It was an almost perfect line for the culture war he is still, alas, a part of. And it's a sign of some desperation. He wants to malign the Democrats as Woodstock hippies - still working after three decades! - while touting the torture "enhanced interrogation" he endured as a Viet Cong captive as an emblem of his patriotism. But notice how a politician still gets traction in our culture: not by addressing actual policies or even engaging current cultural arguments. He gets it by electro-charging up the ancient cultural divide that has prevailed since Vietnam and that still drives the boomers and those drawn into their orbit (i.e. the rest of us). This culture war is something we need to move beyond if we are to tackle the threats from abroad and make concrete, pragmatic reforms at home. And yet it's still indispensable in provoking the kind of emotional response that campaigns need to gain oxygen. Remember the Swift Boat attack? This is what Obama is up against. He's a post-boomer politician in a boomer-dominated discourse, where Woodstock and Vietnam are still the needle-changing motivators. Still. How many more election cycles do we have to go through before we get past this?

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