That 60s Show

Paul Waldman doesn’t quite share my feeling that the “square” versus “cool” debate going on in conservative circles right now is entirely meaningless. Here’s his take:

So once again, we have to wage a campaign of the cool kids versus the squares. This all started in the 1960s, when people like Rove and Romney watched their contemporaries smoking grass, listening to music with electric guitars, and dancing wildly about with adventurous girls in sheer peasant blouses, and thought to themselves, “Gosh darn it, I hate those guys!”

It may take a little different form today, but have no doubt, Republicans going after Obama for being “cool” is the same conflict, just updated to 2012. So if you’re a Baby Boomer, and you recall vividly how you watched Woodstock on TV and thought to yourself that somebody ought to drop a bomb on all those hippies and fornicators and wipe them out once and for all, Mitt Romney is the candidate for you. Not that you didn’t know that already.

I’m reminded of the infamous Gary Aldrich, the former FBI agent who penned a tell-all book of his horrifying experience in the Clinton White House that basically came down to the claim that the bad guys in all the jocks-versus-hippies campus fights of the 1960s had finally taken over the country. Two administrations later, his spirit may well live on.

Support Nonprofit Journalism

If you enjoyed this article, consider making a donation to help us produce more like it. The Washington Monthly was founded in 1969 to tell the stories of how government really works—and how to make it work better. Fifty years later, the need for incisive analysis and new, progressive policy ideas is clearer than ever. As a nonprofit, we rely on support from readers like you.

Yes, I’ll make a donation

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.