Sakset/Fra hofta

Den amerikanske valgkampen har et alvor i år som den ikke har hatt tidligere. Den berører også Europa. Valgkampen er ikke lenger verdens største politiske show.

David Brooks er en kjent kommentator i New York Times. Han sammenligner Joe Biden og Paul Ryans performances torsdag. Det var ikke bare en politisk kamp, det var også en generasjonskamp. Biden tilhører en fortid hvor de lokale forskjeller var mye større, for massemediene skapte samme nasjonale kultur.

Dette er en utvikling som også Norge har gjennomgått.

That was a time, much more so than now, when there were still regional manners, regional accents and greater distance from the homogenizing influence of mass culture. That was a culture in which emotion was put out there on display — screaming matches between family members who could erupt in chest-poking fury one second and then loyalty until death affection the next.

Biden gave America the full opera Thursday night, and I suspect there will be as many reactions as there are partisan flavors. Democrats will obviously be cheered by his aggressive, impassioned and offensive performance.

It will be the crowning irony of the No Drama Obama campaign that it took a man who exudes more drama than a decade of Latin American soap operas to get Democrats out of their funk.

Biden overdøvet Ryan, men var det effektivt? Overbeviste det velgere som ikke har bestemt seg? Neppe. Disse velgerne liker ikke politikere som overkjører motparten. Det er ute av sync med tidens kultur, som er cool og lyttende. Både Paul Ryan og Barack Obama er barn av denne kulturen.

A lot of people will look at Biden’s performance and see a style of politics that makes complex trade-offs impossible. The people who think this way swing general elections.

Ryan hails from a different era, not the era of the 1950s diner, but the era of the workout gym. By Ryan’s time, the national media culture was pervasive. The tone was cool, not hot. The meritocracy had kicked in and ambitious young people had learned to adopt a low friction manner. Ryan emerges from this culture in the same way Barack Obama does.

This is a generation armed with self-awareness. In this generation, you roll your eyes at anyone who is quite so flamboyantly demonstrative as the vice president.

Brooks konklusjon er også dekkende for den norske debatten: de som sitter med makten nekter seg lite eller ingenting når det gjelder å svine til motstandere, jfr. uthengningen av Frp’ere etter 22/7, eller reaksjonen på kritikk fra Brynjar Meling, Fabian Stang og etterlatte mot Ap og AUF for ikke å ville lytte. Raymond Johansen og Eskil Pedersen har avvist kritikken blankt og gått til motangrep.

I lengden er det saklighet og argumenter som etterlyses fremfor politisk korrekte meninger, som har lett for å gå i ring: man blir lei av dem, de tilfører ikke noe nytt.

By the end, voters will have noticed one large irony. Emotionally, Biden dominated the night. Democrats were wondering if the Obama administration was a spent force, too exhausted to carry on. They don’t have to wonder about that anymore. But, substantively, it is the Romney-Ryan proposals that were the center of attention. Some of those proposals are unpopular (Medicare, which was woefully undercovered). Some are popular (taxes). But most of the discussion was on Romney plans because the other side just doesn’t have many.

This was a battle of generations. The age difference was the undercurrent of every exchange. The older man had the virility, but, in a way, that will seem antique to many.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/12/opinion/brooks-the-generation-war.html?_r=1&src=me&ref=general