Generational Dynamics: Forecasting America's Destiny Generational
 Forecasting America's Destiny ... and the World's


Generational Dynamics Web Log for 28-Sep-2009
After a week of foreign policy disasters, President Obama's entire program is adrift

Web Log - September, 2009

After a week of foreign policy disasters, President Obama's entire program is adrift

Obama's first term is indistinguishable from Bush's "third term."

I've been extremely critical of President Obama's policies, and the core of my criticism, which I first wrote about almost four years ago in "Barack Obama to Boomers: Drop dead!", is that Obama's world view is based on his contempt, typical of Generation-Xers, for the values and accomplishments of those in the Boomer and Silent generations.

According to Obama, Americans are sick of feuding Boomers, and ready to turn to Generation X, "after the campus culture wars between freaks and straights, and after young people had given up on what überboomer Hillary Rodham Clinton called in a 1969 commencement address a search for 'a more immediate, ecstatic and penetrating mode of living.' ... In the back and forth between Clinton and Gingrich, and in the elections of 2000 and 2004, I sometimes felt as if I were watching the psychodrama of the baby boom generation — a tale rooted in old grudges and revenge plots hatched on a handful of college campuses long ago — played out on the national stage."

In that same article I quoted Democratic advisor Paul Begala as saying, "I hate the Baby Boomers. They're the most self-centered, self-seeking, self-interested, self-absorbed, self-indulgent, self-aggrandizing generation in American history."

Obama and Begala are both Generation-Xers, and their contempt for and hatred of Boomers is typical of their generation. Boomers, growing up after the trauma of WW II, received a great deal of love, attention and privileges from their parents. By the time the Gen-Xers came along, growing up in the 60s and 70s, they didn't receive anything like the same level of attention, and came to have the attitudes expressed by Obama and Begala in the quotes above.

During the election campaign, Obama could say anything he wanted, as long as he criticized President Bush. He would receive wildly enthusiastic cheers from his supporters no matter what the content of his speech. As I wrote in July, 2008, in "Barack Obama in Berlin calls for greater European militarism," it was clear that the people, in America and Europe, who were wildly cheering Obama had absolutely no idea what he was talking about. They were cheering a fantasy Obama, not the real Obama standing before them.

Standing in front of an audience that cheers wildly no matter what you say is a like a drug-induced euphoria. You become addicted to the drug, you crave it more and more, and you begin to believe that the wild cheering is for the real you, not the fantasy in their minds. Thus, the fantasies held by the audience are transferred to the mind of the speaker like a kind of virus.

Obama frequently said that the world would change on January 20, 2009, as soon as he was inaugurated as President. His goal was to heal the world with his mere presence -- cure global warming, provide universal health care, close Guantanamo, leave Iraq in peace, bring a two-state solution to Palestinians and Israelis, beat the Taliban in Afghanistan, restore the stock market bubble, and dismantle President Bush's war against terror. Nothing was beyond his reach.

I was actually quite shocked by Obama's speeches after he won the election. Once he had won, he should have pulled back from some of his more quixotic and far-fetched campaign promises. Instead, much to my surprise, he seemed to become even more strident in claiming that the world would change on January 20.

That's when I really began to realize that Obama held a totally fantastical set of beliefs, that weren't just campaign rhetoric. He actually believed them. He really believed that there was no universal health care, that Guantanamo prison was open, that the Palestinians and Israelis could not agree to peace, etc. -- he really believed that these things were true because the Bush administration was simply evil and ideological, that it catered to special interests rather than to the best interests of the country, that all the country's problems really were caused by "the psychodrama of the baby boom generation — a tale rooted in old grudges and revenge plots hatched on a handful of college campuses long ago — played out on the national stage."

It's becoming increasingly clear that Obama himself has no strategic world view that goes beyond the reaction to what he calls the "psychodrama of the baby boom generation." He's deeply involved in the "old grudges and revenge plots" that he complained about in the Boomers.

This was apparent in his highly partisan nationally televised September 9 health care speech to Congress. For all that effort, I doubt that it changed a single person's mind. (Polls showed that his approval rating increased slightly after the speech, but the increase quickly dissipated.) If you watched the news in the following days, the only real discussion of the speech were the endless comments on Representative Joe Wilson's outburst "You lie!". The point is that the actual content of the speech was barely mentioned. It was a wasted speech.

A lot of the news this past week has taken place with Obama on the international stage. As usual, he's been a brilliant speaker, but he has nothing to show for it except a series of foreign policy disasters. Let's take a look at the issues:

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