Everybody's Got One
A blog. An opinion. An elimination orifice. A dream. An agenda. A past. A hidden talent. A conceptual filter. A cross. A charism (often the same). A task. A wound. A destiny. A lost love. A blind spot. A bad habit. A secret. A passion. A soul ... okay, maybe not everybody ...
Monday, February 16, 2004

 

Daniel Henninger at Opinion Journal (Long excerpts, but this is a crucial insight):
The Democrats who pick the winners in their party's primaries also choose its political course. They are the Primary Democrats. To oppose George W. Bush and his politics, the Primary Democrats want a candidate shaped as they were shaped in the late 1960s and the hard political battles they waged in the succeeding 30 years.

The Primary Democrats danced a few rounds with Howard Dean, whose rage-at-the-machine temperament recalled their own best memories way back when. They have since settled on John Kerry, and properly so. John Kerry, in his person and career, exists today as the embodiment of Democratic Party politics from 1968 to this moment. For Primary Democrats, he is their perfect vessel.

These Democrats opposed the Vietnam War, and like Mr. Kerry, that event serves as sextant in their political journey. Primary Democrats regard their active and successful opposition to Vietnam as moral affirmation of their world view, which holds, more as a matter of belief than principle, that any American foreign policy not of their making is too aggressive, morally suspect and wholly wrong. ...

John Kerry was present at the creation of the moral and intellectual voyage of post-1960s Democrats. He helped map its course. ...

Mr. Bush would do well, if he has not already, to revisit the histories of this period. Through the years that John Kerry was personally helping form--and represent--the cognitive gestalt of modern Democratic voters, Mr. Bush was in business. But the Democrats who came to maturity around 1968 spent those years deepening their beliefs and baptizing younger adherents, who filled the streets of San Francisco and elsewhere to oppose "George Bush's illegal war in Iraq."

In this campaign, John Kerry will surely seek to revive all the post-'60s idealism, rhetoric and moralistic energy embedded inside the primary voters now mustering up around his candidacy. He may sound earnest mouthing his way through the nomination odyssey but believe me, he will be articulate and forceful in the fall. Then he will be speaking with belief and on subjects he knows well.

The vote in 2004 is not just a referendum on the two men running for president. It is a keystone election. (Next time, Hillary Clinton, though liberal, will not run the campaign Mr. Kerry will run if nominated.) With American soldiers fighting overseas, this election offers one last vote on whether the forces put in motion around 1968 will also carry America forward into the new century--or stop, to be replaced, finally, by a new vision.
John Edwards has this much right: there are two Americas, but it's not the Rich vs the Rest like he's talking about. Nor is it the vertical Red vs Blue split. It's those still riding the last Kondratieff cultural wave, and those who are dealing with the next one.

As 1968 recedes into the past (it is now farther from us than Tet was from the Reichstag fire - imagine that) the worldview anchored in it grows increasingly inadequate as an accurate guide to interpreting reality; at what precise point in the curve will it/did it become a fantasy ideology?

posted by Kelly | 8:29 PM link
archives
email
links