Some very smart analysts, including POLITICO and PressThink founder Jay Rosen, are talking about the current Republican strategy in support of Sarah Palin as a "reigniting of the culture wars." Attacking with all the code words of past anti-"left" vocabularies. And here's Peggy Noonan in the Wall Street Journal:
I'll tell you how powerful Mrs. Palin already is: she reignited the culture wars just by showing up. She scrambled the battle lines, too. The crustiest old Republican men are shouting "Sexism!" when she's slammed. Pro-woman Democrats are saying she must be a bad mother to be all ambitious with kids in the house. Great respect goes to Barack Obama not only for saying criticism of candidates' children is out of bounds in political campaigns, but for making it personal, and therefore believable. "My mother had me when she was eighteen…" That was the lovely sound of class in American politics.
When the McCain Summer of Love ad debuted, I wrote this - They Will Campaign Against Us Until We're Dead, and Maybe After. If you watch CSPAN, especially Washington Journal, you know from the phone calls how much anger still exists; how much hatred of the generation I grew up in. Against our opposition to the war, mischief and outrageousness, and even more, our search - no, demand - for peace. Going after all of us, FORTY YEARS LATER, still works.
I guess that since I've been posting quite a lot about that time forty years ago, the memories are long on both sides. But Barack Obama was 7 years old in 1968. It's not and never was his culture war. It is, however, the never-ending flash-point in the conservative playbook, a safe way to rile folks up and re-ignite the hatred and anger manifested in the 60's and 70's and again in the 90's when that Boomer couple, the Clintons, were in the White House.
I've given up trying to figure out how to respond. Most Americans, including us 60's people, love our country and loved it then. It was the a desire to return the country to its true nature -- just as it is today -- that drove us. But it's far more useful to the McCain campaign to taunt us -- and Barack Obama; and to divide us, too, with these ancient battles. The tough part is figuring out how to answer.