Tuesday, February 16, 2010

More on Generational Politics

I’m struck by the fact that Republican intra-party politics utterly lacks the oedipal dimension of Democratic politics. Try putting prominent Republicans into any categories remotely like the Grandparents/Parents/Kids scheme I used for Democrats in my last post. Perhaps there was a generational divide in the late 1980s and 90s when the red-state-diaper babies of the Reagan Revolution like Newt Gingrich and Richard Armey pushed aside surviving Nixon/Ford Republicans in the House like Robert Michel.

But, unlike Democratic Grandparents, the Michels and Bob Doles soon passed into a dignified retirement. Ex-Nixon/Ford Republicans who stayed in the game, like Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, had no trouble keeping up ideologically with young Reaganites like Gingrich and Jack Kemp in the 80s and 90s. Now elder Republican statesmen like Cheney and Gingrich don’t sound very different from Republican youngsters like Eric Cantor and Paul Ryan. The striking fact about Republican politics is how few Arlen Specters there are.

Why don’t Republicans have the Democrats’ urge to kill their ideological parents?

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