Monday, November 12, 2007

Andrew Sullivan on Why Obama Can Transcend the Hell of our Civic Discourse

Andrew Sullivan has a MUST read in this month's Atlantic Monthly, called "Goodbye to All That: Is Iraq Vietnam? Who really won in 2000? Which side are you on in the culture wars? These questions have divided the Baby Boomers and distorted our politics. One candidate could transcend them."

I couldn't put it down. I don't agree with quite all that he says. I think the left is much more sane, less extremist, than he does - obviously. But I was pleased to see that Alan Brinkley, the Allan Nevins professor of history and the provost at Columbia University, agreed in his review of Ron Brownstein 's book The Second Civil War. "But making the same argument about a similar dogmatism and zealotry among Democrats is a considerable stretch," Brinkley writes.

But whether or not Sullivan is off on which side is more entrenched, we need a way out. I'm desperate for that. And this conservative believes Obama can help us transcend baby boomer angst. The last caller on the Diane Rehm Show tried to ask Brownstein about Sullivan's piece last week; Brownstein didn't answer the question adequately. So far, I've not been impressed with Brownstein's book.

This aspect, the ability to get beyond the poison of the 60s, was a visceral attraction for me, but he put my sense of putting the (political) past behind into words, rather well. It's an interesting perspective, strongly expressed, from an unusual perspective.

Let me note that Newsweek cover story is on 1968. Yuck.

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