Gen X Goes to Washington

By DAVID S. BERNSTEIN  |  November 23, 2010

No, what they need is a forum where criticism and sarcasm are an end unto themselves; where there are no consequences or responsibilities, only the snide debasement of government, and of those who take its functions seriously.

In short, they want to be the Breakfast Club gang, mocking the principal behind his back, tearing up the library dictionary, to show one another that they are the smart ones, and that the adults are all fools.

Which is why it made such perfect sense that Palin would leave her job as governor, to join Fox News and the right-wing media circus.

Yes, Generation X has finally found its perfect, natural niche. Is there any other field, aside from the conservative blowhard rantosphere, where so many Gen-Xers have risen to such premier positions, or held such influence? Glenn Beck ('64) is a Gen-Xer, as are his fellow Fox News hosts Shepard Smith ('64), Gretchen Carlson ('66), Megyn Kelly ('70), and Greg Gutfeld ('64). Almost every major conservative Web site is run by Xers: people like Matt Drudge ('66), Andrew Breitbart ('69), Michelle Malkin ('70), redstate.com founder Erick Erickson ('75), National Review editor Rich Lowry ('68), and newsmax.com founder Chris Ruddy ('65). Some of the wildest — and most popular — bloviators include Liz Cheney ('66), Marc Thiessen ('67), and Jonah Goldberg ('69).

This is where my generation will make its political mark, snarking to one another in front of an audience. It won't actually accomplish much, but we never really expected to.

Still, for all our cynicism, deep down we were pleased to learn, from a reference in Fox's later series, Spin City, that Keaton grew up to become a Republican senator from Ohio. Even if he, and his real-life versions, are still spouting the same boneheaded nonsense, apparently unaware of the laugh track.

To read the "Talking Politics" blog, go to thePhoenix.com/talkingpolitics. David S. Bernstein can be reached at dbernstein@phx.com.

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