Obama’s victory represents a potential death knell – but only a potential one – for the 1960s cultural politics that defined and dominated our political landscape for the last four decades of the 20th Century.
There’s a tidy symmetry in the fact that Obama defeated, in succession, both the Clinton machine and the Rove-Atwater brand of politics that Republicans have honed for so long.
In so doing, Obama defeated not one, but both of the leading practitioners of that 1960s-rooted cultural politics. More to the point, he did this by quite literally running against politics as both those groups practiced it.
Some commentators argued that McCain wasn’t a GOP candidate in the Rove- Atwater mode. In reality, however, McCain and Sarah Palin were perfect vehicles for Rove-Atwater politics. As Josh argued yesterday, Palin is the most aggressive purveyor of the culture-war politics of resentment that Rick Perlstein superbly described in “Nixonland” since, well, Nixon.
Or as GYWO put it:
How will our nation survive without its electoral system being used to process baby boomers’ psychological issues?