Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The Not Greatest Generation

I am a huge fan of many of the Baby Boom Generation. My parents are among their legions. As a generation, and not necessarily individuals, I think they have failed to live up to what their parents passed on to them. I refer specifically to what almost every American generation has passed on to the next.... the desire that their children do better than they do and the opportunity to get there. The Greatest Generation (those who fought WW2) definitely passed on both that desire and opportunity to the Baby Boomers.

The Baby Boomers did accomplish much in the business world after they got over being hippies. That being said, they also failed economically as a group. Far too many Baby Boomers are actually or will actually be dependent on Social Security for their basic needs in retirement. I believe, and if anybody can find the statistics I would like them, that a significantly higher percentage of them will REQUIRE Social Security than their parents or the folks in the middle (does that generation have a cute name?). Many more of them had college degrees and other special training. They had a lot fewer children to care for than their parents. They made a TON more money but they didn't manage to save it. Why?

The Baby Boomers lived life for the moment after their "victory" in getting the government to break their promises to support the South Vietnamese after we pulled our troops. That only cost a few million lives so it seemed worth it so that we could tell some mother her son was the last to die for a war we quit on. They spit on returning vets. Then, as icing on the cake, the Boomers promptly gave us President Jimmy Carter, who promptly pardoned all those who ran away to Canada to avoid serving their country. Oh, yeah, and then he sent the economy into ruins and had the worst foreign policy of the century. But other than that he was a good little anti-Semite so many of them still hold him in at least mediocre regard.

When I look out at all the folks leading the charge (or should I say retreat) to break our promises with the Iraqis I see a pattern. I see a bunch of the same Boomers who thought it would be a good plan to bail out of Vietnam... the people who believed that Walter Cronkite was completely trustworthy. For those who were unfortunate enough to have gotten all their Vietnam news from one of these jaded Boomers there are a few things you may not know that you should. The US Military didn't lose the major battles in Vietnam. They had an enormous kill/loss ratio. Basically, they were kicking butt at every turn. The only reason the North wasn't flattened was politicians and generals at home who were afraid of the political impact of going on the offensive. BTW, you should know that the US kill/loss ratio is highly impressive in Iraq as well, probably at least 10/1. We aren't officially tracking but our boys in uniform have killed at least tens of thousands of bad guys over there.

I, for one, am sick and tired of the Boomers running the government. This is the oldest Senate in history. Outside of Barak Obama, who I couldn't vote for because he is a serious lefty, and John McCain, who I don't want to vote for because of his poor judgement with the gang of 14 and McCain/Feingold and other obvious lapses of good discretion plus the fact that he is approaching the age of senility.... ALL of the large group of people considering '08 are Boomers. How depressing! Can I please have a sensible moderate who:

a) understands that pulling out of Vietnam was a disaster
b) doesn't think back fondly on Walter, Haight Ashbury, free love or VW mini-buses
c) actually succeeded at something in the real business world - you know, the tax engine
d) at the very least greatly respects the military and preferably served voluntarily
e) really believes this is the greatest country ever and wants to make it better

Yep, that seems like a good list. It shouldn't be too much to ask that at least one viable candidate in '08 meets all five. I don't care if your divorced. I don't care what sex, color, religion or even sexual orientation you are. I don't care if you smoked pot in college or even if you went to college. The fact that this short list disqualifies most of the announced candidates we have in both parties is a little depressing. The fact that it disqualifies all of the Democrats is really depressing. Rudy might pass but I wonder about the free love/VW bus part and I suspect he reveres Uncle Walter. That leaves me with one "boy scout" governor who seems to fit the bill. If it weren't for the fact that he is a Boomer I might be able to get excited about his candidacy. He only has two flaws that I can see: he might be too conservative to capture the center and he is a Mormon so he loses some (hopefully small but I don't know) percentage of the vote on religious bigotry.

I'll be an optimist. Maybe the race will get my interest with somebody not being talked about yet. It is still more than a year and a half away. I think our previous governor in Colorado might be available.