Jocelyn Noveck wrote a piece for the AP this weekend (1/11/08) called In Obama, many see an end to the baby boomer era. She writes how President-Elect Obama, although technically a baby boomer, represents something different as President. Here is an excerpt to say it better:
He’s an example of a new pragmatism: idealistic but realistic,
post-partisan, unthreatened by dissent, eager and able to come up with
new ways to solve problems.
But this isn’t to say that he belongs to the Generation X group either. Gen X tends to be a pessimistic group and someone who writes a book about Hope is certainly not a pessimist.
And that is the power for President-Elect Obama, he transcend stories like this one. He is so different than anything easily pigeon holed. For example he is half black and half white, he grew up in Hawaii, he is mature, but not retirement age, and he smokes, but tries not to. There are aspects to his back story that practically anyone can identify with.
And because of this, the undertone of the story is spot on. This is the next chapter for American Leadership. America has changed and people who reflect that will slowly begin to be elected into office in Congress. President-Elect Obama was just the first because he figured out the formula. Just like President Clinton used The Arsenio Hall Show and MTV to get elected, President-Elect Obama used the internet, texting, and social networking sites. Others will too, some more successfully than others.
I’ve written before that I believe in 30 year Presidents. I don’t mean that literally, but from a large scale policy standpoint. For instance, the period that is about to end is very much reflective of President Ronald Reagan’s ideas. Before President Reagan it was Franklin D. Roosevelt that set the tone for the next 30ish years. And before him it was the youngest President, Theordore Roosevelt, who established how the US would conduct itself for three decades. I start to lose my sense of history, but I could argue that Abraham Lincoln was the first in this string (prior to Lincoln, the US has several democracy leaders that each added something during their term as the US evolved).
A valuable question to ask is what is the tipping point? If America has changed then it isn’t an overnight event. It is probably cumulative. And at some point it becomes apparent, like a 17 year old boy who puts on his school pants and realizes he grew two inches over the summer. Is it simply time? 30 Years?