Back in the 2008 campaign (and its immediate aftermath), I talked to a lot of young voters enthusiastic about Barack Obama. When I asked many why they supported the Chicago politician, they repeated the usual bromides about how their guy was a different kind of politician who would change the way things were done in Washington.
When I asked them to specify the kinds of changes he would implement, they replied that he would be different from George W. Bush. Obama’s appeal was based on his image, not his ideas. In a similar vein, Michael Barone writes that he has “long thought that there was a tension between Millennials’ former enthusiasm for Obama and the thrust of the Obama Democrats’ policies” and sees in that tension an opportunity for Republicans:
This is an iPod/Facebook 21st century generation. Young Americans want to customize their own world. They want to shape their own destinies, not be part of a herd that is shepherded from one pasture to another. They like the advice of Obama appointee Anne-Marie Slaughter: Design your own profession.
The Obama policies are redolent of mid-20th century welfare state planning. From Obamacare’s unaccountable boards determining the care patients get to his affection for high-speed rail that will forever run on the same tracks, choice is limited or eliminated. Central planners determine your future.
It’s as if every iPod had an identical play list and every Facebook page were the same.
Romney and the other Republicans can claim that their policies, by providing choices and opening markets to spur innovation that no central authority can plan, will enable young people to choose their futures.
Obama likes to emphasize the Obamacare provision that lets “children” up to age 26 stay on their parents’ health insurance. Apparently that polls well with Millennials.
Republicans should counter that they want young people to choose their own health plan, from firms competing for their business. An economy liberated from Obamas’ tax and regulations can provide more choices and opportunities.
It’s Barone. Read the whole thing.