Saturday, November 3, 2007

"Goodbye to All That"

If you have a few minutes and aren't completely sick of '08 election pieces yet, I'd definitely recommend checking out Andrew Sullivan's cover story about Barack Obama's candidacy for this month's Atlantic Monthly.

Judging from both this article and his recent blog posts, it seems to me that Sullivan is supportive of Obama mainly for the same reason I am: that having formed his political identity mainly in the 80s and 90s, he seems almost completely removed from the Baby Boomer psychodrama that has dominated American politics for almost 40 years. His vision of the world isn't shaped by things that happened in the late 60s, unlike Bush and Gore in 2000, Bush and Kerry in 2004, and Clinton, McCain, and Guiliani in the current election. This has a lot of practical benefits. First, if he is nominated, the election (for the first time since....a long time ago) will not be about hippies, Vietnam, women's liberation, and sexual revolution. Second, in my opinion, his lack of Boomer baggage allows him to approach issues more thoughtfully and with less rigidity - just think of all the Boomer Democrats in the Senate that voted for the war resolution in 2002, essentially fueled by the latent fear that they would be called McGovernite if they didn't. I'm basically schilling at this point, and I've been reading law for 18 straight hours so my mind is too mushy to come up with a decent conclusion. Enjoy.

1 comment:

Wade Garrett said...

Here's the best thing about the Obama candidacy: If he's nominated, then those old issues - Vietnam, marijuana, second-wave feminism vs. third-wave feminism - are off the table FOREVER. When Boomers first got into politics, their opponents were older incumbents - think of Clinton's race against George H.W. Bush in 1992. It was easy for the WW2 generation to poo-poo the indiscretions of the boomer generation. Eight or ten years later, when it was boomers versus boomers, all of the arguments were over who was on the 'right' side of 35 year-old issues. If a boomer races against a younger candidate, those issues are off the table in this election.

BUT, think about it: If Obama is the nominee in '08, by 2012 the Vietnam generation will be in their late 60's, and their problems will then be almost FIFTY years old. Think about that - even if the campaign in 2012 is, say, Al Gore versus Jeb Bush, it would sound totally ridiculous to argue about Vietnam 50 years after the war began and 40 years after the end of American involvement. Its only slightly less ridiculous to argue about it NOW, but, the thing is, the coversation about those issues hasn't really ever stopped. Once it stops, it will be a lot harder to re-start it. As far as I'm concerned, that day cannot arrive soon enough.