Jan 28, 2008

Bookends of history *

Ted Kennedy's endorsement today of Barack Obama interests me for the subtle irony that's involved in having a political animal of the 1960s endorse a man who says we must move beyond the 1960s if we are ever to see a revival of the generational shift in power that supposedly came about through the election of John F. Kennedy in, yes, 1960.

Here's the salient quote from TK: "As John Kennedy said, the world is changing. The old ways will not do."

Now, politics isn't always logical, and gaining the support of a baby boomer icon could provide an important bridge to the older white voters Obama desperately needs. But it also illuminates the ties that bind our future to our past, no matter how badly we wish to make a break with the old to ring in a new way of doing things.

At the same time, Obama has finally found an effective rhetorical strategy to box in Bill Clinton by establishing the former president as a guy who's tragically out of touch with what's hip today. In an age when we all want to be moving on (even while moving on means turning to styles past) this might be a winner even with the oldies.

*Updated with Ted Kennedy quote.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I thought Bill was smarter than that. So much for the "first black president." Disappointing.