The Obama Generation
posted by Gerard Magliocca
“There’s a clear cause and effect here that is as neat and predictable as a law of physics: As government expands, liberty contracts.”
Ronald Reagan, Farewell Address (1989)
“[P]reserving our individual freedoms ultimately requires collective action.”
Barack Obama, Second Inaugural Address (2013)
This transition from one generation, led by President Reagan in the 1980s, to the current one, led by President Obama, is the subject of an article that I will write this summer called “The Obama Generation.” Readers of this blog know that I believe in a descriptive theory of constitutional change that revolves around the idea that each generation remakes higher law and does so according to a similar pattern. My first two books lay out that argument with respect to Jacksonian Democracy (1830s) and William Jennings Bryan (1890s). Since 2008, I have been itching to explain why President Obama’s election and subsequent developments, including the Affordable Care Act, the rise of the Tea Party, the debt ceiling fight in 2011, and the Supreme Court’s decision upholding the individual mandate, all fit within a broader “generational cycle.” Now that my work on Bingham is done and we have enough evidence about the Obama Administration to make claims rather than just speculate, I will get to work on this, and explain some things along the way.