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The Obama-McCain age gap that matters: Worldview and ideology

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DeepModem Mom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-01-08 11:03 AM
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The Obama-McCain age gap that matters: Worldview and ideology
LAT: The Obama-McCain age gap that matters
Many years separate the two candidates, but it's not a gap you can measure with an EKG.
By Ezra Klein
June 1, 2008

....Barack Obama and McCain are separated by the largest age difference of any two presidential candidates in history. If Obama is elected, he will be, at 47, among the youngest presidents in history; if McCain wins, he'll be the oldest to win the office, at 72....The real significance of the age difference is not about health and mortality but about worldview, about ideology, about how the candidates understand the threats we face and the world we're in. A candidate like McCain, born in the final years of the Depression and shortly before the outbreak of World War II, will simply have a different frame of reference from a candidate born, as Obama was, in 1961, the year President Kennedy took office and Bob Dylan arrived in New York. And that should be discussed openly....

McCain came of age as the exultation of our seemingly clean triumph over the Axis countries shaded into the haunting anxiety of the Nuclear Age and superpower competition. When he says, as he often does, that "the transcendent challenge of the 21st century is radical Islamic extremists," it needs to be understood in that context: The Axis had a real shot at world domination. The Soviet Union's nuclear arsenal could have annihilated America. McCain, like others of his generation, is a man accustomed to transcendental challenges that come from states, the only actors traditionally able to pose a serious threat.

Thus, he has a tendency to play up the role of states in terrorism....

By contrast, Obama passed the tumultuous '60s watching cartoons. He was 14 when the Vietnam War ended. By the time he had graduated from law school, at 29, the Soviet Union had crumbled. Which explains his apparent confusion at being drafted into the culture wars of the '60s....To Obama, those battles really don't make sense, and the hunch that they're fading into the past was part of the original rationale for his candidacy. In his book, "The Audacity of Hope," Obama wrote: "In the back and forth between Clinton and Gingrich, and in the elections of 2000 and 2004, I sometimes felt as if I were watching the psychodrama of the baby boom generation -- a tale rooted in old grudges and revenge plots hatched on a handful of college campuses long ago -- played out on the national stage."

Those are just two examples of many. The ages of the candidates have a profound effect on the direction of the campaign, but because of philosophy and policies, not lipid profiles and treadmill tests. The question, of course, is which candidate's America will more closely approximate that of a majority of voters. Because in the end, although the age of the candidates may matter, it won't decide the election. Rather, the age of the electorate will.

(Ezra Klein is an associate editor at the American Prospect. He blogs at EzraKlein.com.)

http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-op-kl...
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psychmommy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-01-08 11:57 AM
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1. k & r
the biggest difference is the use of technology. the internet has totally changed the way campaigns fund-raise and operate. not all folks are on the computer. but, obama's contemporaries have been on the internet besides he had dean's base to build off of. mccain's contemporaries may not even own a computer, much less use it for political purposes. that is where obama is light years ahead. i don't feel that age makes or breaks a candidate-i am a frank lautenberg supporter in nj he is in his 70's. he is a sharp dude and on top of things.
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DeepModem Mom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-01-08 12:02 PM
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2. Good point! nt
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cloudythescribbler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-01-08 12:08 PM
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3. also, as they say in Yiddish, who's got a lot more tuchus nt
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cloudythescribbler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-01-08 12:10 PM
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4. ... which is something that, as with Bill Clinton, the public MUST be distracted from to have ...
electoral success.
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