When Bill Clinton and Al Gore teamed up in 1992, there was a plethora of media reports about how the Baby Boom generation had finally arrived on the political scene. (To a lesser extent, there were some similar articles with regard to Dan Quayle in 1988.) Baby Boomers were born between 1946 and 1964. Barack Obama was born in 1961 and Sarah Palin clocked in at the very end in 1964.
Paul Ryan was born in 1970 and is the first Gen X-er on a national ticket, but there has been scant mention of that fact. The first such article about this popped up in the Washington Examiner today, spurred by a new Zogby poll that shows the Romney-Ryan ticket already garnering 40% of the youth vote that Obama had run up the numbers in 4 years ago. Hot on the heels of that is a piece by Kirsten Powers in the Daily Beast that begins:
We’ve finally been vindicated: Members of Generation X have a representative who is anything but a slacker.
That’s been the Baby Boomer put down of Gen X-ers going back to the ’80s.
Only problem is a 25 year study of 4,000 Gen Xers debunks this caricature. We’re not slackers. We’ve never been slackers. That was just something Boomers told themselves to make themselves feel better by comparison. I can tell you that Gen X-ers, the first generation told that we wouldn’t see a return on our Social Security taxes, have long viewed our role as one of having to clean up the mess that the Baby Boomers and their 1960s counterculture left behind for us.
Last year, the first Baby Boomers turned 65 years old. One can only assume that the silence regarding Ryan’s status as a Gen X-er is yet another form of denial from an aging press corps that is having difficulty coming to grips with their increasing irrelevance.