to do it, is a great feeling, and I’ve enjoyed watching people of all political beliefs go through it. It’s rewarding to be a part of and to watch.
Money is something that usually accompanies achievement in some way or another. But I don’t think it’s the driver. It’s a driver to just “have a job,” and it’s a driver for some who are strictly motivated by it.
But I believe the majority of Americans, and certainly conservatives (though not limited to them, by any means) are motivated by doing and doing well. Now we just need to create a climate in which that can happen.