Friday, January 04, 2008

Deja vu all over again, revisited once more

"Prediction is difficult, especially of the future," said Niels Bohr, or somebody. One way to try is through drawing historical parallels, although as likely as not, it's little better than reading tea leaves. I certainly blew it last year when I suggested that the success of Richard Nixon in 1968 might foretell an Al Gore comeback in 2008 -- you know, two vice presidents each go down to defeat in disputed elections in their first try for the Oval Office, and then come back eight years later to win it all. Seems a rather quaint notion now.

But who knows? Maybe the tea leaves just needed to be stirred a bit to fall into their proper alignment. Let's try this again:
1960: The public is getting restless after eight years of Republican rule. The country is locked into a Cold War that looks like it will last forever, with no end in sight. The economy is falling into recession. The incumbent president is known for his lack of communication skills. There's a youthful newcomer on the scene, a senator whose accomplishments are mainly oratorical, who is known for his quick-tongued wit. His appeal to a new generation propels him into the White House.

2008: The public is getting restless after eight years of Republican rule. The country is locked into a Forever War that looks like it will last forever, with no end in sight. The economy is falling into recession. The incumbent president is known for his lack of communication skills. There's a youthful newcomer on the scene, a senator whose accomplishments are mainly oratorical, who is known for his quick-tongued wit. His appeal to a new generation propels him into the White House?
Obama certainly has the wit part down. What he said in his first New Hampshire appearance after the Iowa win:
"This feels good. It's just like I imagined it when I was talking to my Kindergarten teacher."
That's a zinger JFK could have been proud of.

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