Three Things You Have to Understand About Today's Democratic Party
By Skanderbeg Posted in Archived — Comments (13) / Email this page » / Leave a comment »
This has been rattling around in the carnival ride that passes for my mind since the beginning of the year, and it seems that it's worth putting it all down on "paper" for discussion....
It is impossible to overstate the psychological rictus grip that the ghost of John F. Kennedy has on Democrats. He projected all that they want to be and have - charisma, youth, vigor, eloquence, etc. (Note that he projected these things, but even though the now-known truth turns out to have been much different.... the self-serving fantasy lives on.) And they've been searching for the "next" JFK ever since then.... and this has naturally spawned a whole range of pretenders desperate to fill the "messiah" slot. Anyone old enough to remember the bizarre 1984 Presidential campaign of Gary Hart (remember him?) will recall that former Senator Hart even took to clearly mimicking JFK's mannerisms, right down to patting back the hair on his temples with the flats of his hands.
Democrats haven't had a new idea since about 1965. Note that I said "new" rather than "good." Lyndon Johnson's "Great Society" was about the last novelty - since then, it's all been the same-old same-old with continually-updated packaging.
Democrats more-or-less figured that out around 1980, after the brutal and unexpected trouncing they took in that year's Presidential election. Since then, the main name of the game has been to find the best spokes-face to put on the same-old same-old as a marketing strategy (see 1 above.) (N.b. - Keep in mind that these people really DO believe that Ronald Reagan was a genteel bonehead who succeeded simply by "superior communications skills.") So the search-and-wait for the Messiah continues.
On that last (which was on my mind long before January), this might be the real reason that Hillary had that famous choke-up moment in New Hampshire - and why it might have been genuine. Typical of the "Woodstock generation," she is only capable of crying for herself - and here she was finally getting her turn to be the "marketing face" when along comes this upstart who is better at it and was going to steal her "turn."
While we're at it, we might as well delve a bit deeper into the mind of the Woodstocker.
Our younger readers can count themselves lucky that they never had to battle against that crew when they were in their prime - and to have to battle them from a position of youth and weakness. You can't understand that "68er" generation without grasping that they are a different animal - they are completely, totally self-absorbed and self-centered, and everything they touch plays out as an external form of their own internal psychodramas.
When President Bill came along, he seemed in many ways less an individual and more along the lines of one of those "composite psyche-based creatures" - literary examples of which I'm sure our more science-fiction-oriented readership can provide. Bill seemed like the synthetic reflection of a generation - a generation which always had a ridiculously high opinion of itself. When they looked at Bill, they were looking into a mirror at themselves - and they found that they didn't like what they saw. After years of self-congratulation for their own perceived high-mindedness, moral perfection, and self-image as the chosen children of history.... they looked in the "mirror" and saw their true selves of greed, petulance, self-indulgence, arrogant brutality toward others, and moral failure. So the rest of us got to be bystanders while a generation argued amongst itself about how to justify protecting their own disasters from reality.
So, try this on for size. The real Hillary-Barack conflict is yet another (and hopefully the last) playing-out of 68er psychodrama. This is a conflict between their fantasies and their realities. Hillary is 68er generational reality - the "forever young" generation is now north of 60, doesn't have much to show for it all, and can only make grubby appeals to sticking together and retaining the power that they always craved. Meanwhile, Barack (though much younger) strangely appeals to the fantasies of the 68ers - that they are FOREVER young and energetic and bubbly and charismatic.
The fantasy that they could be young, hip, and "progressive" for all eternity has collided with the reality that they're grayed, clapped-out, and past-expiry. How that psychodrama conflict plays out will explain a great deal about how things unfold on the other side over the next few months....