“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Hilary on stage. The last act of the Boomers?

A long wave running, rose from the post war mid-nineteen-forties and crashed through every aspect of the American culture.

It is a time far enough away, that it is now necessary to explain which war, but a post-war generation of a mostly rural country one hundred and fifty million now is cresting to a population of three hundred million.

It has been a generation of change, much of its own making and much by chance. The Boomer generation last agreed on "what, who and why", when the oldest of them were still in high school.

They have gone from graduation to retirement, deeply split and divided by acrimony, politics, religion and culture.

Hilary Clinton is the iconic Boomer, representing all that defines unites and divides them, and nothing unites them more than the spotlight, center stage, large big and brash.

The Boomers in a climax of blues, could never quite get it right. They may not still. That may be the job of another generation.

It may be smart politics for a Barack Obama to remind a divided nation that the Boomers did not get it together and that job now belongs to those next on deck.

That may be enough of a thought to sober a lot of old stoners.

Boomers get worry lines

By Ellen Goodman, Washington Post
Published January 27, 2007

BOSTON - Somehow I do not think that Barack Obama gets up in the morning, brushes his teeth, looks in the mirror and says, "Wow! A fresh face!" It doesn't happen at 45. At 45, you count the crow's feet and measure the circles under your eyes.

While you are inspecting your not-so-fresh face, you remember that when Mozart was your age he'd been dead 10 years. Albert Einstein published the big theory of relativity at 36. Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence at 33.

I say this to add a dose of reality to the chatter about the man slated to announce his candidacy for president on Feb. 10. Obama is indeed this year's designated "fresh face." But on the flip side, those who are not questioning whether the Illinois senator is too black to be president are asking whether he is too green.

That's not green as in tree-hugging. That's green as in inexperienced and/or young. Even his little daughter once asked, "Are you going to try to be president? Shouldn't you be the vice president first?"

The last time age was a presidential issue, you may recall, was when Ronald Reagan was running against Walter Mondale. The 73-year-old Reagan quipped, "I am not going to exploit for political purposes my opponent's youth and inexperience." Obama has his own retort ready for anyone who asks about his political resume: "Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld have an awful lot of experience."

But I find it bewildering to hear so many Americans worrying that a man who is middle-aged, by any demographic measure, might be too young. The question - "how green is Obama?" - may say less about the senator's youth than the country's age.

In 1960, the average age of Americans was 29. Today it's 36 and climbing. In 1960, the life expectancy was 69. Now it's 77. More to the point, the baby-boomer generation that is forever setting the agenda has begun turning 60.

Most of the green-talk is indeed from boomers. Is it possible that the same generation that famously didn't trust anybody over 30 when they were 20 doesn't trust anybody under 50 now that they are turning 60?

One of the charms of the boomers is how they are managing to age without getting old. My favorite factoid comes from a Yankelovich study showing that boomers define "old age" as starting three years after the average American is dead.

But the side effect of feeling forever young is that boomers may regard their juniors as perennially too young. It's seen in the generational lament about the adult children who can't get launched. It's also seen in the boomers' defense of their primary place in the pecking order.

Remember, the average age of the Senate is 62. That's when you round out 89-year-old Robert Byrd and 42-year-old John Sununu. If the Senate is clogged with incumbents, consider the Ivy League. The Harvard faculty has more tenured professors over 60 than under 50.

Obama was technically born at the tail end of the boom, but places himself politically outside the "psychodrama of the baby-boom generation" which he describes as "a tale rooted in old grudges and revenge plots hatched on a handful of college campuses long ago." The "new generation" of network anchors leading the green-talk - Brian, 47; Katie, 50; and Charles, 63 - are all older.

Well, it's a shock when the people you went to high school with start ruling the world. It's another rite of passage to acknowledge juniors as your superiors. But boomers are now turning 60 with a life expectancy of 82. It's an early sign of memory loss to forget that at 45 you were wise or foolish, or both - but you weren't young.

That master of the last word, Oscar Wilde, said, "Experience is the name everyone gives to their mistakes." He figured that out at 39.


  1. Speaking of Hillary and the Senate, Senate Republicans are using tactics which may prevent the Democrats from passing an anti-war resolution.

    Republicans: no deal

    The Democratic plan was for Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Joseph Biden to sit down over the weekend with his longtime Republican colleague, Sen. John Warner, and hammer out a consensus bipartisan resolution opposing President Bush's troop surge in Iraq. But Warner, who has been making backroom deals for 22 years in the Senate, informed Biden late last Thursday: No deal.

    Warner wrote that the "will of the Senate" should be determined in "open" session, not closeted negotiations. That killed the Democratic leadership's dream of passing a Biden-crafted anti-surge resolution by 70 votes or more. Such a proposal now cannot get the 60 votes needed for cloture to end a filibuster (and could fall short of the 50 senators needed for a simple majority). Conceivably, no resolution at all may be passed by the Senate.

  2. We are talking about the likes of Hillary. Boomers my ass, call them what they are : HIPPY SCUM.

  3. Wu,
    Hugh Hewitt will be thrilled.
    The Dems pushed even Warner too far.
    I am awestruck and fearstruck that Hillary may just be a footnote to USA's final days, care of
    Skulls and Bones Inc.
    W, His Gawd, et al.
    Jeb in 08!

  4. Doug!

    I agree with you most always - but don't be so fast to push Jeb!

    Yes, he did a great job here in Florida with the economics and a handful of "conservative" items. Socially, however, he's a Bush through and through. He loves illegal immigration, won't go far enough when push comes to shove (Terri Shiavo), loves the U.N. and is basically an "Internationalist"; JUST LIKE G.W.!

    He's got BILS; Bush International Liberal Syndrome!

  5. ___Get the Boomers out of Politics___

    The way to a Boomer's heart is good dope. So, there was method to the expansion of the Medicare drug benefit. Now, if the President would just press Congress to rid the Boomers of the necessity of prescriptions, the world would become mellow, almost overnight. Why, the busiest place in town would be the 24 hour drive-up window at Walgreen’s. High hippies are bye hippies.

  6. Oh! I forgot!

    He's in LOVE with C.A.I.R. and it's board of directors. He even had the RPOF withdraw support from state candidates who questioned them!

  7. Allen, I agree.

    The B-Boomers are all used up. The "greatest generation" had one of the worst generations.

    On the other hand, there's always good in each generation and those good kids went to Vietnam; just like now, with the W.O.T.

  8. Certainly, keeping the Boomers semi-somnolent will be expensive. Every social good carries some related cost; there ain’t no free ride. Rather than focusing on the expense to Medicare, consider a sedate Boomer generation as the equivalent of fielding 3 armored divisions, 1 Marine division, 6 Striker brigades, 3 infantry divisions and a complete carrier battle group. In that light, the US should spare no expense for national defense.

  9. The Democrats may even lose control of the Senate. Lieberman said yesterday that he is a "genuine independent" and may vote for a Republican for President in 2008.

  10. I agree with bob. Race relations are better, but the culture is worse.

  11. How soon they forget what they never knew.

  12. If I had to be sick it would would be better now than then. People were better to look at then. Never saw so big asses in my life than today. Most people had one of something. One phone, one bathroom, one car, one TV, one set of parents. Nothing wrong there.

    Driving was more fun. Girls. Girl's panties have been much improved over the years, assuming you don't have a wide-load model inside them. You had to work a lot harder to get them down, but on the other hand hunting and fishing was easier.

    Need I go on?

  13. not my kinda gals wore those things.

  14. why would Hilary bring that to mind?

  15. The "Culture"?

    That the culture whose popular entertainment that went from Lawence Welk and Mitch 'Follow the bouncing ball' Miller, representations of Ozzie & Harriet families hosting the Cleavers.

    To one that enjoys watching Bobbie Brown and Whiney Houston's family in dysfunction.

    Cannot be laid at the feet of those the embraced the views of the beat generation, no siree bob.

  16. And Ms Brintey, she goes out on the town sin panties, not at all hard to slide off.

    Ahh, to be young in the Generation X or the MTVers time and space.

    No panties at all, micro mini skirts, gettin' it done in the mosh pit.

    Now that's a generation to be proud of.

  17. To be honest, in life everything is an illusion and nothing ever changes at all. You play musical chairs and one day you get no chair.

  18. Well, this deal is really subsectioned, when you look into it. Seems we get to self select our generational grouping, all within the same time cycle.

    Now I'll just have to decide, Boomer, Beat or Jonesin'.
    How soon until the deadline, when we get to decide?

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  20. Did I not hear him say this was also the "last chance"?

  21. We may know just how bad Iran is by the end of this week. This article says "State and Defense department officials said that the "dossier" on Iranian activities will be released sometime next week [this week, since the article was last week] in one of the regular military briefings from Iraq.

    State Department spokesman Sean McCormack described the information as a "mountain of evidence."

  22. If it was a "blockbuster" or policy changing it would not be released in the normal flow, not by a PR savy Administration.

    So, maybe, that's how they'll do it. Sounds more like a molehill, as far as the Congress will be concerned. If it is about to be released in a military briefing to the public, the Senators already know.

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  24. We had to listen to them say "Bushitler" for six years. Roll out the welcome mat to Hitlary.

  25. This interview with the General in charge of Anbar sounds like the "smoking gun", the proof that we need to stay in Iraq.

    The General flat out says that native Iraqis, under the control of Al Qaeda, are attempting to set up a caliphate, another Taliban state. Anyone who says we can leave Iraq would need to explain why if training camps in Afghanistan led to 9/11, why Iraqi camps wouldn't do the same?

    If the Iraqis really want to partition their country, that would leave an independent and purely Al Qaeda-run and Taliban-like Sunnistan as a seperate country. That situation does not exist anywhere else in the world, including Pakistan.

    Also, the General says that the Iraqi Al Qaeda is led by global Al Qaeda, in other words, bin Laden, etc. So if we allow Sunnistan to form, we are providing safe haven to bin Laden and the rest of the Al Qaeda group responsible for 9/11.

    Since we are working with local Iraqi Sheiks who want our help, there is no excuse that we are "occupiers".

    If this is really the case, and the General is very clear, then I don't see what the excuse would be to not provide the help Iraq wants. If we can't stop another bin Laden-led Al Qaeda country from forming, then what does preventing another 9/11 mean?

    Quotes below in bold:

    During a video news conference from the provincial town of Falluja, Maj. Gen. Richard Zilmer said the insurgents intend to create a strict Islamic state, similar to Afghanistan's Taliban regime before the U.S.-led invasion toppled it in 2001.

    They want "a caliphate state out here," he said. "They want to turn back the hands of time. It is antithetical to progress and, again, any positive future." ...

    Most insurgents who are battling U.S.-led forces in Iraq's Anbar province are local Iraqis loyal to al Qaeda, and not foreign fighters, the U.S. commander in the region said Monday...

    He added that the extra forces "will provide that additional time for us to develop the Iraqi army and the Iraqi police, which, as I said, at the end of the day are essential to the long-term security and stability in Anbar province."

    Although local insurgents make up the lion's share of fighters in Anbar, Zilmer said there are "certainly foreign fighters who are part and parcel" of day-to-day rebel operations.

    He said foreign fighters are not "the overwhelming driving force that causes al Qaeda to function out here."

    But Zilmer did say that Anbar's Sunni insurgents are "largely led by al Qaeda" and take their direction from the larger al Qaeda organization, which he described as "absolutely ruthless."

  26. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack described the information as a "mountain of evidence."

    And if the State Department (and Defense Department) was worth a shit, there would only be a molehill of evidence on Iranian activities in Iraq, because we would have squashed that bug early.

  27. There are a million people in Anbar, at most there are 3,000 foreigners, nonnative fighters. If ALL of those were allocated to aQIraq, then we a talking about .3%, three in one thousand.

    But the General says that these fellows are almost all locals, rejecting the Shia dominated government and the US occupation.

    Most insurgents who are battling U.S.-led forces in Iraq's Anbar province are local Iraqis loyal to al Qaeda, and not foreign fighters, the U.S. commander in the region said Monday.

    He went on to say

    "If we need to go any place in that city, we will go there," he said.

    "The enemy still has the ability to move around (Ramadi) and he will go where we are not and we understand that," Zilmer explained. "But, if we must go someplace then, again, there is no challenge to us that prevents us to go anywhere we need to go."

    Other areas of Anbar are lacking in police presence and Zilmer said there are still some 3,500 positions yet to be filled for the Iraqi police force in the province.

    He also said there are "many slots out here available for the development of the Iraqi army forces."

    Many slots. 40% unemployment but few volunteers, more slots open as have been reported filled, the men voting with their feet.

    Same briefing different analysis

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  29. The General points out they've had a lot of success, but still have a ways to go. That's why they need the additional 4000 Marines the President asked for, plus our support.

    The General says he can stop Al Qaeda if we give him the reinforcements. Will we? Or will we give bin Laden a second chance?

    Although sectarian violence is not the threat in Anbar that it is in the capital Baghdad to the east, some 4,000 Marines will be sent to the region under President Bush's plan to quell violence in the nation, Zilmer said.

    "What these additional Marines (will) provide to us is an ability to reinforce the success that we've seen in the last couple of months," the general said. "It allows us to get to some of the areas that we haven't been able to establish the presence we would have liked."

    He added that the extra forces "will provide that additional time for us to develop the Iraqi army and the Iraqi police, which, as I said, at the end of the day are essential to the long-term security and stability in Anbar province."

  30. He'll get the troops, wu, that's not in question. For how long, that is.

    Mr McConnell, he also discussed a six month timeframe, didn't he?

    McConnell, Warner, Coleman, Brownback ...

    Six to eight months, next November at the latest. The window, to win on the ground is even shorter, there will have to be 60 days of reasonable security.
    Also six monts is about the max the military will want to extend a Units tour incountry.

    The numbers and statements all come together, a benchmarked timeline for success, six to eight months.

  31. On FOX the NPR fellow, Juan Williams, was discussing his interview with Mr Bush.

    Says Mr Bush saw yesterdays battle as a turning point, a leading indicator. Very up beat, proving that the Iraqi are standing up. Have not looked for a transcript.

  32. Here is one Bush quote

    President Bush said the battle was an indication that Iraqis were beginning to take control.

    "My first reaction on this report from the battlefield is that the Iraqis are beginning to show me something," President Bush told NPR.

    I don't have all the facts, but to me this sounds more like a turkey shoot, and one which was done largely by US air power.

    A relatively small number of enemy were trapped in an open place, with no hope of reinforcements. It's no surprise they were beaten.

    This doesn't prove the Iraqis could beat an insurgency, or an Iranian invasion.

  33. It's not so much the arrivals, I think, as much as the extenders. The Extenders are what is creating the "Surge".
    The Units going were already scheduled, with logistical constraints mandating the tempo of deployment.
    So the incoming will arrive a month or two early.
    The fellows scheduled to leave in Feb, Mar, on through to May and June, the ones staying beyond their previously scheduled departures, they are the backbone of the "Additional" troops.
    The length of their extensions in Iraq, the limiting factor.

  34. Does not, wu, prove they cannot defeat an Insurgency. We certainly have not "proved" we can.

    The Iraqi action means the is success, to at least a limited degree.
    Or perhaps just another "play" on US, as some have proffered, in MSM analysis.

    But you, wu, do not believe we can be played, so credit my boy, where credit is due.

    As to an invasion by Iran, that's a new wrinkle, but with a US defense pact, bet they'd do okay, defensively and in the counter attack.

  35. It's often said that Boomers are self-absorbed.

    What? And Gen-X,Y and Z aren't?

  36. Van Helsing of Moonbattery holds out Darwinian fitness as the ultimate arbiter in the struggle against resurgent-Islam.

    “Dr. Abdul Majid Katme, head of the Islamic Medical Association and a member of the Muslim Council of Britain, is demanding that British Muslims refrain from vaccinating their children for diseases like measles, mumps, rubella, influenza, diphtheria, meningitis, tetanus, etc., because the vaccines are not ‘halal.’"

    Muslim Medicine

  37. 'Rat, don't forget the terror threat on the border, or already here.
    More important than Iraq, also.
    Gotta go.