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Ideological Crossroads: Gen X Marks the Spot (Xers Turning More Conservative as they age; Gen Y too)
Gallup ^ | September 2, 2003 | Darren K. Carlson

Posted on 09/02/2003 4:51:44 PM PDT by Timesink

GALLUP TUESDAY BRIEFING

Government & Public Affairs
September 2, 2003

Ideological Crossroads: Gen X Marks the Spot

by Darren K. Carlson, Contributing Editor

A special analysis* of Gallup data on the politics of Americans between the ages of 25 and 38 -- post-baby boomers who correspond roughly to "Generation X" -- points toward a more conservative ideology than one might expect, given their relatively young age. Two survey questions focusing on respondents' stances on social and economic issues shed light on where Gen Xers stand ideologically.

Socially Balanced

The famous 1960's admonition to "never trust anybody over 30" alluded to people's penchant to grow more conservative as they get older. Gallup's data suggest that this transition toward conservatism may occur closer to age 40 than age 30.

When asked about their views on social issues, the youngest American adults (18- to 24-year-olds) skew slightly liberal, with 36% saying they are liberal on social issues, compared to 27% who say they are conservative (another 36% say they are moderate on social issues). Gen Xers are more ideologically balanced: 31% identify themselves as liberal, 33% as conservative, and 34% as moderates.

That shift toward conservative thought on social issues plays out among Gen Xers' elders: among those aged 39 and older, just 19% say they are liberal on social issues, while 40% are conservative and 38% say they are moderates.

Conservatism Rooted in the Economy

Americans' earning power and responsibility levels tend to increase with age. With more at stake than their younger counterparts, 25- to 38-year-olds are more conservative when it comes to economics, although not as conservative as older Americans.

The ideology pattern regarding economic issues is similar to that observed on social issues. Members of the youngest age group (18- to 24-year-olds) are the most likely of the age groups to identify themselves as economically liberal (26%), though more in this age group say they are economically conservative (33%) or moderate (40%). The group loosely corresponding to Generation X is somewhat more conservative on economic issues. One in five Gen Xers identify as economically liberal, compared to 39% who are economically conservative and 39% who are moderate.

The trend toward economic conservatism rises sharply after age 38, as 47% of Americans aged 39 and older say they are conservative on economic issues, compared to 12% who say they are liberal, and 38% who call themselves moderate.

Bottom Line

Gen Xers are more likely than those under 25 to identify themselves as conservatives, although many Gen X conservatives say they are political independents rather than Republicans. This dichotomy may be driven by the differentiation between Gen Xers' social and economic ideologies. On social issues, people in this group are fairly ideologically balanced, while on economic issues, they're more likely to skew conservative. Gen Xers are still very much the "middle generation" in American society.

*Results based on an aggregate of telephone interviews with 3,028 American adults, aged 18 and older, taken from polls conducted each May from 2001 through 2003. For results based on the total sample, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±2 percentage points.

For the sample of 285 18- to 24-year-olds, the maximum margin of sampling error is ±6 percentage points.

For the sample of 733 25- to 38-year-olds, the maximum margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points.

For the sample of 1,983 Americans 39 and older, the maximum margin of sampling error is ±2 percentage points.


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; Extended News; Front Page News; Philosophy; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: 20somethingslist; conservatism; generationx; generationy; genx; geny; polls; publicopinionlist
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Note that even Gen Y is 63% conservative/moderate and only 36% liberal, a 2-1 repudiation of hardcore liberalism. These are kids in college!

WE ARE WINNING!


1 posted on 09/02/2003 4:51:45 PM PDT by Timesink
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To: *20somethings_list; *Public_Opinion_List
bump for bump lists
2 posted on 09/02/2003 4:53:31 PM PDT by Timesink
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To: Timesink
Meanwhile, Generation Z females dress like prostitutes, and countless males have been neurologically neutered. Don't get overconfident.
3 posted on 09/02/2003 4:56:54 PM PDT by thoughtomator (Coleman 2003!)
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To: Timesink
27 year old Gen-X Conservative here. These findings do not come as a surprise to me. While many of us may not be devout churchgoers, we are still sick of crooks taking money out of our pocket to pay for the BOOMERS (the enemy, except mom and dad) prescription drug scheme, see Socialist Security as the pyramid scheme it always was and we do not see personal responsability as a novel idea!
4 posted on 09/02/2003 5:10:21 PM PDT by Clemenza (East side, West side, all around the town. Tripping the light fantastic on the sidewalks of New York)
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To: thoughtomator
Meanwhile, Generation Z females dress like prostitutes, and countless males have been neurologically neutered. Don't get overconfident.

Methinks Gen Z may turn out to be the "new boomers." Nevertheless, we GenX males see firsthand the damage the Publik Edyoucation system has wreaked on young boys (males get ritalin, girls get "extra help"). We need a groundswell for SINGLE SEX EDUCATION NOW!

5 posted on 09/02/2003 5:12:25 PM PDT by Clemenza (East side, West side, all around the town. Tripping the light fantastic on the sidewalks of New York)
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To: Timesink
I'm 35, not clear what generation I am, but I've been a conservative since the 1980 election - I was a 12-year old Reagan Man growing up in the streets of NYC! Ah, the memories! ;-)
6 posted on 09/02/2003 5:14:27 PM PDT by HitmanLV (I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed or numbered. My life is my own.)
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To: Timesink
I always forget who said it... if you're under 30(?) and you're a Repub you have no heart, over 30 and a Democrat you have no brain.
7 posted on 09/02/2003 5:21:17 PM PDT by The Brush
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To: Timesink
This seems accurate. GenX definitely has a conservative streak, just not "religious" conservative. I would describe it as pragmatic libertarianism. It is the "small, unobtrusive government" part of conservatism that really appeals to them at the core (which also probably explains why Dubya only gets a lukewarm reception with a lot of GenX).
8 posted on 09/02/2003 5:23:10 PM PDT by tortoise (All these moments lost in time, like tears in the rain.)
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To: HitmanNY
I am 30, and I was rooting for Reagan to win in 1980 also.
9 posted on 09/02/2003 5:23:22 PM PDT by Chewbacca (Stay out of debt. Pay cash. When you run out of cash, stop buying things.)
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To: Chewbacca
I remember being deleriously happy on election night, 1980. I hated Carter so much - even at 12 I knew he was a chump. Between the long gas lines I would see in city gas stations (we didn't have a car but I was one aware kid!), and the national humiliation during the hostage crisis, I knew Reagan was the smart choice.

I was in high school in 1984, when Mondale got squashed. I went to Regis High in NYC, where the student body was widely conservative, and the teachers more progressive. Go figure! ;-) 49 state squash sure took the wind out of those square teacher;'s sails! :-)

I was at Vassar College in 1988 when Bush won - the general student population wore black arm bands the next day. Childish! Still, it was a good night.

I had the pleasure of working at a NY law firm on during election 2000, and that too provides some tender memories!

Liberals stink, plain and simple!
10 posted on 09/02/2003 5:28:41 PM PDT by HitmanLV (I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed or numbered. My life is my own.)
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To: Timesink
From the looks of what passes for a "conservative" any more I think the conservatives moved to them more than them coming to the conservatives. Face it, we got 1 big liberal party going on in DC
11 posted on 09/02/2003 5:33:51 PM PDT by steve50 (Power takes as ingratitude the writhing of it's victims : Tagore)
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To: The Brush
I always forget who said it... if you're under 30(?) and you're a Repub you have no heart, over 30 and a Democrat you have no brain.

Nobody said this (well, besides you :-).

There is a quote which (in various phrasing) is often attributed to Winston Churchill, but (of course) this quote mentions neither "Democrats" nor "Republicans" since being a Brit he would not have thought in those terms. The quote people cite mentions "liberals" and "conservatives", and further, if Churchill actually said it, he would have meant something quite different by the word "liberal" (and for that matter "conservative") than most Americans do today.

Furthermore, there is some doubt as to whether Churchill ever said such a thing.

And besides, I've always disagreed with that quote, whoever said or didn't say it, and however it is phrased.

12 posted on 09/02/2003 5:34:50 PM PDT by Dr. Frank fan
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I'm 18, does that make me generation Y? Oh well, I'm conservative (My www.politicalcompass.score is 9.4 for economics, and 3.5 for politics), and most of my friends are as well.
13 posted on 09/02/2003 5:39:11 PM PDT by JohnnyRidden (Your Already Dead-Kenshiro)
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To: HitmanNY
I'm a 34 year old female and I too have been a conservative since the 1980 election!
14 posted on 09/02/2003 5:43:03 PM PDT by Arpege92
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To: Timesink
As Britain's wartime Prime Minister Winston Churchill said,
"At age 20 you're a liberal because you have a heart; at age 40 you're a conservative because you have a brain." This astute man, one who will go down in the history of the world as one of the greatest political leaders ever, was indeed a profound person.
15 posted on 09/02/2003 5:45:41 PM PDT by BluH2o
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To: Clemenza
I too am a genx conservative! We are out there in force!
16 posted on 09/02/2003 5:49:05 PM PDT by hilaryrhymeswithrich
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To: steve50
From the looks of what passes for a "conservative" any more I think the conservatives moved to them more than them coming to the conservatives. Face it, we got 1 big liberal party going on in DC

Do we have many conservatives in DC? I know we have lots of Democrats and self-styled Republicans.

17 posted on 09/02/2003 5:50:05 PM PDT by Eala (There is, however, a limit at which forbearance ceases to be a virtue. --Burke)
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To: HitmanNY
"I'm 35, not clear what generation I am, but I've been a conservative since the 1980 election - I was a 12-year old Reagan Man growing up in the streets of NYC! Ah, the memories! ;-)"

Spooky. Exact same with me, but in NJ!


18 posted on 09/02/2003 5:51:23 PM PDT by At _War_With_Liberals
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To: Arpege92
At 41 I'm NO Boomer, I hate and abominate the Boom generation and all its pomps and works. Cast my first vote for GHWB in Spring '80 and my second for RR in November '80. Never looked back.

They don't have a label for us yet tho. Gen W? :-)

Of course, the REAL question: what will they call my one-year old? Generation Z'? Generation A? (One friend of mine suggested 'Generation Wumba,' the first letter from Dr. Seuss's "On Beyond Zebra"....)
19 posted on 09/02/2003 5:56:38 PM PDT by Ronly Bonly Jones
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To: Arpege92
Awesome! Election night 1980 was a classic!
20 posted on 09/02/2003 5:57:36 PM PDT by HitmanLV (I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed or numbered. My life is my own.)
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To: Dr. Frank
"if you're under 30(?) and you're a Repub you have no heart, over 30 and a Democrat you have no brain."

I agree. This is false. An excuse for partially reformed liberals who now realize that they were not too sharp in their thinking back then and supported an ideology that was false and now hurtful to them personally. Many of these converts have socialist tendencies. Not all, but many...
21 posted on 09/02/2003 5:58:20 PM PDT by At _War_With_Liberals
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To: At _War_With_Liberals
Keep the faith! The tristate area needed us in that time! I'm pretty sure NYS went for Reagan in '80, as well as 84. They lost their way after that, and I consider the Empire State hopeless now.
22 posted on 09/02/2003 5:59:45 PM PDT by HitmanLV (I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed or numbered. My life is my own.)
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To: BluH2o
Churchill was all that you say he was, but it's probably a false quote.
23 posted on 09/02/2003 6:00:41 PM PDT by Dr. Frank fan
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To: HitmanNY
It certainly was!
24 posted on 09/02/2003 6:14:52 PM PDT by Arpege92
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To: Ronly Bonly Jones
"What will they call my one-year old?"


Smarter....hopefully there generation will have learned from our mistakes! Your one-year old is off to a pretty good start anyway....my eleven year old has and we are not done yet! :-}
25 posted on 09/02/2003 6:18:43 PM PDT by Arpege92
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To: Dr. Frank
Nobody said this (well, besides you :-).

Well then I'm going to go on record as having said it.. just make certain you spell my name right.

26 posted on 09/02/2003 6:19:30 PM PDT by The Brush
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To: HitmanNY
"I consider the Empire State hopeless now.



just like NJ.

I went to St Peter's Prep. My father went to Xavier.
27 posted on 09/02/2003 6:21:52 PM PDT by At _War_With_Liberals
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To: Timesink
Um, I thought generations were approximately 20 years, not 13. If the boomers were from '45 to '64, and 'Gen X' started in 1965, that would meant it ended around 1984, and 'Gen Y' are those who are now 19 down to newborns. Those born next year or so would be 'Gen Z' or whatever.

I know 20 years isn't exact, but 13 years is way too short. Many of what are called Gen Y are really the second half of what is called Gen X. No big deal, the Baby Boomers have two halves as well that are pretty different from each other in perspective.
28 posted on 09/02/2003 6:45:07 PM PDT by Free Vulcan
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To: tortoise
GenX definitely has a conservative streak, just not "religious" conservative. I would describe it as pragmatic libertarianism.

I agree with this - my GenX sis, myself (on the GenX cusp at 39) and a lot of people I know and she knows think this way. Most of them aren't religious but they sure aren't liberal. The phrase "South Park Republican" comes to mind.

LQ

29 posted on 09/02/2003 7:05:12 PM PDT by LizardQueen
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To: Timesink
I'm 18 years old and have just started college at Stetson U. in Deland, FL. Here, in spite of your usual liberal organizations put out by the professors and higher-ups, there are a lot of conservative students here. For the club fair last week, the College Republicans were kept busy by the constant flow of people coming for info. In contrast, the Dems didn't even show up. Overall, I would have to say that most students don't care about politics. However, based on the feeling here at Stetson and on websites such as this, I feel that the number of young conservatives has increased in recent years.
30 posted on 09/02/2003 7:12:33 PM PDT by PPHSFL (God Bless America)
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To: At _War_With_Liberals
Right ... Here's a better one:


Liberalism/Socialism is the philosophy of the 7 year-old (dependence)
Libertarianism is the philosophy of the 17 year-old (independence)

Conservatism is the philosophy of the 27-77 year olds (interdependence)

After 77 they slip back into liberalism/dependence :-(

31 posted on 09/02/2003 7:21:05 PM PDT by WOSG (Lower Taxes means economic growth)
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To: Free Vulcan
"No big deal, the Baby Boomers have two halves as well that are pretty different from each other in perspective."

That's the truth! According the the boomer definition of '45-'64, I'm a boomer ('56), but I've never identified with the boomers. I was too young to participate in the wild times of the '60's, so although I remember the war, the music, the drugs, and the commotion, I was an observer more than a participant. I've had to live with a lot of chaos wrought by the self-centered leading wave of the boomer generation, and I have often resented them. My brother was born in '52, and sometimes it's as though we grew up on different planets.

32 posted on 09/02/2003 7:37:56 PM PDT by Think free or die
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To: Free Vulcan
There is no generation Z we X'ers reserve the right to name our children's generation. The highly creative boomers came up with X and Y we'll be better at naming their generation. My son was born in 1998 and I kindly ask you boomers to shut up and let me name his generation.

My father was a boomer (born 1945) and I am a classic Gen X (1971) and gen Y falls into the 1979-1994 group. Also please get busy dying since there are 40% fewer X'ers than boomers and I don't want to pay your medicare bills, that is if my job doesn't get offshored.
33 posted on 09/02/2003 7:39:00 PM PDT by RockyMtnMan
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To: RockyMtnMan
Our boys are born in '93 and '95. I've heard folks refer to this group as millennials ('82-'03). I just call them kids.

Is it OK with you if we put off dying until we've taken care of our aging parents and raised our own younsters? We're plenty worried about offshoring too. Lots of responsibilities left before we depart this earth.

34 posted on 09/02/2003 8:01:47 PM PDT by Think free or die
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To: Think free or die
My parents are on their own just like I was growing up. I guess I should thank them for all the alone time I had.
35 posted on 09/02/2003 8:12:08 PM PDT by RockyMtnMan
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To: Ronly Bonly Jones
At 41 I'm NO Boomer, I hate and abominate the Boom generation and all its pomps and works.

I'm the same age, similar situation. We are probably on the cusp -- not really "belonging" to either generation.

The whole hippie thing -- with it's drug experimentation, sloppy clothing and the rest -- it never appealed to me. I just didn't see the point of acting like a drug-addled bum. I never understood utopianism and fanaticism -- be it religious or political. I never understood the people who got all enthusiastic about Mao or Castro -- I just could not imagine how anyone could believe in a dictator. I think my first political thought was that all dictators are pretty much the same and anyone who believes in them is a fool.

My skeptical frame of mind often got me into some types of trouble even as it helped me avoid other types of trouble.

My parents were of the WWII generation. I think one of the first political discussions they had with me was about how stupid the West was to have appeased Hitler for all those years. Fear of appeasement formed my view of the Soviet Union.

In 1976 two important things happened -- I saw Ronald Reagan give a speech, and I also read Hayak's "Road to Serfdom." By the way, I was one of the lucky people who shook Ronald Reagan's hand as he passed by the crowd. I was happy when I could finally vote for him in 1980. In a way it seems like yesterday, and in a way it seems like a long time ago.

36 posted on 09/02/2003 8:18:55 PM PDT by Wilhelm Tell (Lurking since 1997!)
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To: WOSG
That breakdown suits me...
37 posted on 09/02/2003 8:20:19 PM PDT by At _War_With_Liberals
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To: Free Vulcan
'Gen Y' are those who are now 19 down to newborns. Those born next year or so would be 'Gen Z' or whatever.

The youngest generation today, imo, begins with the children too young to remember 9/11/2001.

38 posted on 09/02/2003 8:31:36 PM PDT by Anomaly in Illinois ((never forget !))
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To: qam1
ping!
39 posted on 09/02/2003 8:31:57 PM PDT by Fraulein (TCB)
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To: RockyMtnMan
A lot of Boomers were (and are) self-absorbed parents. My parents didn't have as much time for us as I'd have liked, but it was due to the rigors of starting over in America, having fled Eastern Europe after WWII. They weren't partying or earning money for luxuries for themselves. I'm sorry things weren't better for you; kids really get shortchanged sometimes.
40 posted on 09/02/2003 8:56:37 PM PDT by Think free or die
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To: Timesink
This will sound very mean...but until the baby boomers die off, particularly since there are so many of them...the society won't shift much as a whole.
I look at all those aging anchors particularly, with waxing sentiment over their impending doom.
41 posted on 09/02/2003 8:56:54 PM PDT by Katya
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To: Ronly Bonly Jones
At 41 I'm NO Boomer, I hate and abominate the Boom generation and all its pomps and works.

Same here--I'm 40 and take anyone to task that calls me a baby boomer.

42 posted on 09/02/2003 9:12:52 PM PDT by randog (Everything works great 'til the current flows.)
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To: tortoise; LizardQueen
I'm Gen X conservative and I am a registered Independent as the above article indicates. Libertarian is totally different from Independent.
43 posted on 09/02/2003 9:13:13 PM PDT by kuma
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To: Timesink
Is the baby boom generation predominantly liberal?

They must be p*ssed that their kids are not adopting their "values."

(I can just hear the talk at the dinner table:
Son, How could you do this to us? Your mother and I didn't work two jobs, put you in daycare, divorce, cohabitate, remarry, and vote Democratic, so that you would grow up and become a Conservative! Haven't we teached you anything?!)

44 posted on 09/02/2003 9:19:40 PM PDT by wai-ming
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To: HitmanNY
Awesome! Election night 1980 was a classic!

I grew up in a family that was genetically encoded democrat. I remember my mother crying when Carter lost that election. Four years later, I cast my first vote for president....for Ronald Reagan. I think that was the first time anyone in my family voted for a Republican....I think we all vote that way now.

45 posted on 09/02/2003 9:25:25 PM PDT by SC Swamp Fox (Aim small, miss small.)
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To: RockyMtnMan
Dude, I was born in '68, we could have went to high school together. I hate 'Gen X, Y, Z, ad nauseum' too but I don't know what else to use. Just making the point that generations are considered to be roughly 20 years, not 10-15.
46 posted on 09/02/2003 9:26:33 PM PDT by Free Vulcan
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To: Timesink
Of course we are winning the younger generations!

We are the ones with the new ideas. We are fighting terror, repealing taxes, killing bad foreign treaties such as Kyoto, ABM, and the International Criminal Court (no appeal, no juries, no Miranda rights). We are the ones who want to hand out private school choice vouchers.

Furthermore, technology such as new 3d and 4d sonagrams are convincing more and more people that fetuses really are living babies (imagine that).

In contrast, the Democrats have no new ideas. We've heard their gibberish about enviro-nonsense since before they banned DDT and condemned entire continents to epidemics and plagues. We've heard their pro-choice views since before Roe v Wade. We've heard their healthcare nationalization ideas since before Hillary was in the White House.

How can such tired old ideas be expected to sway younger generations?

In fact, to keep the younger generations from defecting en masse, the Democrats have been compelled to go further and further into Demonizations of Republicans. They have to label us as "haters," "anti-gay," "anti-choice," and even "Racist."

But even that sort of vicious demonization can't be expected to hold the loyalty of younger generations of voters.

Without new ideas of their own, such demonizations can do little more than reduce the overall level of interest in elections by those generations.

47 posted on 09/02/2003 9:37:28 PM PDT by Southack (Media bias means that Castro won't be punished for Cuban war crimes against Black Angolans in Africa)
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To: Think free or die
Lots of responsibilities left before we depart this earth.

NO!!!!!

Please GO away

Your generation the baby boomers have done enough already.

That's one (of many) problems the me, me, me baby boomers have, They believe they are the most enlightened group of people ever to inhabit the earth and that only they can fix all the problems in world if just the other simpleton generations would just listen to them and embrace their brillance and do as they say (But of course not as they do/did) and give them everything they feel they are owed.

Of course to the rest of us, We know it was/is the baby boomers who caused/exacerbated 99% of the problems facing America today and despite their delusions of granduer America and the world will be a much better place once they are all gone.

48 posted on 09/02/2003 9:49:57 PM PDT by qam1 (Don't Patikify New Jersey)
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To: qam1
Ahem, The responsibilities I refer to are taking care of my own family. My youngest is 7. I think your anger is mis-directed. Take it to Hillary; she's welcome to it, as are many other Boomers. But for an accident of timing, I'm not a Boomer as you (and I) think of them.
49 posted on 09/02/2003 9:55:48 PM PDT by Think free or die
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To: qam1
Hey do you know my Dad??? You just did a personal profile of him! :OP
50 posted on 09/02/2003 9:56:03 PM PDT by kuma
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