The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on October 27, 1996 · Page 9
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 9

Salina, Kansas
Issue Date:
Sunday, October 27, 1996
Page 9
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THE SALINA JOURNAL CAMPAIGN 'SB SUNDAY, OCTOBER 27, 1996 A9 Photos by AMY SANCETTA /The Associated Press, John Wlncinas, a Penn State University graduate student, studies for a midterm exam In his apartment In State College, Pa. "I don't think about politics a whole lot anymore... the world's too big." desperately seeking answers Members of Generation X feel left out of Dole and Clinton's generational fight By TED ANTHONY The Associated Press STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — When recent graduates streamed back to Penn State University's homecoming this month tq watch football, renew friendships and share fledgling . impressions of the adult world, the talk inevitably touched on politics. •-.. , ' But interestingly, for the most part they didn't argue Clinton vs. Dole. Instead, the young alumni spoke of the entire political process and what— if anything — It means to them., . "I don't think-about politics a whole lot-anymore; 1 ': said John Wicinas, 25, a\graduate who returned to Penn State to work on his second master's. "It's) h£trd;;toV^ave an intelligent c6n|ri?^s'sti,6n with someone our age about politics,'' he said. "The: vy^|4 > a : t6o big — that's' / ilgaieiit'upiPused to be ' more interested, but it's impossible today to really be completely informed." This is, generationally, perhaps the most unusual election 1 of the century. Two distinct groups — the World War II generation, personified by Bob Dole, and the Baby Boomers, ex- .emplified by President Clinton \- are squaring off and invoking as mantras values associated with the times they came of age. But on the electoral sidelines is a formidable bloc of voters, a group too young to field a candidate but strong enough to influence the outcome: men and women ages 18-30, • Members of this group are, some say,,a' "watcher generation" in this year's campaign, trying to define their expepta- tions after coming of age in a media-saturated culture drasti- , cally different from anything that came before. "Much more than in 4992, Students gather during lunchtime on the campus of Penn State University in State College, Pa. Voters age 18-30 could prove to be a powerful voice in November's general election. there is a transition here between generations: Who's going to provide national political leadership?" says J. Walker Smith, co-author of "The Yankelovich Report on Generational Marketing: Reaching America's Three Consumer Generations." "Clinton is developing his campaign, consciously 01 not, around the values that Boomers have in the '90s," Smith says. "Dole is the GI generation — the ones who made it through the ^depression and made sacrifices. ... And then there is Generation X — a truly unique beast." Consider these fraits of the 1830 demographic: Many never knew a childhood without divorce; none knew an adulthood without AIDS. For some, Richard Nixon's resignation is their earliest political memory.. "These are people who are starving for some honesty in politics," says Tabitha Soren, the 29-year-old MTV reporter who made her name covering the 1992 presidential race from her generation's perspective. While Dole's generation had World War II and Clinton's Vietnam, today's young adults have drugs, terrorism and street violence. Battlefield and homefront have become one. The struggles are less distinct. "Boomers think life is a morality play — the charge of good vs. evil," Smith says. "Xers have grown up with a very different sense of that. And when Xers look at Boomer presidential candidates, they are going to see many of the things they have disliked about Boomers all along." what's at stake O The possible outcomes of the November election and what they could mean for America: o Bill Clinton re-elected, with Republicans still In control of Congress. That assures two more years of tugging and pulling, but not necessarily gridlock. The 1995-96 Congress was unusually productive, from welfare overhaul to V-chip, from lobbying restrictions to increasing the minimum wage and pencilling out farm subsidies. Still, in general, retaining the status quo would point toward less ambitious government. And toward a balanced budget, a Republican goal that the Democrats seem to have embraced since the 1994 election. o Clinton re-elected, with a Democratic Congress, or at least a Democratic House. If it happens, Clinton is pushed by the activist left of his party. Most of the Democrats who claim key committee chairmanships come from the party's liberal wing and are believers in government's ability to rectify society's pains. The Republican-written and Clinton- blessed welfare revision program would surely come up for re-examination in a Democratic Congress. Clinton has already promised modifications if he's re-elected. o Bob Dole elected, and with a Republican Congress kept in power, perhaps strengthened. In Congress, Dole would be pressed to make good on his promised 15 percent tax cut a.nd a balanced budget, a tough combination which could only mean that government spending would be throttled down even beyond the limits Republicans proposed in their showdown with Clinton that shut the government down for a time in 1996. o Dole elected,, with a Democratic Congress. This scenario is just not in the cards. Source: The Associated Press Closing costs on us: The money you need is as close as your home - and BANK IV. 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