Sunday, June 15, 2008


There's a term Barack Obama uses in "The Audacity of Hope" that's been getting some media play recently: psychodrama. Here it is in context:

“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.”

I think I'm offended. Having claimed the title of America's First Baby Boomer (born in January 1946), and having actually attended a memorable psychodrama conducted by Jacob Moreno himself back in the seventies (and having been offended by that), I wonder where an upstart GenXer, whose chief memories of the Nixon Administration are dominated by the trials and tribulations of puberty, gets off identifying my generation's political struggle with a briefly trendy bit of neo-Freudian gobbledegook. (Whew! That was one hell of a sentence!)

More to the point, though, what if Obama really believes that the competitions between Bill Clinton and Newt Gingrich or between George W. Bush and John Kerry were personality conflicts rather than political conflicts? Granted, Bill Clinton was far from my favorite president, and I had a lot more respect for John Kerry when he was just back from service in Vietnam and working with other veterans to end the war -- but both of them, at least, shared a basic belief in democracy. Gingrich and Bush, on the other hand, always served the plutocrats. Is genuine ideological blindness at the root of Obama's "post-partisan" rhetoric? Let's hope not. Let's hope (audaciously) it's just another example of sleazy political cupidity designed to impress college kids and other Kumbaya singing circle-jerkers.

Speaking of hope, wouldn't it be nice if Obama really turned out to be the unrepentant liberal McCain and his buds over at the Elephant's Graveyard say he is? And wouldn't it be nice if candidates didn't feel obliged to lie their way into office? (Okay, start up a chorus of Kumbaya.)

As I interminably ranted a couple of posts below, the United States underwent a revolution over the past quarter century, and the bad guys won. While it was happening, a major chunk of Generation X was oblivious to what was going on -- but now it's catching up with them. They work longer, harder, and more productively than workers in any other developed country in all of history, but they still struggle to put gas in the tank and food on the table. If Obama doesn't understand how that came about, how can he do anything to change it?

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