great speech by Hillary Clinton and exactly the response she deserved and in the best venue for her, which is a large crowd of raucous partisans of whatever stripe that should put to bed the PUMA misallocation of principles or goals.
How can anyone who supported her as president and as the anointed standard bearer of the Democratic Party ignore what she's had to say since June 7, if they actually take her and her candidacy seriously? How can they continue to pretend that they support their own goals or hers by supporting John McCain or sitting out this election? They can say it but they immediately indicate that they really didn't care about Hillary Clinton's views all along but only about what they felt she stood for.
Fair enough. It's intellectually dishonest, and disrespectful to Hillary Clinton herself, but if you're more interested in retaining generational power in the Democratic Party than in what's good for the country, then of course you'll discount her words since June 7 and still work and argue against Barack Obama as president.
Speaking of "generational power," how to say this? I guess by eliminating first the things I'm not saying.
Race is definitely an issue in this campaign. Bill Clinton's all bent out of shape that he got portrayed as a racist, when in truth he's always treated black political aspirations the same as Obama portrayed his wife's: as worthy and beneficial, especially for the group they/she represented. (He probably discounts Geraldine Ferraro's racist observations; I know I did.) But I don't think race it the primary demographic issue.
Gender was (and maybe still is) a major issue in the campaign. Hillary was the brunt of a whole load of misogyny from the media and, in a few instances, even from Obama surrogates -- let alone the misogynist expressions from Obama supporters posting on discussion boards and blogs. But I also don't think gender is the primary issue in this campaign.
Increasingly, I'm thinking Obama's problem with voters has less to do with race or gender, and everything to do with age.
Hillary Clinton is 60 years old. Her husband is 62. Oft reported, John McCain turns 72 -- the outer side of mandatory retirement for a lot of Americans -- on Friday.
Barack Obama just recently turned 47 a few weeks ago. And I'm starting to think, he's too young for too many voters.
Race, at least in marketing, is often used as a proxy for generation. Show a dreadlocked guy and you've checked off the youth vote in your ad campaign. (Yes, he'll also be youngish, but a white guy fraternity boy in a bow tie -- and there's probably a picture of me somewhere that shows exactly that -- hardly says "youth" to marketers.)
Gender is often marketed in the same way, and is a proxy for youth or generational openness to shared power.
Here's what I'm getting at: I think the fault line -- among both Democrats and Republicans -- may be age. Republican Baby Boomers have no problem voting for someone older, because they've always fetishized the past. But more importantly, I think Democrats over the age of 50 are having a tough time supporting a candidate younger than they are.
Of these Democrats, they were overly enthusiastic about Bill Clinton, despite his failings. And, I think, they're overly confident in Hillary Clinton or, even, John McCain. What they can't seem to do is get past the idea of a president who's, finally, younger than they are.
There are all sorts of holes in my theory, not the least of which is that 70-somethings also supported Hillary over Barack, unless you consider that she was less young than he is.
But all intraparty criticism I hear about him regards his "inexperience." Even though Hillary doesn't have a whole lot more. "But she's got Bill.' Sure. And now he's got Joe Biden, who's got more national experience than any of them. So your point is... ?
Striking further, I think the Baby Boom isn't ready to go out on George W. Bush. I don't blame them. Despite the Clinton fatigue that may have made enough people (at least five on the Supreme Court) ready for a change in 2000, and despite what Bush has done to the country for the past 8 years, there are still enough of them who want another chance to make it right.
Strictly speaking, Obama is a Baby Boomer too -- as I am, if only by six weeks. But the bulk of the Baby Boom is now 50 or older, and most of the anger I hear and see is from Democrats over 50. And I think there's an objection -- not based on race, not even based on gender -- but based on age. Baby Boomers have had to accommodate themselves to doctors younger than they are, even CEOs (and managers) younger than they -- but where they've got a choice, in a voting booth, they have a real problem voting for a president younger than they are.
It's ageism in reverse. I still hope they come around to supporting Obama in November. But now that I've realized this, it changes the way I view their opposition to an Obama presidency -- less with incredulity and more with empathy and, yes, pity.