Skip to comments.Hugh Hewitt: The End of the Sixties (Bush's victory marks the end, finally, of the '60s)
Posted on 11/03/2004 9:17:06 PM PST by RWR8189
More than a win for conservatism, Bush's victory marks the end, finally, of the '60s.
THE SIXTIES ended on September 11, 2001, but they were interred on the morning of November 3, 2004, when a senator from Massachusetts played the reverse role of another senator from Massachusetts 44 years earlier.
In November of 1960, John F. Kennedy had received a call from Richard Nixon, conceding the election, an act of statesmanship that still redounds to Nixon's credit. Nixon's chances of successfully waging a recount of Illinois and Texas votes were higher than Kerry's of contesting Ohio's votes from Tuesday, but both would have been long-shots, and both would have strained the country's reserves of civility. Both men chose well, and John Kerry's final act of Campaign 2004 was by far his best.
When the first JFK won, it set in motion events that would pummel America and its politics right through this just-completed campaign. The triumph of Jack Kennedy elevated style, new money, and a new elitism into the mainstream. It launched a war that would divide the country as none before--excepting the Civil War--had. It led to the credentialing of a media elite just now beginning a long overdue mass retirement. And it set in motion a swirl of cultural change that would culminate in the bipolarization of the political world into red and blue.
WHEN JOHN KERRY played Nixon to Kennedy's Bush, it brought the curtain down on this long-playing drama. Bill Clinton was the second, farcical Kennedy, and John Kerry was trying to be the third Kennedy--a serious, old European version of Camelot grown up. Vietnam was Kennedy's adventure, and it framed the Kerry campaign, if not the election. Bush and red state America were talking about a nearly completely different set of issues and priorities, divorced from the dramas of the '60s that still consume much of the left. Scratch one of Kerry's angry supporters and you'll find one of the old guard still organizing. What is MoveOn.org and the Michael Moore crowd but SDS grown up and using video cameras instead of bullhorns--gone gray and with bad knees, but still amusing the middle class with the rhetoric of rage against the backdrop of vast comfort?
THE BEST PART of the Democratic smash-up is the credentialing of a couple of new Democratic leaders who are completely untethered to the old guard. Ken Salazar beat Pete Coors in Colorado because it was hard not to like this genial rancher. Salazar's Mexican-American ethnicity was just part of the appeal he made, and not an angry part at all. Coors, ever the gentleman, couldn't disguise the fact that he, and most Coloradoans, thought Salazar a pretty decent guy. Salazar will be a new force in the Democratic party, a genuinely Western voice in a club too long dominated by Yalies and their Hollywood buddies.
The same can be said for Barak Obama. Goodbye tired old leadership elites that stridently grind and condemn. Obama comes to the table armed with smarts, charisma, and youth. John Kerry lost on Tuesday, but so did Sharpton, Jesse, Julian, and the rest of the old school. Obama will never say so, but the '60s era civil rights tactics are long past there prime. Salazar and Obama send a message to the GOP that cannot be missed either: Persuade the ethnic middle class that the policies of economic growth do genuinely work for them and not just their bankers, or understand that the next few years as a majoritarian party will be your last.
THE WORST LEGACY of the '60s was its Vietnam complex. The opposition to the war in Iraq--even after 9/11, even after inspections of the vast munitions dump that was Saddam's wasteland--was as much about legitimizing the huge mistakes of 1974 and 1975 as it was about concern of a new "quagmire." The collective trauma of those years--relived in the Swift Boat Vets' campaign and stage lit by the reactions they produced--had a last revival tour in 2004. When Senator Kerry called the president, it put a tombstone on that debate. It didn't end it, but it is hard to see how it will ever play on center stage again. Everyone is too damn old, and sick to death of the shouting.
A NEW LEFT, confident of American power in the service of security at home and freedom abroad, could still emerge. Joe Biden has to be shoved aside, and Joe Lieberman elevated. Pat Leahy has to get an elbow and a talking to about how his extremism has played over two election cycles. In short, the old left has to let go, and let the new left grow up and learn to shun the nuts like Michael Moore while learning to support American foreign policy.
Scoop Jackson is long gone, but his party needs him back. Folks like Salazar and Obama can be part of that necessary revival. But only if the ghosts of the '60s are finally exorcised, or at least exiled to Hollywood.
John Kerry's call to the White House yesterday was a bold act, and one for which I am genuinely grateful. There were no doubt voices around him who urged a scorched earth campaign, and it would have had some upside for the radical caucus, even though it would have been a long-term loser. Money would have been raised, lawyers made famous, and the commentariat fed fresh controversy. It wasn't an easy decision, just the right one. One that the new democrats in Afghanistan and Iraq should study and keep in mind. Losing an election isn't the end of the world. Countries should celebrate and honor those who concede quickly and with grace.
Hugh Hewitt is the host of a nationally syndicated radio show, and author most recently of If It's Not Close, They Can't Cheat: Crushing the Democrats in Every Election and Why Your Life Depends Upon It. His daily blog can be found at HughHewitt.com.
Hugh!! He kept me going strong all night Tuesday. That dude rules!!!!
What I wanted, more than anything else is for the 60's mentality to die the big death this week. I'm sure they'll rear their ugly heads again but I believe we've made good progress in beating them into submission.
YOUR CHOICE OF
FLIP-FLOPPER - PAINT BALLED - RED FACED
She was to paint-ball his ass the bright orange that would make him the king of all his Swift Boat followers ... or should it be the "bad'est red-ass" of them all ??
She could not tell, from his flip-flops, the difference from his face and his ... democrapic donky!
What an ass !
I think I should move to Nebraska or Oklahoma
Idiocy never dies in a triumph of glory...it gets repackage as a new and improved Democrat.
I hope so.... I'm of the '80s generation and have had all I can take of those 60's crackpots - they have caused a lot of damage to this country - just look at how things were before their dang revolution - I don't mean some of the bad things just the decent things like getting dressed before you leave the house - not worrying about being sued if someone hurts themselves in front of your house, not having to have half naked people on primetime television....just basic common sense and decency......we had it in the 80's then they reared their ugly little heads again.....
Ken Salazar is a conservative Democrat. A rare species out West to be sure but one his party is in sore need of. A pretty decent guy to be elected in GOP Colorado.
What concerns me is these a*sh*les are like Rasputin. they keep getting driven into the ground but never learn. They are so surrounded by their ilk, they think we are radical and they are mainstream. I am concerned after thir blood levels are set with their prozac and thorazine dosages that they will think they are <-> this close because they almost got Kerry elected. They will be unable to look at the big picture how the 2004 election furthur marganilzed them.
Many of them are still in government, several were high level Clinton appointees.
I think it was Kerry, it was his call. But I don't think he's stupid, and I think he did the math, and saw it was a NO WIN situation.
And good for Bush for hanging fire until Kerry conceded.
The country needed this, just an election, a result; enough controversy to keep the talking heads jaw-jawing, but no bone thrown to our enemies.
Nuke Ithaca, it's the only way to be sure.
LOL - stealin' that!
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