The day has dawned, folks. Nothing left to do but vote. I suggest voting as early in the day as possible.
There is a lot of good commentary available today, none of which was written by David Brooks. Brooks has outdone himself in teh stupid today, warning us Obama supporters that we can’t imagine the deprivation that awaits us.
His [Obama’s] upscale, post-boomer cohort has rallied behind him with unalloyed fervor. Major college newspapers have endorsed him at a rate of 63 to 1. The upscale educated class â€” from the universities, the media, the law and the financial centers â€” has financed his $600 million campaign (which relied on big-dollar donations even more heavily than George W. Bushâ€™s 2004 effort). This cohort will soon become the ruling class.
And the irony is that they will be confronted by the problem for which they have the least experience and for which they are the least prepared: the problem of scarcity.
Raised in prosperity, favored by genetics, these young meritocrats will have to govern in a period when the demands on the nationâ€™s wealth outstrip the supply. They will grapple with the growing burdens of an aging society, rising health care costs and high energy prices. They will have to make up for the trillion-plus dollars the government will spend to avoid a deep recession. They will have to struggle to keep their promises to cut taxes, create an energy revolution, pass an expensive health care plan and all the rest.
Most of the post-boomers I know live extremely frugally, often because they are still paying off college loans and because the basic costs of living eats their entire income. The Gen Y post-boomers in particular are the first generation in living memory with no expectation that they look forward to lives of growing wealth.
However, Brooks imagines that, because Obama’s supporters tend to be more educated than McCain’s, Obama supporters are all well-to-do.
Barack Obama is a child of the 1960s. His mother was born only five years earlier than Hillary Clinton. For people in Obamaâ€™s generation, the great disruption had already occurred by the time they hit adulthood. Theirs is a generation of consolidation and neo-traditionalism â€” a generation of sunscreen and bicycle helmets, more anxious about parenthood than anything else.
Obama is not only a member of this temperate generation, but of its most educated segment. He has lived nearly his entire adult life within a few miles of one or another of the countryâ€™s top 10 universities.
I think the “great disruption” Brooks refers to is the 1960s.
Certainly there are plenty of young and affluent people who are keenly interested in sunscreen and bicycle helmets. But Brooks assumes the young folks supporting Obama have no idea what scarcity is and have not a care in the world regarding their financial futures.
This, I think, tells us a lot about why the Right (of which Brooks is a member and spear carrier, even though he pretends not to be) has no clue how to appeal to most voters now. In all their screaming about “liberal elitists” they failed to notice that the leadership and intelligentsia (a word I use loosely) of the Right is as spoiled, as insulated, and as elitist as any group of people since the court of Louis XIV.
Weâ€™re probably entering a period, in other words, in which smart young liberals meet a stone-cold scarcity that they do not seem to recognize or have a plan for.
Actually there is a plan for it, which is why smart young liberals (and some of us old ones, too) have worked so hard to take the government away from the Right so we can implement it. It is unfortunate that the gross mismanagement of the Bush Administration has left us with few resources to carry out the plan, but most of us liberal know what has to be done.
We need to stop shoveling money to the already wealthy, to war contractors, to special interests, and instead invest in America. We need to repair infrastructure. We need to invest in education, in new technology, in new industries. We need to stop treating American workers as “cost,” as an expendable resource that can be easily replaced in the third world. We need to relieve both individuals and business of the crushing costs of feeding the health insurance racket.
We need to realize that America has finite resources, and we must set priorities and make cost effective use of those resources for the benefit of the greater good — all of the people of the U.S. — and not to enhance profits that benefit only a select few.
We need to remember that government exists to serve the people, not the other way around.
It’s the Right that doesn’t get that, Mr. Brooks. And that’s why you’ll be losing a lot of elections today.