Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Last Call For The Boomers

The Millennials are set to overtake the Boomers in population numbers this year in the US, which is going to be a big demographic key to 2016.

75 is the approximate number, in millions, of millennials that the United States will have this year. The total of millennials — those born from 1981 to 1997 — will reach 75.3 million, overtaking baby boomers (1946 to 1964) as the United States’ largest living generation. 
How does a generation that has stopped enrolling members manage to keep growing? An influx of immigrants, according to a new report from the Pew Research Center. And, of course, members of the boomer generation, currently at 74.9 million, are beginning to die in greater numbers.

The way the NY Times defines them, Millennials are today's 18-34 year olds.  They're all old enough to register to vote, and those number will only go up next year.  Meanwhile, in 2016 even the youngest Boomers will be 52, and the oldest, 70.  As long as they are the group of Americans most likely to vote, we'll continue to be ruled by Boomer politicians (and yes, this includes Barack Obama, a young Boomer born in 1961.)

So there's a chance at least that our politics will begin to change.  The question is at what rate?

Of course, that rate will be zero if Millennials sit home like they did in 2014.

The State Of That Union, Con't

Yemen and drones aside, President Obama's speech was amazingly notable for what it wasn't, it was in no way capitulation to the GOP for winning the wasn't a mealy-mouthed crawl into irrelevance, and it sure wasn't as hell surrender.  Ed Kilgore sums it up nicely:

In conservative-land, you see, Obama’s first election was a fluke and his second a calamitous accident, both canceled by the ensuring midterms and both destined to be remembered as incidental interruptions of the Long March of Movement Conservatism towards total power. The idea that 2008 and 2012 are just as significant as 2010 and 2014 (maybe a bit more significant insofar as far more Americans participated) is outrageous to the Right, and so Obama mentioning them was the defiant act of a political nonentity. 
Beyond that, the basic framing of Obama’s remarks on the economy left Republicans even deeper in the trap they’ve been in ever since conditions began improving. The main criticism available to them for the performance of the economy is the one Democrats (and Obama himself) have been articulated: sluggish wage growth and growing inequality. But Republicans have little or no agenda to deal with that beyond the usual engorge-the-job-creators stuff dressed up with attacks on the few corporate welfare accounts they’ve agreed to oppose, and then the Keystone XL Pipeline. On this last point, Obama was very clever in dismissing Keystone as one controversial infrastructure project we’re spending too much time fighting over as hundreds of others languish. It made Joni Ernst’s plodding Official Response sound all the more foolish for spending so much time on that one project.

Making the GOP look foolish is easy.  Getting voters to show up and punish the fools in the GOP is the hard part.

The State Of That Union

President Obama's State of the Union speech, in full, did contain some very illuminating passages.

At every step, we were told our goals were misguided or too ambitious; that we would crush jobs and explode deficits. Instead, we’ve seen the fastest economic growth in over a decade, our deficits cut by two-thirds, a stock market that has doubled, and health care inflation at its lowest rate in fifty years.

So the verdict is clear. Middle-class economics works. Expanding opportunity works. And these policies will continue to work, as long as politics don’t get in the way. We can’t slow down businesses or put our economy at risk with government shutdowns or fiscal showdowns. We can’t put the security of families at risk by taking away their health insurance, or unraveling the new rules on Wall Street, or refighting past battles on immigration when we’ve got a system to fix. And if a bill comes to my desk that tries to do any of these things, it will earn my veto.

Today, thanks to a growing economy, the recovery is touching more and more lives. Wages are finally starting to rise again. We know that more small business owners plan to raise their employees’ pay than at any time since 2007. But here’s the thing — those of us here tonight, we need to set our sights higher than just making sure government doesn’t halt the progress we’re making. We need to do more than just do no harm. Tonight, together, let’s do more to restore the link between hard work and growing opportunity for every American.

This is the point where Democrats need to build on heading into 2016 to create a populist message that will get voters to the polls.  This is the Obama message that Dems cannot "run away" from, but run towards, at full speed.

On the other hand...then there was this.

I believe in a smarter kind of American leadership. We lead best when we combine military power with strong diplomacy; when we leverage our power with coalition building; when we don’t let our fears blind us to the opportunities that this new century presents. That’s exactly what we’re doing right now — and around the globe, it is making a difference.

First, we stand united with people around the world who’ve been targeted by terrorists — from a school in Pakistan to the streets of Paris. We will continue to hunt down terrorists and dismantle their networks, and we reserve the right to act unilaterally, as we’ve done relentlessly since I took office to take out terrorists who pose a direct threat to us and our allies.

 Six years into his presidency and the President just quoted the goddamn Bush Doctrine.

I know I give the "Obama isn't good enough!" people a deservedly hard time, but I 100% disagree with the President here.  Having said that, I'm not naive enough to think that any Republican or Democrat running in 2017 would stop using drones.  It beats a ground invasion.

Meanwhile, get your crap together, Democrats.


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