I’m going to counterpose two relatively conflicting views that have been floating around among the chattering class(es) recently:

  • Andrew Sullivan’s recent Atlantic Monthly cover story “Goodbye to All That” (subscription required, I think), which argues that Barack Obama’s candidacy represents an opportunity to drop a lot of the paralyzing debates which have infected US politics: Stuff about the Vietnam War (think the election of 2004), the whole “free love” thing, etc.
  • A recent Article in the Washington Post “Boomer In Chief”, which essentially argues that Obama’s candidacy is a continuation of Boomerism.

As an illustration of the ugliness, consider the whole “Woodstock Museum” spat of late between Senators Clinton and McCain. Or better yet, forget it, it’s pretty stupid, but it’s an illustration of the general issue. Given that at least one of us has argued here in the past that Boomer politics leaves much to be desired (and another argued that The Greatest Generation wasn’t so great either), what gives? Obama is definitely a Boomer but he’s a late Boomer, not old enough to have gone to Vietnam, not old enough to have been doing much besides riding a skateboard during the Summer of Love, etc. Still, he’s got some Boomer style. I largely go with Sullivan on this one, but can see merit in the other argument. It’s a pity there’s no one on the Republican side who really parallels Obama, which would let us make some really interesting comparisons.


Aside: Turns out Tom Brokaw is up to it again….