The Youngs are revolting against Obama (and it’s not just because of Obamacare).
This might be one of the stupidest things I’ve read today, and I’ve been going through emails from the Tea Party for most of my morning. Several rapid thoughts:
- The language. I know it’s your “shtick” to try and sound like a young person when writing this thing (“It’s like totally official now, bro,” “The stimulus… was an epic fail,” “Barack Obama seemed like the coolest cat…”), but it’s patronizing and insulting. No one from an older generation, ever, has mastered the nomenclature of the ones that come after it. You would not write an article about black voters with Ebonics thrown in there for laughs. It just makes you seem… well, out of touch.
- The inane statement that President Obama is somehow, inexplicably, “worse” than President Bush when it comes to political doublespeak and dishonesty. This is all based on the spurious claim that “if you like your health care plan, you can keep it” is on par with death panels and pulling the plug on grandma… or, going back further, the massive, massive fraud pulled on the American people to get this country involved in Iraq in 2003. In terms of political lies told, a statement made by the president about legislation while it was still being drafted that later turned out to be untrue (although I will argue until I’m blue in the face that it’s being blown out of proportion, because the plans that are being dropped are plans that can no longer legally be offered under the Affordable Care Act, anyway) does not a great whopping pants-on-fire fib make.
2a. The insulting claim that the rollout of healthcare.gov is in any way similar to the federal government’s disastrous handling of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. 2,000 people died on the Gulf Coast. A major American city was underwater. It was one of the most devastating storms to strike the United States, and the Bush Administration handled it about as well as I handle a basketball. Healthcare.gov =/= a hurricane. President Obama handled a hurricane in October 2012 — and remember all the laurels laid at his feet for how well he responded to Hurricane Sandy?
- The notion that pushback from Rand Paul, Justin Amash, et. al., somehow stopped American involvement in Syria, and that American involvement in Libya has been disastrous. Despite the superficial similarities (“both are Middle Eastern countries run by brown people with scary names!”), the conflict in Syria and the conflict in Libya were very different both in terms of what was happening and what international intervention could do. NATO air raids would not work to end the civil war in Syria in the same way that they helped ease the conflict in Libya. To claim otherwise is to stick your head in the sand and shout loudly “IGNORANCE IS BLISS!”
Nick Gillespie is peddling libertarian gobbledegook, claiming with confidence that Americans just want less government and that all of our problems will be solved by eliminating the entire executive branch and letting His Holiness Pope Ron Paul II and his acolytes run this nation by committee. There are few legitimate criticisms of the Obama Administration to be found in here. President Obama never campaigned as an anti-war candidate. There was little he could do during the Gulf oil spill in 2010. (What, would you have him swim down to the drill itself and plug it with his fingers?) He has pushed back against the “drill baby drill” crowd and encouraged (or tried to encourage) the development of greener energy. He has seen the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and refused to defend the Defense of Marriage Act in court, and is the first sitting president to endorse marriage equality. The hyperventilating about the Trans-Pacific Partnership is an Internet conspiracy theory best left to the gutters of reddit.
Why are young people “abandoning the president” in droves? Because young people have low turnout rates and tune out, typically. This isn’t an election year, and you will not be getting the attention of the Millennial Generation until 2016. (Sorry Democrats in 2014. I’ll be working with you.) The other reason is more complicated, and it has little to do with President Obama.
My generation was the hardest hit by the Great Recession, which, if you’ll recall, started in full swing in 2008, before Barack Obama’s presidency. The causes of the Great Recession are myriad and complicated, but it can be traced back, in part, to the culture of deregulation and the erosion of safeguards that took place starting when Ronald Reagan was elected. Bill Clinton triangulated his way through the ’90s, pushing through modest progressive changes but, on the whole, upholding the status quo established by the Reagan-Bush years. George W. Bush continued the trend and exacerbating the problem by waging two wars while cutting taxes, increasing spending while decreasing revenue.
The perfect storm was in place in September 2008 when everything went down the crapper, and the kids who were going into college (I was in my first semester when Lehman Brothers collapsed!) were the ones who’d be screwed the hardest. Employment plummeted, especially for young people. Wages fell, especially for young people. Governmental services were cut. The safety net was vanishing and we were free falling.
Did the Obama Administration fix everything? Absolutely not. But it could have been so much worse. He could have taken the Hooverian approach to economic crises (i.e., do nothing), and we would be in the middle of a second Great Depression. Of course young people are dissatisfied with the way things are — we’ve been royally screwed over! (If you are under the age of 40 and you think you’ll have Social Security benefits when it’s time for you to retire, I’d really like to know your plan for getting them because I’d like Social Security, too.)
A six percent drop in the youth vote between 2008 and 2012 does not make this president an unmitigated disaster and disdained by the Millennial generation. That’s an overwhelming majority of the youth vote. I do not know why Republicans and libertarians like Nick Gillespie are insisting on declaring the presidency of Barack Obama over and done with when he still has three more years captaining the ship of state, but they are wrong in almost every way.