June 19, 2003

Live from the Front Line we Bring You the Culture War

There was this drop in young support for the Democrats, it was dramatic. Clinton beat Bush Sr. by 12 points among the 18 to 24's in 1992. He beat Dole by 19 points among 18-to-24's in '96. In 2000, Gore was only able to tie Bush in that group. A 19-point drop! There were 9 million people in the 18-to-24-year-old group, so that's a couple million votes, at least. That obviously would have swung New Hampshire, it would have swung Missouri. I think it would have swung Florida, although I acknowledge that Lieberman picked up some Jewish votes in Florida.

Dispatches from the Culture Wars: How the Left Lost Teen Spirit by Danny Goldberg is now on top of my wish list. Salon has a great interview with Goldberg. Loaded with good quotes.

My experience of Washington is that it has people who are incredibly knowledgeable about federal policy, laws and political culture. They're experts in the business of a company town, which is business that affects everybody in the United States and everybody in the world. Culturally, it's a very unsophisticated place. It's not a place where you can see cutting-edge theater, eat in the greatest restaurants. It doesn't produce great poets. Yet people in Washington, because they have political power, believe that everything about them is the height of sophistication. They are incredibly sophisticated about tax policy and healthcare policy and Middle East policy. But they are not sophisticated about culture. So there's an arrogance there. I think they misread the country when it comes to culture. Not all of them do, but certainly the Lieberman types, and the people who think what Lieberman's doing is so pragmatic. I just think, if they're so pragmatic, how come they lost? They lost the Congress, they lost the Senate, they lost the presidency.

What's shocking about this stuff is how unshocking it is. This is straight common sense. But no one is talking about it in either the political world or the media world. I shouldn't have to wait 3 years after the election for some record producer to tell me about the dramatic shifts in the youth vote in 2000. Fuck why do you think so many people supported Nader in 2000? He ran in 1996 remember? Same issues, but he couldn't remotely match Clinton on culture. And in 2000 he blew the rest of field away on culture.

Time for the left to wake up. Its lost touch with the street. Jay-Z is out making antiwar records while serious Democratic presidential candidates attack hip-hop as a whole. As Chris Rock said, that ain't right.

The Bush team understands how to work the media. The left has somehow forgotten, despite having massive Hollywood backing. And then Lieberman wants to cut of the Dems from one of their biggest financial supporters by going after pop culture? That's sort of like chopping off your balls to impress a girl... I lean more and more towards Dean, just because he seems to be the only media savvy player in the group. Cept Sharpton of course, but he can't win in this racist nation of ours. Ok rant times up, over and out.

Posted by Abe at June 19, 2003 08:54 PM