John McCain’s new ad that is running in New Hampshire is getting lots of praise. My friends over at Granite Grok said:
Using a clip from Sunday’s Fox News Channel Republican debate, the Arizona Senator makes the case against Hillary Clinton bigtime. This thirty second clip sums up her big-spending habits in a fashion that anybody can understand and grasp– in a such a way that can’t be denied. The added inclusion of McCain’s personal history of being in captivity as a POW makes it that much more powerful.
McCain sure did hit a trifecta. Hillary Clinton, big-spending, and … the 60s. Earlier in the campaign season, Michael Barone talked about the end of boomer conflict and had this to say specifically about McCain:
John McCain (born in 1936) is a heroic member of a different generation, one whose leading politicians typically served in the military (Edward Kennedy, Walter Mondale, Michael Dukakis).
Barone (who grew up in the same town and in the same social circles as Mitt Romney. All the evidence is that this familiarity has not endeared Barone to Romney) thought this about Romney:
Only Mitt Romney (born in 1947) is clearly a boomer — one who has lived his life and has taken positions (albeit some of them recently) that clearly identify him as part of the conservative half of his generation.
Is there something more subtle going on here? Is John McCain signaling sympathy and awareness of the cultural DNA of the culture wars? Is this a way to get past the seeming divide between McCain and social conservatives? Consider this from Barone:
All of which suggests that the Republicans are better positioned than the Democrats to move beyond the boomer civil war. But some things may keep us there. Attitudes on Iraq are reminiscent of those on Vietnam, the war that split the baby boom generation in two. Abortion, though overemphasized by a press full of aging boomers, is still a proxy for the cultural issues that divide their generation.
He’s got the position. The card is going to be played against him. Why not play it now and see where it takes you?