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Obama: The first post-baby-boomer candidate

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Willinois Donating Member (205 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-18-07 05:27 PM
Original message
Obama: The first post-baby-boomer candidate
Edited on Sun Feb-18-07 05:28 PM by Willinois
This is the second part of two posts I made at my blog: http://www.thereisaway.us
Part 1 is on DU here: http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

I got a similar impression during Barack Obama's speech in Springfield that I first thought about when reading his book. He has a post-boomer perspective. I don't mean that he's going to ignore baby boomer issues. A recent post Rich Miller made on the Capitol Fax Blog got to the issue when he wrote:

"First of all, why is it that the Baby Boomers have to run everything through the prism of their youth? Why does everything have to relate back to that convention, or McGovern, or Woodstock or whatever?" http://thecapitolfaxblog.com /

Exactly! Its easy to not notice just how much of our political discourse is viewed through the Boomer's prism.

I'll take an example from the 2004 election. A lot of people were amazed at how much media coverage was given to the Swift-Boat Veterans group that attacked John Kerry's honorable service to our country, long after it had been conclusively shown that they were liars with no credibility. I was present for an important episode of that saga that should have gotten more press coverage than it did.

The founder of the Swift-Boaters group, John O'Neill, spoke at the City Club of Chicago to peddle his book trashing Kerry. This time, several veterans who served with Kerry (no one in the swift-boat liars group served on a boat with him) showed up to confront O'Neill. I saw that O'Neill is an amazing liar and more importantly, I witnessed the bitterness between some of the veterans present. That event, and speaking to some of those veterans, opened my eyes to what it was all about.

O'Neill and his group didn't know or care what Kerry did in Vietnam. They hated him for what he said when he came home. O'Neill acted as Nixon's attack dog against Kerry in the 70's and he was doing the same thing today. All of it happened because Kerry dared to speak his mind about the war. The whole episode was about playing out old grudges that had been festering for decades. It was then that I realized how many Americans, especially some Vietnam veterans, are still angry about the actions of Kerry and others who opposed the Vietnam war. I wish someone in the media had explained that to those of us under 30 who didn't realize what was really going on.

At a press conference held by the campaign, the veterans who served with Kerry attempted to correct the record. They were ignored by the so-called liberal media. What bothered me more were the Iraq War veterans who spoke at that same press conference that were also ignored by the media.

During that campaign, I met more than a few Iraq War veterans opposed to the war who had a lot to say about what they saw happen there, including the fraudulent and wasteful ways money was being thrown at Halliburton and other private contractors. Reporting smears about what happened in Vietnam over 30 years ago was more important to the national press. It was sad to see a soldier show so much courage by speaking out and yet have it be for nothing because the press decided that reporting uncomfortable facts about Iraq wasn't newsworthy.

That event also made me realize why we had to suffer through so much talk about what Clinton, Bush, Gore and everybody else did during the 60's. Its part of figuring out what stereotyped group someone belonged to back in the day. The boomers are still fighting the same old arguments between hippies and "law and order" types. Someone is either for "free love" or "family values." You must either believe in "big government" or "self-reliance." These old arguments don't have relevance or meaning to young people because they don't' have anything to do with today's world.

Some of us post-boomers were raised by hippie parents who got regular jobs and moved to the suburbs. We saw Bill Clinton reduce the size of government and reform welfare, while Reagan and Bush dramatically increased federal spending. Leaders who talk about "family values," like Jerry Falwell and Ted Haggard have become synonymous with bigotry and hypocrisy. The old ways of looking at things don't apply to the younger generations.

I would just love to finally see the first Presidential campaign in 16 years that isn't about what someone did during the 60's. Obama connects with young voters because he isn't making the arguments of yesterday. He doesn't speak through the prism of old battles that post-boomers had no part in. It's refreshing, to say the least.
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hlthe2b Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-18-07 05:34 PM
Response to Original message
1. Obama is a baby boomer: includes those born 1946-1964
At 45 years of age, that puts him on the tail end of the boomers...
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Willinois Donating Member (205 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-18-07 05:40 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. Was he old enough to serve in Vietnam?
No. That makes him separate from the generational experience that typifies the baby boom, 60's generation.
When exactly the baby boom ended is up for debate but that kind of hair-splitting doesn't really relate to what I wrote.
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hlthe2b Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-18-07 05:47 PM
Response to Reply #2
6. This generational division is offensive and stupid...
NO generation has the answers nor will be alone responsible for all the failures... We MUST work together... As per my sigline, the youth are important but will repeat the mistakes of history if they do not accept some wisdom earned the hard way, by those who have gone before...

This attitude that only gen y can possibly have the answers is sheer arrogance, through and through.
Come back to the table, Willinois. We must work together.
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Willinois Donating Member (205 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-18-07 08:27 PM
Response to Reply #6
16. huh?
Where do I claim that younger voters have all the answers? My post was about Obama's ability to communicate with young voters better because he isn't stuck in the stereotypes and arguments of yesterday. That has nothing to do with not working together.

Really, if we want to work together Boomers will have to learn to communicate better with younger voters instead of getting stuck in the same arguments they've been having for 40 years, which is what Obama is doing.
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loyalsister Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-18-07 05:56 PM
Response to Reply #2
8. There is always a bridge
where generations meet. The culture in which Obama came of age was most definitely not the Baby Boom generation. At 37 I'm a full on Gen Xer.
When I was in grade school and he was in High School disco was all the rage.
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hlthe2b Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-18-07 06:04 PM
Response to Reply #8
9. As a gen Xer, how would you know that?
Edited on Sun Feb-18-07 06:12 PM by hlthe2b
Like Obama, I am on the tail end of the Boomer generation.. WHile I may see a few differences in the attitudes and experiences of someone born in 1946, I certainly don't see myself as dramatically different from most liberal progressive boomers. The divide is with "conservatives", not with older boomers.

Yes, latter day boomers grew up with disco. That marked our adolescence. DO you really stereotype all boomers as poodle skirts, ankle socks and 57 chevy types, as per Happy Days?!
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loyalsister Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-18-07 06:45 PM
Response to Reply #9
12. I'm not dumb
Edited on Sun Feb-18-07 06:46 PM by loyalsister
And I have family spread through several generations.

It's not necessarily about politics

Now that we have the time divisions straight.....
I pointed to disco only to to give you a time frame jeeez!

It's a matter of where a person sees themselves. Apparently you identify it with politics and identify yourself with baby boomers.

I don't think it is up to us to tell Obama which he identifies with most.
It's about a historial cultural\social experience and where a person places themself as a result of the sum of that.

I have sisters who are on the cusp of X and Y. I am not sure where they see themselves.
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hlthe2b Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-18-07 07:32 PM
Response to Reply #12
14. I don't think you are dumb... please don't put words
Edited on Sun Feb-18-07 07:33 PM by hlthe2b
or mal-intent into what I write...I appreciate what every generation has to offer... Conversely, I think pitting one generation against another IS stupid.. We need each other.

Having said that, I also would not try to summarize what GenXers or GenYers believe or how they identify since, not being a member of that group, I can't really know. That's my point...
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loyalsister Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-19-07 06:26 AM
Response to Reply #14
20. I was simply answering your question
Edited on Mon Feb-19-07 06:30 AM by loyalsister
You asked how I would know. It doesn't require the experience to be a good observer of family and peers.
If you refuse to acknowledge that what baby boomers have been doing doesn't seem to be working feel free to continue to support those habits.

I and many others believe that it is time for a paradigm shift that no one in that generation seems to have had the courage to initiate.
It's old habits and a comfort level. Understandable, but not what many of us want.

I am not sure where your assessment that generations are being pitted against one another comes from.
You may be mistaking weariness with the way things have been done for too long for contempt.
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Mass Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-18-07 05:41 PM
Response to Reply #1
3. I was going to say the same thing.
Edited on Sun Feb-18-07 05:43 PM by Mass
In addition, I know quite a few people who like Obama, but are getting tired of what seems a generation fight more than a fight on issues. Obama will need the vote of many people who are baby boomers in order to win this election. His claim that it is time for a new generation to step to the plate is hurtful.

All generations need to step to the plate to fix this mess.

As somebody who expects to fully support Obama next year, I hope he stops with this. If babyboomers are not what we need, Obama is not what we need because he is a babyboomer.

BTW, Kerry is not a babyboomer either, a babyboomer are people who were born after the war. If you mean " a generation that did not fight VietNam", that already makes more sense, but still, the same problem occurs. It is uselessly divisive.
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Radical Activist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-18-07 05:44 PM
Response to Reply #3
5. I suppose that when Kennedy said
it was time for a new generation to assume the mantle of leadership it was similarly "hurtful" to older Americans. I suggest they get over it.

The media has stoked the generational warfare thing and made his comments out to be more than they were.
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Mass Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-18-07 05:47 PM
Response to Reply #5
7. probably.
Edited on Sun Feb-18-07 05:48 PM by Mass
I am the same age than Obama, so I understand what the OP says, but Obama has to be careful. The " generational warfare" is hurting with many people I know who are not that older than Obama is. There is nothing wrong with the generation that fought VietNam and a lot of of voters will recognize in it. Ostracizing it is useless.
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DURHAM D Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-18-07 06:33 PM
Response to Reply #3
10. Obama has already lost my vote - I have a big mouth and
have been reading some of his remarks to my boomer friends. Boy are they insulted, thus pissed. He has little understanding of what/those he is trashing and comes across as arrogant and ignorant. The reality of his character, of who he is and is not, is very sad. I wanted him to be so much more.
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Radical Activist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-18-07 08:23 PM
Response to Reply #10
15. Trashing?
Care to give a link where Obama trashes baby boomers? I don't think you'll find anything other than some news articles exaggerating his comments and some performed indignation by people looking for an excuse to attack him.
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ripple Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-19-07 01:53 PM
Response to Reply #10
25. Care to elaborate?
I know plenty of boomers who are very impressed with Obama. What remarks in particular do you and your boomer friends find offensive?
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Willinois Donating Member (205 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-18-07 08:45 PM
Response to Reply #3
17. I can't say I'm surprised
by the defensive reaction from some babyboomers at the very mild comments Obama made about a new generation taking on political leadership. I can't imagine what the boomer reaction would be if they were faced with their own rhetoric from the 60's. No one today is saying, "Don't trust anyone over 30." There's no Bob Dylan going to meetings of respected activists and telling them to resign because they're too old and need to make room for the young. I almost wish some Gen X leaders would say some of things but I suppose it was needlessly divisive then and would be now as well.
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michaelwb Donating Member (285 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-19-07 08:57 AM
Response to Reply #3
22. It's the usual electioneering nonsense.
Trying to portray the candidate has being new. Or many things at the same time.

He's Black, but he's not.

He's a Boomer, but he's not.

Sad, how we still don't get Dr. King's content of one's character instead we get ethnic, age and stereotypic marketing speak from the media and the campaigns.

Judge and embrace (or disdain) candidates by what they do and not because of the color of their skin, their age, etc.

Most recognized that Blacks were individuals and shouldn't be expected to support Obama blindly, perhaps the "generations" (stupid media/market speak) should be recognized as diverse and equally individual in their support for candidates.
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loyalsister Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-18-07 05:41 PM
Response to Reply #1
4. Technically maybe
culturally, intelectually, or socially not in the least!!
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Catchawave Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-18-07 06:37 PM
Response to Original message
11. Bill Clinton was the first Boomer candidate....
I should know, we share a birth year :)
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Morgana LaFey Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-18-07 07:15 PM
Response to Original message
13. So we boomers only get one president???
That would seriously suck. Reason enough to vote against him, IMO, tho I have many, MANY more (more weighty and important) reasons. Many.
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Willinois Donating Member (205 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-18-07 08:47 PM
Response to Reply #13
18. Well
you did have Bush. That seriously sucks, but don't blame me. ;)
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Connie_Corleone Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-19-07 06:36 AM
Response to Reply #18
21. LOL!
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Morgana LaFey Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-19-07 11:25 AM
Response to Reply #18
23. Huh. Isn't that interesting? I forgot about him completely.
But then, I don't consider him and will NOT call him "president." Ewwww, makes me shudder to get even THAT close to calling him that.

But, you're right.
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spooky3 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-19-07 11:28 AM
Response to Reply #23
24. he barely qualifies
He was born in July 1946, the very beginning of the baby boom era.

Oh, you thought I meant "barely qualifies for the job"? :-) Not even barely!
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Willinois Donating Member (205 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-19-07 04:23 PM
Response to Reply #23
28. I wouldn't count him either. n/t
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Colobo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-18-07 08:50 PM
Response to Original message
19. The point is that Obama appeals to a new generation of voters, as well
to those who are anxiously waiting for real change in Washington, regardless of age or "generation".

Obama is, if anything, a "postmodern" candidate.
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ripple Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-19-07 02:21 PM
Response to Reply #19
26. You make a good point
Obama doesn't only appeal young candidates. He's also very appealing to older candidates who are longing for a true leader, of the FDR or JFK mold.

I'm 38, so I fall somewhere in the middle. Bill Clinton had great popular appeal, but Obama is the only candidate in my

He has a unique talent for talking about progressive ideas in ways that don't make them seem too liberal or radical, even to a lot of republicans.

With that said, I hope Obama hits the 18-25 year-old demographic hard, as that age group is the most underrepresented at the polls. If he can get them interested, we could pick up not just the WH, but more than a few congressional seats in 2008. ;-)
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DeepModem Mom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-19-07 02:32 PM
Response to Original message
27. I agree -- I think it would be good for us to get past the divisions of Vietnam and the 60s.
As you say, they produced both John Kerry and the Swiftboaters, resulting in the painful campaign of '04. A candidate from a different generation (and I also agree that Obama is not a Boomer, no matter his age) might also help bring into the political process the enormous generation of Yers, who, from my observation, see things in their own, new, and very different way.
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