Some of those youngsters who adorned themselves with Barack Obama tattoos are probably regretting the choice. The tattoo craze might prove as permanent as the ink, but the Obama fad has begun to fade.
Anecdotal evidence of the president’s declining coolness is abundant, from the jokes that the late-night comedians are at long last making to the conversations overheard at the hipster hangouts, but more quantifiable proof is now available from Harvard University’s Institute of Politics. The impeccably prestigious institution has published a poll showing that 52 percent of the under-25 set would now like to see the president ousted from office, with only 41 percent still approving of his performance.
Obamacare is cited as the reason for the president’s sudden unpopularity among a cohort that overwhelmingly supported him in the past two elections, and this strikes us as the most likely explanation. Most of the young people we know had somehow gleaned the impression that Obamacare would provide them with unlimited health care at some rich guy’s expense, and now that it has become unavoidably apparent to even the most determinedly uninformed among them that they will be paying hefty fines to remain uninsured in order to subsidize some geezer’s hip replacement in the biggest generational transfer of wealth in history their enthusiasm for the law seems to have waned.
The difficulty of finding a full-time job that will generate the wealth being transferred might also be a factor, although many young people have yet to contemplate the possibility that a president’s policies might have anything to do with that and are still open to the suggestion that it’s the Republicans’ fault for failing to fully fund green energy or something, and it would be pure wishful thinking to imagine that young people have noticed the president’s failed foreign policy or any of the various scandals that have long swirled around the White House. Young people love their cell phones and are well aware that Obama’s National Security Agency is keeping tabs on them, and even though they post every thought in their hairy heads on Facebook or Twitter they express outrage at the violation of their privacy, but the Internal Revenue Service’s harassment of dissident groups and the Justice Department’s gun-running to Mexican drug gangs and such things are of little concern.
The Harvard poll indicates that the young folks’ disillusionment with Obama has not resulted in a newfound affection for the Republicans, and we suspect that rather than becoming conservatives they’re still nurturing class resentments and hoping for the unlimited health care at some rich guy’s expense, but the numbers are bad news for the Democrats nonetheless. If the young voters stay home in next year’s mid-term elections the Democrats will miss them bad, and there might even be a few former Obama supporters showing up to vote for a Republican. Looking further into the electoral future, the Democrats’ dream of a life-long lock on those voters now seems somewhat far-fetched.
Worse yet for the Democrats, many the recently wised-up young folks will be less inclined to fall for political fads in the future. They might even begin to question the Democratic premise that government knows best and can always be trusted so long as the right party is in power, and be willing to at least consider the arguments of those mean old Republicans. Back in an earlier era of disillusioned youth The Who had a big hit with a song called “Won’t Get Fooled Again,” and today’s youngsters could do worse for an anthem.
— Bud Norman