The Real Generation War


Ethan Gach

I write about comics, video games and American politics. I fear death above all things. Just below that is waking up in the morning to go to work. You can follow me on Twitter at @ethangach or at my blog, And though my opinions aren’t for hire, my virtue is.

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41 Responses

  1. Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

    Brooks is saying we grew up on “cool.” Look at Batman of the ’60s next to Christian Bale’s, who is barely breathing.

    What do independents want most? They want people who will practice a more respectful brand of politics, who will behave the way most Americans try to behave in their dealings: respectfully, maybe even pausing to listen for a second. To them, Biden will seem like an off-putting caricature of the worst of old-style politics.

    This is not just an issue of manners. It is: How are we going to practice the kind of politics that will help us avert the so-called fiscal cliff? How are we going to balance the crosscutting challenges, like increasing growth while reducing long-term debt?

    A lot of people will look at Biden’s performance and see a style of politics that makes complex trade-offs impossible. The people who think this way swing general elections.

    But do they think that way? Most LoOGers made up their minds months or even years ago. I think we’re all guessing what will move the undecideds. Cool competence or hot passion? It did occur to me watch CNN’s running “approval dial” that Biden was scoring very low, which since women lean Dem, could only be explained by his aggressive manner–interrupting 82 times by one count! Womenfolk are more sensitive to interruption, since men tend to talk over them.

    Brooks—author of Bobos in Paradise, a poetic study of ” bourgeois bohemians,” would be an acknowledged authority on the workout gym culture. But is that America? I don’t know. It’s also urban and upscale, which leans Dem. [Not too many workout gyms for the rural poor.]

    So Brooks is writing what he knows, but is what he knows helpful?

    [And in the future, Ethan, I hope you’ll write of David Brooks and especially Andrew Sullivan as “conservatives” advisedly. Or else I’ll start calling Dick Morris and Lanny Davis “liberals.”]

    • Avatar George Turner in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

      I saw one comment from a woman who said, “Men like Joe Biden are where militant feminism came from.”

      Regarding the idea of making younger people shoulder all of the burden for Social Security and Medicare, they always have. It’s a transfer payment from younger working people to older people, a social contract we enacted because it frees us of our personal obligation to care for our elderly directly by pawning the job off on the government. It let’s us get rid of our smelly aunt, who would otherwise insist on living with us, except for visits at Thanksgiving where she rails about government cuts during the entire meal, while we laugh silently because we’re the one who just screwed her over.Report

      • Avatar Liberty60 in reply to George Turner says:

        Haven’t all societies, always, made young people pay for the health and well being of the elderly?
        Or is there some other way to do it?Report

        • Avatar Plinko in reply to Liberty60 says:

          I am pretty sure nearly all of recorded human history is almost everybody works until they die.Report

        • Avatar George Turner in reply to Liberty60 says:

          The point is that we used to do it at the local level, primarily via extended families, and then with churches, volunteers, and other structures. But that puts the burden of dealing with your smelly aunt directly on you, and she bitches constantly about everything. And she smells funny. So we conceived of Social Security as a way to con the elderly into thinking that someone else, far away, was actually responsible for them. We’re worse off out-of-pocket because aunt Edna now has to have her own apartment in some resort community, which we still pay for indirectly, but it’s worth it to have some peace and quiet around the house.

          The sweet spot from a policy perspective is how to cut how much we pay aunt Edna, while maximizing how much we can con little Timmy into paying us before he catches on to the fact that he’s supposed to be conning us, and we’re supposed to be conning aunt Edna, not vice versa.Report

          • Avatar Liberty60 in reply to George Turner says:

            If you are advocating for a return to the extended family where multiple generations lived under one roof, I am completely in agreement.

            Except we would still have to work out a solution for those families where Aunt Edna was booted to the curb the moment she was inconvenient.

            Does she beg on a streetcorner?

            Get used for spare bodyparts?Report

    • Avatar bookdragon in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

      I guess I don’t count as a wimmin folk, since I thought ‘Go Joe. Don’t that smarmy kid keep telling bald-face lies.’

      Of course that might be my blue collar roots showing. Then again, those roots come from steel workers and coal miners in eastern Ohio/western PA.Report

      • Avatar Tom Van Dyke in reply to bookdragon says:

        I’d hoped more people would notice Biden’s behavior is their Rorschach Test. The irony has been total.

        I can see taking a guilty pleasure in an Ed Schultz or a Michael Savage, but in the Toy Dept., not real life.Report

  2. Could we please *please* stop calling him a wonk?
    Wonks do not use PowerPoint – they use Excel.
    And if you want to get pedantic about this, Marketing uses PowerPoint…Report

    • Avatar Turgid Jacobian in reply to Mahesh Paolini-Subramanya says:

      To heck with that, wonks use Stata, R, SPSS, and C (and its *ivatives).Report

    • Avatar Liberty60 in reply to Mahesh Paolini-Subramanya says:

      Along with “wonk” we need to stop pretending that Ryan is “serious”; that title alone is what made Biden laugh out loud.Report

      • Avatar Tom Van Dyke in reply to Liberty60 says:

        How anyone could be proud of Biden’s behavior is beyond me. Me, I’m proud of how Paul Ryan represented me and the country.Report

      • Avatar George Turner in reply to Liberty60 says:

        Yeah, Biden cackled hysterically at the thought of Iranians nuking Israel, insisting that they can’t have a workable bomb for the enriched uranium. I guess he’s never heard of the A.Q. Khan network, or that the fissile material is often the last component that’s ready in a country’s first bomb.

        He was also lying about the top brass regarding Afghanistan, at least according to the New York Times back in the summer of 2011.

        The troop reductions, which were decided after a short but fierce internal debate, will be both deeper and faster than the recommendations made by Mr. Obama’s military commanders, and they will come as the president faces relentless budget pressures, an increasingly restive American public and a re-election campaign next year.

        And of course he was wrong about the Benghazi timeline, contradicting sworn testimony from the State Department. What was more interesting is the ease with which he threw Hillary under the bus, distancing the White House from any blame for the disaster and what followed and dumping it all the State Department and intelligence, when intelligence has already said that they’d been providing the warnings and had correctly said that there was no protest and the attacks weren’t linked to any Youtube video.Report

        • Avatar Tom Van Dyke in reply to George Turner says:

          Acc to Kaus and others, the Clintons [esp Bill] are pissed. Watch this space.

          Mickey Kaus@kausmickey
          Will Hillary now shiv Obama back + leak that WH knew? Getting interesting! HRC v BHO/HRC v Joe. Will WJC keep stumping?Report

          • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

            Mickey Kaus has been ignored by everybody to the left of Hugh Hewitt since about 2005. Also, every right-winger has thrown out “Clinton wants Obama to lose” conspiracy theories since the day Hillary ended her primary run.

            Do I think Bill or Hillary Clinton especially like Obama? Probably not. But, they’d rather have a Democrat in the White House for the next four years. Because the last thing Bill or Hillary want to do is be on cleanup duty after a Republican fuck things up….again.Report

            • Avatar Tom Van Dyke in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

              Delegitimization game aside, I’ll take Kaus. Always liked him, don’t care what flag he flies. Now that he’s at Tucker Carlson’s Daily Caller, it’s pretty clear you guys have thrown him over for more, um, provocative minds like Andrew Sullivan’s.

              The quality of both sides rose.

              As for Hillary getting underbussed for Benghazi, let’s watch. The joke going around about Obama is “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his friends for his life.”

              I don’t see Bill standing for this, esp after pulling Barack’s fat from the fire at the convention.Report

              • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

                Nah, most liberals threw Kaus overboard like I said, back in about 2005 when we realized he was about as much a Democrat as Pat Caddel and the rest of the “Fox News Democrat” squad is.

                The fact he’s finely given up the ghost that he’s a real liberal and started taking some wingnut welfare is actually welcome news.Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

                Yes, delegitimation aside, whether Hillary will eat blame for Benghazi is the issue.Report

              • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

                I think largely, most Americans will continue to not care about this while the right-wing acts like Obama personally pissed on the Ambassador’s corpse, when he wasn’t giving guns to Mexican cartels or writing checks to random people opening up businesses.Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

                Attacks in Libya become unexpected weak spot for Obama campaign

                By “most Americans” you mean the media. Oooops, even the LA Times noticed. Nice try, though.


                But I agree with Kaus–the interesting angle is the Clintons.Report

              • Avatar LWA (Lib W Attitude) in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

                From the link:
                “Republican Mitt Romney has made incremental gains in polls throughout the fall on the question of who would do a better job handling foreign affairs, but the president’s standing has remained essentially unchanged since before the Benghazi attack.

                About half of voters surveyed in Ohio, Virginia and Florida say they believe Obama would do a better job of handling foreign affairs, compared with about 40% who say Romney would, according to NBC/Wall Street Journal polls conducted this week.”Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

                Watch this space. The Benghazi fit has just begun to hit the shan.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

                When Hillary Clinton was asking for her own State Department Praetorians, even I was scoffing at the idea.

                And now here comes the Right, armed with 20/20 hindsight to tell us of Doo-Doo and the Whirling Blades of Fate. Will these people never STFU?Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

                The Benghazi fit has just begun to hit the shan.

                Well, that’s true if conservatives have anything to say about it. From what I understand, tho, Obama and Biden both have a legitimate reason for denying that they knew about the request for further security: because they didn’t know. Those types of requests never make it to the Oval office. Nor do the probably rise to the level of the Secretary of State.

                The other conflaburation is that the initial reports out of Benghazi were inconsistent with subsequent reports. How is that an indictment of anything?

                {{I say this as a devout anti-partisan who’s not posing as a post-partisan hack.}}Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

                This would all be over and done with if Obama would just find an island to invade.Report

              • Avatar LWA (Lib W Attitude) in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

                Forget it Blaise; its Crazytown.
                The zombies chewed on Vince Foster’s corpse for a full decade. The fresh kill from Benghazi should tide them over till 2020.Report

        • Avatar George Turner in reply to George Turner says:

          Well, if she takes any significant portion of the blame for Benghazi she will never win an election to anything, and probably couldn’t even win a primary. As it boils over, Obama is going to keep pushing the blame back to the State Department to keep it away from the White House, and Hillary will just have to take the fall.

          Hope the Hillary fans don’t get to upset.Report

        • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to George Turner says:

          How is what happened not on Hillary to a great degree (which is not to say not on the president, obviously it is). The idea is that both primary and ultimate responsibility run up and down the chain (I.e. there are ways in which even minute details are the responsibility of the very top executive, but at the same time, significant responsibility must also lie with more proximate officials, otherwise what’s the point in there being officials rather than just a lot of laterally equal staff running around and then one Big Chief?).

          The upshot of which is that of course HIllary takes a hit for this. It’s just remains unclear how great a hit. But I have been amazed at how little anyone’s talking about it. I guess conservatives still love her for what a hard time she gave Barack Obama.Report

  3. Avatar Damon says:

    You can’t “fix” ponzi schemes. You just gotta end em.Report