I have written here that we are in a year much like 1966. Our assumptions are a generation old, the new assumptions are just being born, and the election to come will represent the first rejection of the old order.
In the spring of 1966, the New Deal assumptions still held. The Greatest Generation believed that we were all in it together, and that the Cold War was an extension of the fight against Hitler. The Democratic establishment was thus supporting war on two fronts -- a War in Vietnam and a War on Poverty. Both were being lost.
In 1966, the assumptions of the previous generation were becoming irrelevant, just as today the assumptions of 1968 are becoming irrelevant.
Thus, The Game.
Who is playing what role?
Let's start with the future leader of the incumbent party. In 1966 this was Vice President Hubert Humphrey. The Happy Warrior. A shining liberal hero. Beaten by Kennedy in 1960, named by Johnson in 1964, rendered impotent by his office, yet expected to pick up the pieces. The heir apparent.
We all know Dick Cheney is no Hubert Humphrey. He never was in the mix to follow George W. Bush, our era's LBJ. So who gets the Humphrey role now?
Click to see.
Next time, we'll look for Richard M. Nixon.
Nixon was a leader of the anti-thesis of his time. He was born of Joe McCarthy, neutered by Dwight Eisenhower, humbled by Checkers, made powerful through a heart attack (Eisenhower's), lost to the thesis candidate in 1960 (Kennedy), and was politically dead two years later.
Yet in 1966, Nixon went quietly around the country, raising money and attention for any Republican who asked him, collecting chits he would use to resurrect himself and dominate the future -- right through 2006.
So, for next week, who's Nixon now?