With the general election all but underway, I am reminded of presumptive Democrat nominee Barack Obama’s repeated calls for – and vows to deliver – a “new politics.” Of the “post-partisan” variety. This implies there is something inherently wrong with self-identifying as a Republican or as a Democrat. Hmm. Sounds less “new” than it does “typical” of a rookie on the national stage. Obama’s words are just the sequel to Uniter, not Divider.
What America does need, is a revitalized political system. One where the Gen Xers of the world begin to assume additional responsibility – not just in the private sector. Not just as civil servants – and legislative aides on Capitol Hill. Not only as senior advisers and senior media strategists. But, instead – as real political leaders in elected office.
In the press corps, the generational turnover is more obvious. Gone from the nightly newscasts… Brokaw and Rather. CNN has fresh Gen X faces – from Anderson Cooper to Ed Henry to Suzanne Malveaux. MSNBC still relies on Chris Matthews – but David Gregory is right there in Prime Time. Rachel Maddow quares off against the political equivalent of a Jurassic era T-Rex, Pat Buchanan. On Fox news, there is scarcely a boomer to be found. Apart from Brit Hume, Jim Angle and a few panelists… FoxNews gives us Gen X love with Shepard Smith, Greg Kelley, Bill Hemmer, Lis Wiehl, Megyn Kelly, and many others.
To be certain – there are many prominent partisans of the Gen X age. With names known to insiders only – and acting as sources rather than pundits – it leaves the public with a perception that belies the truth.
Republicans and conservatives are just now embracing Web 2.0, social networking, viral video, tweeting, via their laptops and CrackBerrys. New Media matters. Listening to the voices in the field is critical to electoral success. Politics is no longer a game to be won via micro-targeting alone. Through Voip and Skype and increasingly digital lives, a few people understand the best of the “old” and “new” politics.
Patrick Ruffini, Soren Dayton, and Jon Henke are emerging as leaders for the next generation of politics. If you know them, they need no introduction. If you don’t – learn more by getting on the internet highway, and taking THE NEXT RIGHT.