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The Texas Blue
Advancing Progressive Ideas

The Downhill Run

I don't want to get ahead of myself, but we could be seeing the beginning of the end of an era in politics. Not only could the Clinton family be out of the presidential business in the next few weeks, not only will the Bush family follow them in January, but we could be looking at the end of the Baby Boomer era in presidential politics on the horizon.

This nation, especially the Democratic Party, is poised to make a monumental decision in the upcoming Super Duper Extra-Cheese Tuesday Primaries on February 5. If enough delegates go to Senator Obama, not only would we have our first African American nominee, but we would have a new generation in power in the White House. In one fell swoop we would change the image of the Presidency for a generation, resetting the power in Washington to react to the younger, more progressive, more "in the now" generation.

As with 1992, our party could seize the opportunity to get our most vibrant generation into office. The generation that is ready and eager and experienced enough to take charge, but not yet at the inevitable point in their lives when they are out of touch with the young, whose energy must be harnessed to get things done in this country.

Before this turns into a rally, let's examine what this means. A president born in the 1960's grew up in the 70's and 80's. His generation sees the world differently than the aging Boomers. Obama and his generation are more internationalist than their forebears. They grew up in a world where our military might wasn't enough to win wars. Obama and his generation grew up in a time when the White House was a dingy gray. A President had resigned in disgrace, and three terms of Republican rule beginning in the 80's had driven huge wedges between the people of this country. This younger generation sees what Republican domination and the abandonment of the Democratic Party values of equality and fairness can really bring.

The Boomers had a short run, if you think about it: 16 years in office. Two Presidents. That's not even the length of a generation (generally measured at 20 years). The WWII generation so eclipsed them, reigning from 1950 to 1992, that the Baby Boomers were in their late 40's before they got a chance at the White House. The elections of Reagan and Bush kept their generation in the White House well beyond their prime years. Still, before we say they stayed too long, it was perhaps the most productive generation in American History. So their children, perhaps over-coddled and too interested in toeing the party line or bucking the establishment, may be headed to an early political retirement.

Also, before we declare the Baby Boomers a defunct generation, we still have a host of primaries to actually see through. Moreover, the eldest among them is 62. I doubt they would call themselves ready for the ash heap of history, and one of them may just have what it takes to change the presidency forever in her own right.

Maybe the Boomer's children and younger siblings will be more productive in office. Maybe, like the Baby Boomers, the generation born in the 1960's will be more apt to think of the entire world, and of the benefits of supporting the weakest among us.

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