Friday, May 25, 2012

The Boomers Done It?

Regarding my discovery that the Senate is getting older in part because incoming recent Senators have become a lot older, which as I said earlier I had found but couldn't explain, my brother has a theory: it's the baby boomers.

Could be! I'll note, however, that over the last three cycles (that is, elected in 2006, 2008, and 2010) there have actually been four pre-boomers, four new Senators born during WWII. OK, Dan Coats is a new but not a first-time Senator, but still. And that might not be it. David Dewhurst was born in August 1945 -- after the war ended, but I think the demographers call 1946 the beginning of the boom. And Angus King? Born before D-Day (March 1944). Chris Shays is a lot less likely than either of them to make it to the Senate, but he was born in October 1945.

At least all of them were born after Pearl Harbor. Tommy Thompson, who I suppose is technically the frontrunner for the GOP nomination in Wisconsin, was not. OK, I don't think he's going to get the nomination...I mean, I really, really, don't think he's going to get the nomination...but I like the idea of Thompson losing to Tammy Baldwin and then going back in time to November 1941 and explaining it to everyone.

By the way: that's a realistic if slim chance that five pre-boomers could enter the Senate in 2013 (you could add Bob Kerrey -- 1943 -- but it's hard to believe that Kerrey, Shays, and Thompson could all get elected). If I'm counting correctly, the maximum number of post-boomers who could make it is only four. Yikes!

Also by the way: the demographers say 1965, but I think that's ridiculous; in my view, there's no way that those of us born after JFK died should be considered baby boomers. The idea that we share a cultural world with Sally Draper just doesn't work.


  1. Thompson...I mean, I really, really, don't think he's going to get the nomination...

    Why not?

  2. I was born in the Summer of 1963, i.e. before Kennedy died, but also before the cultural world that existed before that was any kind of reality to me.

  3. I think your brother is more or less entirely correct. The Boomers do run everything, it seems. Their biases and prejudices explain sooo much about the current political scene (global warming? nah. Russia? Not to be trusted!). You mention pre-boomers, and of course the boomers are old and the old are more conservative, and what do conservatives prefer, the younger or older? So yes, boomers will tend to vote older than themselves on average. Not that the age is that important, but the authenticity in the cultural messaging will work better.

    Hang on, though, because let's not lay low the Boomers. There's also the major advancements in medicine allowing for far more of the advanced age-ed. It's new for them to be in such numbers at such ages, and it's new for us younger types to have to deal with such a large aged cohort exerting political influence based on what they saw on Fox News and unable to read quality newspapers because all the quality news is online - an environment their cohort has a hard time coping with. At least, let's say they generally lack the discerning sophistication of their younger counterparts as far as online anything. (witness the chain sham emails)

    So yeah, we have a political and social problem here.

  4. As a baby-boomer, I want to say that I am perfectly capable of finding low-quality news online.

    By the way, World War II didn't officially end until September.


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