Because behind the curve is what we do here at the Falcon's Gyre.
So anyway, we all know
In short, the parents of Generation X, of which I think myself part of the trailing edge. My parents.
They just won't let go of the issues of their youth, Broder says, all concerned for the mental well being of people his age. Don't we know by now that the Vietnam War is over? That Bob Dylan is a has-been? These things don't matter to America anymore!
Of particular gall is this part of the first page:
Modern presidential campaigns are essentially character tests, and for 20 years or longer the cultural and political divides of the 60s served as presumed signposts to a candidate’s character. Did he protest the war, trip to Hendrix, march in solidarity with women? Or enroll in R.O.T.C., rush a fraternity, join a church? As a young man, Mr. Obama did not have to make many of those choices, and he now has an opportunity to define himself on his own terms and not be instantly caricatured based on personal decisions he made four decades ago.
No, I guess Obama didn't have to make many of those choices. Of course, all of the choices he didn't have to make are those that Broder positions on the Hippie side of the equation: protest the (Vietnam) war, take drugs at Woodstock, march for equal rights. Those things, Broder would have us believe, are over and done with. Gone.
Except they aren't. We're still protesting wars, only these are in the hills of Iraq instead of the jungles of Nam. Drugs are still a problem, and you can still buy Hendrix albums (so you could potentially trip out to Hendrix, a weak point, I will grant you). Do you honestly think women were the only people marching in the 60s? There were a couple other marches, I seem to recall, about skin color or something.
And those on the Square side of the equation are still with us. I knew members of ROTC in college. I knew frat boys. Hell, I went to a couple frat parties but I soon learned that they liked their music turned up to 20 and their houses were too small for that, so I stopped going. Not to mention it was all just an excuse to get drunk. Oh, and churches are still there.
Obama is a member of a church. That's a choice he made. He did not join ROTC. That's a choice he made. As far as I know, he did not rush a fraternity. That's a choice he made. Were there no war protests in the 80s? Were there no drug-addled rock concerts? Were there no marches for equality? What, not even for gays and lesbians, transgendered individuals and fellow travelers? In the midst of AIDS? None?
So all of these choices that Broder says Obama did not have to make seem to position Obama in the Square column, and not in the Hippie column. Just the sort of person who's going to solve the problems of the 60s by ignoring them, right?
Broder does, of course, ignore that the 70s and the 80s -- Obama's adolescence and young adulthood -- had their own problems. Vietnam was not confined to the 60s. Nixon and Watergate. Oil troubles. Jimmy Carter's rabbit run-in, which Pat Oliphant seems to have decided defined the Carter administration. Oh, and the hostage crisis.
Of course, it would make
EDIT: I am informed by a reliable source in comments that this column is by John Broder, not David Broder. That's what I get for going off half-cocked, I suppose. Sorry for the error.