Barack Obama styles himself as a post-baby boomer leader and the media is lapping that up. His image as an agent of change hinges on the assertion that he is not part of the politics of the past, which he sees as a intra-generational scrimmage that's been destructive to the country. As he wrote in his book the Audacity of Hope: In the back and forth between [Bill] Clinton and [Newt] Gingrich, and in the elections of 2000 and 2004, I sometimes felt as if I were watching the psychodrama of the baby boom generation – a tale rooted in old grudges and revenge plots hatched on a handful of college campuses long ago – played out on the national stage. Commentators right an left are eager to pile on bill boomer bashing. Seattle Times columnist Danny Westneat weighed in on Jan. 6 with a column touting the virtues of Generation X, whose time has come, and the lameness of the boomers. He says Obamamania "has the feel to me of a once-in-a-generation shift. The message: Baby boomers, you're out. You've had your chance." And Seattle author Eric Liu, a former speechwriter for president Clinton, told the New York Times last year in an article called "Shushing the Boomers," that it was time for them to get out of Washington "Thank you, here's your gold watch, it's time for the personal style and political framework of the 1960's to get out of the way." On the right, Republican Bill Kristol has found at least one positive about liberal Obama: he's no boomer. Of course, arguably, Barack Obama is a boomer. He was born in 1962 and most people date the baby boomers as being born in the 1946 to 1964 time frame. Some sociologists use different dates, like 1943 to 1960. The fact that there's a debate over what a boomer is seems so, well, boomer. Because certainly one of the hallmarks of the generation is an obsessive appeal to youth, from John F. Kennedy's boomer mobilizing rhetoric about generational torch-passing to the "don't trust anyone over 30" blather of the 1960s. Being a self-proclaimed non-boomer gives Obama cred with younger people, and, conveniently, with self-loathing boomers touchy about their age. So too is the belief--articulated by Obama--that "this moment" in history is transformational and, by strong implication, that he is the key to that transformation. This kind of millenarian thinking runs through American politics and religion, but certainly was a hallmark of the boomer era and 1960s politics. It was frequently articulated by the boomer generation's political icons: Martin Luther King, Bobby Kennedy, and JFK. It runs through the talk of the New Age, of paradigm shifts, of Martin Luther King's dream. Life tends to be incremental, politics tends to be messy and plodding, but baby boomers have clung to the hope that the old would simply disappear and the new would appear in a glorious instauration. And that change would be initiated by a special person, a kind of political Harry Potter. Oprah Winfrey (a boomer too) articulated this when she called Obama "The One." (She said it as if it had capital letters.) Those kind of hopes aren't limited to the left. You find it in the religious right and those waiting for The Rapture. It's also in the world view touted by neocons like Bill Kristol: a confidence in American exceptionalism and its power to transform the world through inspiration, force (if necessary) and a singular visionary leader (like George W. Bush). This is probably one reason some neocons feel comfortable with Obama. There's a sense of kindred spirit beyond the policies. In any event, Obama is a middle aged guy running a youth-obsessed, fudge-your-age group, change-worshipping campaign that focusses on transforming the country in one magic moment--and, by the way, he hopes we'll forgive him his drug using past. Look that up in the political dictionary and you'll find it under "baby boomer."