sfchronicle: So far, Obama - who has referenced how the "Joshua Generation" holds the promise to make good on the past struggles of the previous "Moses Generation" - has "intuitively appeared to address these generational themes," Winograd said. "He's saying we've got to heal divisions."
By contrast, both Clinton and McCain have appeared old-school, "trying to say (Obama is) channeling Dukakis, an insensitive elite who doesn't understand people's fears and love of country," said Winograd, referring to former Massachusetts governor and failed Democratic candidate Michael Dukakis. That is "an attempt to characterize him in Boomer terms - but it's not being heard by those who listen to a civic message."
"My students feel a sense of urgency about the times and the urgency of now," said James Taylor, an associate professor of politics at the University of San Francisco. "They're not interested in personal attack, and much more interested in the hard issues facing the country. ... So to talk about his misstatements is off-putting for young people who want hope and their futures to mean something."
Indeed, said Winograd and Hais, younger voters are increasingly more likely to question - and openly dismiss - the old rules of the "gotcha" politics game.
frank rich at the nyt touches on this in his own way:
In this one-size-fits-all analysis, Mr. Obama must be the new Dukakis, sure to be rejected by white guys easily manipulated by Lee Atwater-style campaigns exploiting race and class. But some voters who lived through 1988 have changed, and quite a few others are dead. In 2008, they are supplanted in part by an energized African-American electorate and the young voters of all economic strata who fueled the Obama movement that many pundits didn’t take seriously before Iowa. And that some still don’t. Cokie Roberts of ABC predicted in February that young voters probably won’t show up in November because “they never have before” and “they’ll be tired.” a really good read.