The Plank

Wasted Youth

By and

Allow me to be far harsher than Jason about Obama's pursuit of the youth vote in Iowa. I know everyone likes to get all excited whenever a candidate has a certain inspirational hipness that the kiddies dig. But when it comes time for voters to pull the trigger, how much does that really matter? Younger supporters may give a campaign the aura of energy, change, possibility, blah blah blah, but it's the old folks who vote. And when it comes to the Iowa caucus--a truly bizarre, tedious, endless, wildly inconvenient process that takes place in the middle of a bitterly cold January night when, let's face it, most younger folks have better things to do--the geezers really carry the day. Nearly two-thirds of caucus goers are over 55.

Now, this doesn't mean Obama shouldn't feed his rock star image by courting the kids. But it does suggest he should be smooching seniors' bums at least as enthusiastically--instead of, say, skipping out on the AARP's Iowa forum in September. The guy already has lower support among older Iowans than either Edwards or Hillary. You'd think he'd be making the extra effort to prove he's not some disrespectful whippersnapper.

--Michelle Cottle

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