Talkin' 'Bout My New Generation
Barack Obama says the baby boomers' time has passed. Many voters seem to agree with himso far
Obama has amassed a mostly left-of-center voting record. The nonpartisan National Journal ranks him as more liberal than 82.5 percent of the Senate, compared with 79.8 percent for Senator Clinton. The American Conservative Union says he voted with its position only 8 percent of the time, compared with 83 percent for a Republican presidential contender, Sen. John McCain of Arizona. The AFL-CIO rates him at 92 percent. He opposed the war in Iraq and favors some forms of gun control. But he has demonstrated an occasional independent streak, voting to confirm Condoleezza Rice as secretary of state and working with Republicans on a few issues, such as legislation he co-sponsored with GOP Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana to limit the spread of shoulder-fired antiaircraft weapons that could be used by terrorists.
On December 10, in his debut speech in New Hampshire, Obama said, "America is ready to turn the page. America is ready for a new set of challenges. This is our time. A new generation is prepared to lead."
That was just what Megan Gregory wanted to hear. The 24-year-old schoolteacher and political independent from Penacook, N.H., who was standing at the back of the big crowd, said, "I'm sick to death of the world being run by baby boomers and their agenda. Baby boomers spend all their time worrying about themselves and their issues. Barack Obama is concerned with people my age. We have different concerns than they have. I'm up to my neck in student loan debt. I don't think Social Security will be there for us. Jobs are being shipped overseas. Nobody seems to care."
Hazel Birnie of Manchester, N.H., 82, also attended the Obama speech. "He speaks the truth," said Birnie, a retired Western Union employee. She added that Obama reminded her of Kennedy, a hero from her youth. That's not a bad place for a presidential candidate to start.