Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Hillary Will "Fight to the Death" Because She's a Boomer

A 25 year old Newsweek reporter has a piece in the current print edition, which I read at a doctor's office this afternoon. The title: He's One of Us Now (subtitle: Obama embodies my generation's attitudes and aspirations, for better and for worse.). He describes the term "millennials" for those like him who were born in the 1980 and compares them to the boomer generation.

Well, he forgot about the generation in between - called alternatively generation x or 13th generation (because we're the 13th generation since 1776). Yeah, I'm part of that generation and ever since William Strauss and Niel Howe published their book Generations in 1991, I've been waiting for the one in my generation that would fix the disarray that baby boomers have made. Obama is it. I've been waiting for this time since 1991 (when a G.I. generationer was still in the White House).

And it's a generational divide that makes me have a visceral reaction to the Clintons - the lying, the self indulgence, the self-victimization. "As the moralistic, uncompromising crusaders of an awakening, the Prophet-Boomers are most likely to provoke a new crisis when they grow to control the nation's institutions." Yep, and we're in the midst of it and that boomer can not fix it. Clinton, probably because of her generation, can't even see the problem accurately.

Let me make clear: obviously these qualities are generalizations. I know many a selfless boomer and many 13ers who are not in the least pragmatic. Still, this background provides helpful understanding and context for why younger people are so adamantly rejecting Hillary Clinton.

So, according to Strauss and Howe -
  • Boomers are "values-obsessed," read unwilling to compromise.
  • 13ers are "pragmatic,"
  • and millennials are the "new coming-of-age generation of powerful, proactive" people.
They are pushing Obama over the top.

Also related, cack in October 2006, Tim Russert asked Obama about this passage from his book,
MR. RUSSERT: You do write this, and it’s a very interesting observation, “When you watch Clinton vs. Gingrich or Gore vs. Bush or Kerry vs. Bush”—so that’s ‘98, 2000, 2004--“you feel like these are fights that were taking place back in dorm rooms in the sixties. Vietnam, civil rights, the sexual revolution, the role of government - all that stuff has just been playing itself out, and I think people sort of feel like, Okay, let’s not re-litigate the sixties 40 years later.”
Obama answered,
I think, I think the categories we’ve been using were forged in the ‘60s. You know, I think the arguments about big government vs. small government, the arguments about, you know, the sexual revolution, military vs. nonmilitary solutions to problems. I think, in each and every instance, a lot of what we think about is shaped by the ‘60s, and partly, you know, the baby boomers is—are a big demographic. I write about the fact that, whether it’s the market for Viagra or how many cup holders are going to be in, in a car, a lot of it’s determined by what the baby boomers want. Our politics isn’t that different, and my suggestion is that—take the example of big government vs. small government. My instinct is is that the current generation is more interested in smart government. Let’s have enough government to get the job done. If, if we’re looking at problems, if the market solution works, let’s go with the market solution. If a solution requires government intervention, let’s do that. But let’s look at what are the practical outcomes. And I think that kind of politics is what the country’s hungry for right now.
See full transcript here.

For more on the generational evolution as described - to me very accurately - the Wikapedia entry is pretty good. Read here.
  • Generation X (and the Lost Generation - think Hemingway) - are Nomads - and "become the pragmatic, midlife leaders of a Crisis." That would be Obama.
  • Millennials, the generation of the Newsweek author and all those young people coming out and voting for Obama, are "conventional, powerful, and institutionally driven, with a profound trust in authority."
  • Boomers, a Prophet generation, are "values-driven, moralistic, focused on self, and willing to fight to the death for what they believe in."
Bottom line: Don't look for Hillary to give up before the convention in Denver. She is willing to fight to the death, even the death of the Democratic Party.

It's why I've not breathed a sigh of relief yet.

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