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


Generational Dynamics Web Log for 4-Nov-2008
What to expect from a Barack Obama presidency

Web Log - November, 2008

What to expect from a Barack Obama presidency

A landslide victory on Tuesday now seems all but certain.

A number of people have asked me which candidate I favor for the Presidency.

For reasons that I've stated many times, I consider both John McCain and Barack Obama to be fine candidates, and I do not favor either one over the other. It is impossible to predict which candidate will be better able to handle the historic crises that are approaching.

However, from the point of view of Generational Dynamics, there are important, identifiable differences between the two, and on the eve of the almost-certain election of Barack Obama, it seems worthwhile to outline them.

A victory for McCain means "more of the same," as his opponents claim, but not exactly as they mean. A victory for McCain means a continuation of Boomer values, as they grew out of the 1960s. Thus, a victory for McCain means a continuation of domestic and foreign policies developed by President Carter, President Reagan, President Bush (#41), President Clinton, and President Bush (#43). And yes, I'm once again making the point that I've made many times before that if Al Gore had been President after 9/11, we'd be in exactly the same place today as we are.

A victory for Barack Obama -- combined with a substantial Democratic Party victory in Congress -- means something quite different. It means a sharp turn into a new, unknown direction and a new, unknown set of values. People in Obama's generation reject Boomer values, often simply BECAUSE they are Boomer values, and so whatever new values the government adopts are going to be different and untested.

Obama partisans see "change" as an unmitigated benefit, but that's far from true. It's going to be different, it's going to be a sharp rejection of Boomer values, accomplishments and compromises, it's going to provide some benefits, and it's going to provide disasters in other areas. Exactly what that mix of benefit and disaster will be cannot be predicted at this time.

That's not to say that an Obama victory is better or worse for the United States than a McCain victory. The country is facing a historic financial crisis and a new "Clash of Civilizations" world war either way. But President Obama would be likely to over-react to dangerous situations, simply because he'll be unable to resist pressure from his own partisans. McCain is older and has the credibility to say, "Let's wait a few days before doing anything," but that would be much harder for Obama.

I think it's worthwhile to address the charges of "anti-Americanism" by Obama. And for this, I'd like to contrast Obama to the 2004 Democratic presidential candidate, John Kerry.

Obama was accused of being anti-American because of his close relationship with Reverend Jeremiah Wright, who is about as vitriolic a hater of this country as anyone. Obama claims that he never knew of Wright's views, but I've never believed that story for a moment.

In fact, Wright's hatred of America is part of the culture of older-generation blacks in southern Africa, as I've described in writing about people like Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe and South Africa's Thabo Mbeki. Barack Obama was a community organizer in a community that shared this southern African view. In fact, Obama has never, as far as I know, explained his reason for his celebrated opposition to the Iraq war in 2002, but I feel fairly certain it's because of his cultural surroundings, where America is hated, and its military is considered to be modern day terrorists and Nazis.

Now, long-time readers may recall that I was bitterly critical of John Kerry in 2004, because of remarks he had made in 1971. In 1971, Kerry said that American soldiers were committing war crimes "on a day-to-day basis with the full awareness of officers at all levels of command." These atrocities included rape, torture, and cutting off ears, heads and limbs.

Kerry did not use the words "Nazis" and "terrorists," but it was pretty clear to me that that's what he was saying.

I was wondering if Kerry still held those same views in 2004, but I could never get an answer. Finally, in 2006, I did get an answer, as I reported in "John Kerry and Seymour Hersh trash the armed forces." Kerry said on a radio show, "The American people rely on the truth. And when I came back from Southeast Asia, I told the truth. And I'm proud that I stood up and told the truth then, and I've told the truth about Iraq every single step of the way."

So, in 2004, Kerry still retained his despicable previous views. It's my opinion that if a Kerry presidency would have been an utter disaster, because we would have had the War against Terror led by a President who believed that his own armed forces were worse terrorists and Nazis than al-Qaeda.

But here's the contrast between Kerry and Obama. Maybe Obama drank the Reverend Wright kool-aid, maybe he didn't completely. But Obama has totally rejected and repudiated both Reverend Wright and his former anti-American views.

I've seen Obama on television several times now, including the excellent interview by Bill O'Reilly. I feel personally comfortable that Obama has never thoroughly shared Wright's vitriolic hatred, and if he shared it at all, he's rejected it.

In other words, Obama has changed his mind, where Kerry did not. Obama can't admit that he changed his mind, of course, so he made up this cock and bull story about not knowing what Wright's views are. I personally have no problem with his changing his mind, and I have no doubt that Obama will be as patriotic and devoted a President as McCain would be. Both men are dedicated to the success and survival of America in the world crises to come.

Obama's partisans have the view, encouraged by Obama himself, that things are going to "change," and that the economy and foreign relations are going to improve overnight. In fact, I've been hearing Obama make claims that things are going to start changing on Wednesday, the day after the election. That'll be a pretty good trick.

Unfortunately, a lot of people believe it, and they're going to be bitterly disappointed.

Here are some things to watch for after an Obama victory:

The above is my summary of what an Obama presidency will be like. But as I've said many times before, there's no way to know whether this presidency would be better or worse for the country than a McCain presidency. The financial disaster and the world war are coming anyway, and there's no way to predict whether McCain's caution or Obama's over-reactions are better for what's coming. In fact, we'll never know.

An Obama Presidency promises to be both exciting and scary. It'll be fun to watch, except for the disasters.

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, as well as more frequent updates on this subject, see the Presidential Election thread of the Generational Dynamics forum.) (4-Nov-2008) Permanent Link
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