Thursday, November 20, 2008

Putting the "Old" Back in "Grand Old Party"

I love my parents, who are baby boomers, dearly. But with apologies to my parents (Burnt Rod and Burnt Rodette Lincoln), I desperately want the baby boomers - as a political force - do die out and go away.

Remember all of those stupid issues McCain and Palin ran on - "he's not like us"; "he's a communist/socialist/marxist"; Bill Ayres, Jeremiah Wright, et al.? They're baby boomer wedge issues and buzzwords. The lowest common denominator to them is this: are you with John Wayne, or with Jane Fonda? Vietnam and the 1960's are still the central front of the political wars for the baby boomers.

Others have said it better than me, particularly Matt Taibbi in this piece, but this election was a seismic generational shift in political power. If 2008 wasn't the death knell for the baby boomers as a political force, we can at least say they have been weakened to the point of irrelevance.

David Gergen in Rolling Stone:

The emergence of this millennial generation as a force in American politics is going to be one of the biggest stories in the country over the next 20 years or so. We know from past history that when young people vote for one party a couple of times, they tend to vote for that party during their adult lifetimes in disproportionate numbers. We last saw this with Ronald Reagan, who attracted an unusual number of young people. But the rising generation of millennials is bigger than what has come before. They are even bigger than the baby-boom population, and they are much more progressive and diverse. Forty percent of millennials are minorities. They look past gender and race in ways that baby boomers do not. They embrace diversity, whereas older Americans tend to be wary or even scared of it. So this is an enormous potential asset for Democrats. We talked all along about whether Barack being black would drive away voters. Among the millennials, the fact that he was black attracted voters.

It is just amazing to hear some voices from the right advocate an even more conservative path for the Republican party - i.e., more hawkish, more homophobic, more bigoted, more intolerant, more desirous of a return to a fabled 1950's (white) suburban America, and so on.

At some point, these people need to realize it's not about principles or ideas - if they want to be a viable political party, it's about the fucking math. A rabidly passionate 27% of the electorate is not going to win national elected office, regardless of how enthusiastically they cast their ballots.

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