Bill Clinton, the cliché goes, was the first black president, no matter his skin color. That being the case, Barack Obama is not the first black president, or the first African-American president, if you prefer, but the first hippie president.
Clinton’s southern background and lifestyle were indeed more typically black, just as Obama’s was more typically hippie.
And we’re not just talking about the “Choom gang” here, scarfing “Maui Wowie” on the sands of Oahu. We’re talking about all of it, the whole multi-culti-missing-white-mother-vanished-Kenyan-father-anti-imperialist-America-is-always-the-enemy-and-don’t-you-forget-it-nine-yards. And like most hippie culture as I knew and experienced it, it wasn’t about “peace and love.” Not in the slightest. That was a masquerade — remember Altamont? It was a put-down of “The Man” and violent aggression toward everything that was decent just because it was normal and the status quo. And the methods were — pace Bill Ayers, the Chicago Seven, the Weathermen, et al. — “by any means necessary.” “Burn, baby, burn” whether you were white or black. As Jonah Goldberg eloquently pointed out in his brilliant book, hippie culture was part and parcel of “liberal fascism.”
Which accounts for a lot of where we are today. Trust a hippie to negotiate with the mullahs and trust a hippie, yet more incredibly if reports are true, to negotiate with Hezbollah.
I know. I was one myself. Sort of.
Of course, most of us grew out of it. Obama, however, was late to the party and, like many latecomers, didn’t quite see it for what it was. The hippie period latecomers I have noticed were envious of their forebears and didn’t quite grasp that the whole might have been mere teenage rebellion. Lost in a nostalgia for what they never quite had, they took it all a bit too seriously. (Some of those forebears too, like Tom Hayden, trapped themselves for life in their tired rhetoric. They weren’t able to grow up and face anything close to reality.)