Sunday, June 15, 2008

The Boom Defined

From The New York Times today. McCain And there’s a further complication: While there is a distinction between age and belonging to a generation, the two are closely linked in this election. Mr. McCain and Mr. Obama are the faces of two very different generations, bookends of the baby boom. Mr. McCain, born in 1936, belongs to the tail end of the pre-boom period, unsettled and confused by the culture war of the 1960s (much of which played out when he was a prisoner of war). Mr. Obama is, at least in spirit, a post-boomer who has made a point of saying it’s time to move beyond the social and political clashes that defined that period (including, not incidentally, conflicts over race and gender).

Since the Baby Boom is generally defined as 1946-1964, or sometimes 1945-1965, Obama's stil a member of the Boomer generation. The problem is that Boomer is often code word for those who were in college in the 1960s, often and tritely referred to at the tumultous '60s.

McCain is a bit removed from definition as a "bookend" of the Baby Boom--1936 seems practically an entirely different generation from those born after World War II.

Maybe it's time to stop using the Baby Boom as a way of explaining voter preferences and thinking in this election.

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