Yesterday, the New York Times’ new resident neocon, Bill Kristol, made history with a spot-on assessment of the Billary vs. Obama struggle. Linky:
Today, the Times’ senior resident (perhaps erstwhile?) right-wing mouthpiece, David Brooks, waxes eloquently in favor of Ted Kennedy’s endorsement of Barack Obama, and lays piles of rhetorical bouquets at the feet of both men.
Something fundamental has shifted in the Democratic Party.
Last week there was the widespread revulsion at the Clintons’ toxic attempts to ghettoize Barack Obama. In private and occasionally in public, leading Democrats lost patience with the hyperpartisan style of politics – the distortion of facts, the demonizing of foes, the secret admiration for brass-knuckle brawling and the ever-present assumption that it’s necessary to pollute the public sphere to win. All the suppressed suspicions of Clintonian narcissism came back to the fore. Are these people really serving the larger cause of the Democratic Party, or are they using the party as a vehicle for themselves?
And then Monday, something equally astonishing happened. A throng of Kennedys came to the Bender Arena at American University in Washington to endorse Obama. Caroline Kennedy evoked her father. Senator Edward Kennedy’s slightly hunched form carried with it the recent history of the Democratic Party.
Kennedy went on to talk about the 1960s. But he didn’t talk much about the late-60s, when Bill and Hillary came to political activism. He talked about the early-60s, and the idealism of the generation that had seen World War II, the idealism of the generation that marched in jacket and ties, the idealism of a generation whose activism was relatively unmarked by drug use and self-indulgence.
Then, in the speech’s most striking passage, he set Bill Clinton afloat on the receding tide of memory. “There was another time,” Kennedy said, “when another young candidate was running for president and challenging America to cross a New Frontier.” But, he continued, another former Democratic president, Harry Truman, said he should have patience. He said he lacked experience. John Kennedy replied: “The world is changing. The old ways will not do!”
The audience at American University roared. It was mostly young people, and to them, the Clintons are as old as the Trumans were in 1960. And in the students’ rapture for Kennedy’s message, you began to see the folding over of generations, the service generation of John and Robert Kennedy united with the service generation of the One Campaign. The grandparents and children united against the parents.
It’s not clear how far this altered public mood will carry Obama in this election. But there was something important and memorable about the way the 75-year-old Kennedy communed and bonded with a rapturous crowd half a century his junior.
The old guy stole the show.
Here’s the linky:
All I can say is, WTF?
Are these guys really drinking our Kool Aid?
Conventional wisdom used to be that these guys would never say anything to really tear down HRC, cuz they so desperatly want her to be the Dem’s candidate.
Well, it’s all too much for me. Time to fire up a doobie and retire to the fainting couch.