Thursday, April 24, 2008


The Long Boom Continues

Andrew Sullivan has an excellent post up which is essentially a long letter from a reader explaining the appeal of Obama for he and his wife (both in their mid-20's). The letter is essentially an appropriate indictment of the baby boom generation -- its excesses, its lack of discipline, etc. Andrew's reader sees Obama as a way out of the culture trap the boomers have bequeated society and its younger generations.

As it happens, I had a chat with a younger colleague (in his 20s, conservative and a Republican) and an acquaintance of his who was about the same age, but a Democrat who was supporting him. I was telling Danny -- the Democrat -- what I had shared with my colleague John earlier, how I felt that Hillary Clinton was going to be the eventual Democratic nominee, despite what the delegate counts look like now. Danny, however, spoke about Obama in almost exactly the same terms as Andrew's letter-writer. He specifically mentioned that he was "tired" and "done" with the baby boomers and everything they represent.

I said, "You may well be, my friend. However, they are not yet done with you."

That is the underlying cultural foundation of this election. Despite Obama's charisma and McCain's charm and their common crossover appeal, Hillary Clinton will be the standard-bearer of the largest, most self-indulgent generation in the history of America. They have driven the culture since the '60s, took over the presidency in 1992 and full control of Congress in 1994. Once they get their teeth into an institution, they don't let go. The sense of entitlement that Bill and Hillary have shown throughout this campaign is in perfect sync with the character of their cohort.

This is a sentiment that crosses party lines: Rather than the ideology that separates them, look at Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Newt Gingrich, Hillary Clinton, etc. and consider their shared characteristics and approach to politics. To varying degrees, they talk about conciliation and cooperation (why? because this generation always wants to be loved and praised for everything they do). But their political style is confrontational. They are always right; their opponents are not just wrong, they are evil. Upheaval and division is what boomers are about. Battle and chaos is their "normal." It is the supreme irony that the generation that dodged the draft revels in conflict. It's there in their language -- '92's Clinton campaign "War Room", '94's Gingrich-led "Republican Revolution."

The 2000 election was the first contested between two boomers -- and look what that produced.

Thus, Hillary's language of fighting -- and her security ads -- appeal perfectly to her temporal tribe.

The younger generations want this long-standing cultural war to stop. Obama aside, that's why McCain, who is older than the boomers also appeals to them (and may get many of their votes against Hillary).

But the boomers will not go quietly. The arrogance the Clintons show to Obama carries a, "It's not your time yet." After they get through with him -- which they will because boomers reinvent the rules and the language to suit their own purpose -- they will do to John McCain what Bill did to Bob Dole: His time is past and he cannot lead this country.

And Hillary Clinton will win the presidency because she will convince enough of those of her own generation that they mustn't be pushed aside by those coming behind them -- and will not be repudiated by their elders.

One final point: RT readers, be happy. What you read here over the previous two days on Barack Obama's nomination prospects is about to become the conventional wisdom. See here, here, and here. Oh, and what do we have here -- a suggestion that Obama needs to be tougher? Where did that come from? No need to thank me now. There will be a tip jar coming soon enough.

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