One of the strange aspects of the Obama years was how much of what they did was an effort to address old wounds that still haunted the Left. Health care reform is the obvious example. The Left never got over how Bill Clinton threw the Left overboard after Hillary’s health care debacle led to the 1994 election wipe-out. The Obama effort was all about addressing that old wound. The ultimate product looked like the result of a revenge fantasy, mostly because it was about addressing those old wounds.
It was not just health care. The entirety of the Obama administration was about the past, despite his endless jabbering about the glorious future. Their dealings with Iraq and Afghanistan were mostly about “proving” Bush was wrong and they were right about how to respond to 9/11. Their Iran policy was a do-over of the Carter years and their Russia policy was a do-over of the 1980’s. They even pitched Obama at one point as the Progressive answer to Reagan, He was their Ronald Reagan.
It’s not just the Left playing the old records and dreaming of better days. The 2016 Trump campaign was a WWE version of the Reagan campaign of 1980. The slogan “Make American Great Again” was borrowed from the Gipper. He ran on the slogan “Let’s make America great again” in his successful 1980 presidential campaign. It’s pretty clear Trump intends to use some version of “It’s Morning In America” in his reelection campaign next year. This campaign ad will feature a panda, rather than a grizzly.
Of course, his presidency has been a call back to past events as well. The seditious conspiracy against him by the FBI and CIA is an echo of what the Left accused Nixon of plotting back in the 1970’s. Both sides are replaying the past as a do-over. Team Trump is going win the Watergate this time, while the Left is sure Trump is going to pull off his face at any moment and reveal himself to be Tricky Dick. In this version, to keep with the current age, Peter Strzok is the soy-man version of G. Gordon Liddy.
The endless echoes of politics past is sure to continue, as we see in the Democratic presidential field. The only two people talking about the present are Gabbard and Yang, both of whom will be ushered off the stage by Labor Day. The rest all sound like museum exhibits from previous eras. Joe Biden is actually running on the slogan “Make America Normal Again.” That sounds a lot like Carter’s campaign in 1976, after Nixon and Watergate, where he promised to restore dignity to politics.
Politics is always a repeat of the past, to some degree, but what makes this age a weird echo is debates themselves. The biggest issues facing the West are never discussed, outside of dissident circles. Trump ran on immigration and trade, but no one talks about those anymore. The Democrats could be running on the student debt issue or the crisis facing the young people of the middle-class. Instead they are talking about socialism, as if it is this brand new idea that has never been tried.
One reason for this entirely backward looking perspective is demographics. Both political parties are built to compete for the votes of Baby Boomers, who remain the largest identifiable cohort. The Boomers are entering the last turn of their race, so inevitably they are sentimental and nostalgic. The fact that the most likely contest in 2020 is between an octogenarian and a septuagenarian, both white and both male, will allow Baby Boomer voters to feel like they are still young and hip.
That’s probably the single biggest cultural problem facing America today. The Baby Boom generation is not going to age gracefully. Instead of picking which one of their kids will take their keys away, they will keep a white-knuckled grip on the wheel until the country goes over the cliff. Nancy Pelosi should be in a rest home right now. Instead she wanders around the capital in her bathrobe and slippers, the third most powerful person in the Imperial government, unable to remember her own name.
The blame is not all on the Boomers. As America becomes majority-minority, the cost of cobbling together a coalition goes up. Bringing blacks and angry Jewish feminists together into a coalition is near impossible. Delivering anything to the white middle-class means standing in front of the open sewer that is Progressive morality. Multicultural America is an ungovernable riot of competing interests, so it is a lot easier to go the nostalgia route and court the white Baby Boomers. It’s easy and fun.
There’s also the fact that no one wants to face up to the truth of the current situation in present day America. Inviting in 50 million strangers was a bad idea. Fixing it means telling most of them to go home. Civil Rights was arguably noble and decent, but the downstream result was a disaster. Bringing back free association is too scary for the soft men and unstable women of the ruling class. Our political class is mostly cucks and kooks, unable and unwilling to muster anything resembling courage.
That’s where we are now. America is a country ruled by cucks who are afraid of the future, so they rummage around in the past. They’re like children putting on shows for their parents, wearing their clothes and singing their songs. It’s all echoes of the past and cucking to current fads. It is an entirely useless ruling elite that will have to be wiped away, before we can face the future. Barring an asteroid strike and societal collapse, it means waiting for the great Baby Boomer die off to clear the path forward.
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