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    Friday, January 04, 2008

    Post-Racial? Post-Boomer? Thoughts on Iowa.

    Iowa is 93% white, and Barack Obama just won the Iowa Democratic caucuses.
    He did not run as a black man.  In a way, he did not even run as a Democrat.  He ran as an American.
    The phrase "happens to be" grates on me terribly, so apart from mentioning it that way, I won't use it.  
    But seeing Obama come out on top, I don't want to overstate it, but he looks more and more like a transcendant figure.  Post-racial, yes.  But post-boomer as well.  And I'd be curious to see some stats on the ages of the people who voted for Obama.  
    There are some who wonder whether America would elect a black man president.  I think America is willing to do that.  But I wonder if the bigger question might be, are the baby boomers ready to elect someone younger than them?  We've had two boomer presidents for a total of four terms.  
    The age difference shouldn't seem so great.  We have heard that Obama is "too young," yet he is older now than Bill Clinton was in 1992.  The age difference is not as great as the transition from Ike to JFK.  
    But I don't think we should underestimate the boomer sensibility -- the "me" generation.  The generation of people who seem to act that whenever anything happens to them, it is happening for the first time.  It is boomers who say 60 is the new 40 -- because they are now 60.  Just to name one example.
    It is easy to look at John McCain, a Vietnam war hero, as yesterday's man.  A man whose time really came and went, whose time to be president was taken up by a lesser man who occupies the White House now. 
    But when Hillary Clinton runs with a popular former president by her side in Iowa, and he campaigns for her, and she still not only loses, but takes third, a distant third, nine points behind Obama, then one conclusion would be that Bill Clinton is yesterday's man, too.  And that many Democrats, at least in Iowa, are ready to look ahead, not back.
    John Mellencamp may have played at the Edwards rally last night, but I look at Barack Obama, his personal story, his roots in Kansas and Kenya, and "ain't that America."
    And Biden dropped out.  I like Biden, and he made some good points at the debates, but he wasn't going anywhere.  He had the good sense not to stay on the stage too long.  But I wouldn't rule him out for VP or for the cabinet, perhaps Secretary of State. 
    Looking back on the above -- I haven't hit all the candidates, and there isn't really any coherent order to this.  Glad I am not submitting this to Gina for a grade.

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