09/12/2009 05:12 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Talkin' 'Bout Our Generation: Obama Losing His Touch With the Youth

Is health care a generational issue? We see a lot of older people in power and at these town halls, pushing the debate, but why aren't the young people showing up? Maegan has a great essay today on the generational battle in politics and its role of health care, and on today's Wilshire & Washington we tackle these generational questions. Why isn't the younger generation, so involved in the campaign, excited about health care and helping out? Is this Obama's fault? He got us involved in the campaign but now our Chief Executive seems detached from the young people that drove his election. Where's Obama's presence on social networks and blogs gone? Why don't we get text messages anymore? Why don't the Organizing for America emails resonate anymore?

The reality is that different generations expect, and watch, different media and react to politicians, and get involved, differently. Ted points out that Obama's being interviewed all the time by the MSM, but how many young people really watch The Today Show? And, within this health care debate, how many AARP members are logging onto the White House's new Fight the Smears website? Obviously, a lot changes in the transition from campaigning to governing, but for all those people who got involved in politics for the first time last year, the change is a shock. (Get it? Hi-larious.)

We also talk the town halls -- Made a scene? Did the politician flee for the exit! Hurrah! Abuse works! -- and how these raucous meetings have a long tradition in local politics. Ever been to a City Council Meeting, long the purview of local crazy conspiracy theorists? As Ted points out, some of these people are saying relevant things, like a townhaller complaining to Senator Arlen Specter about lobbyists in Washington, but those messages are being drowned out by the way they're being delivered. But what are the long term implications of this sort of strategy? Will this endear the GOP to the Latino base it so needs to win the next election? (Uh, no.)

We also talk about immigration and the looming battle over the census. There's a spirited case for those who don't want the census to count undocumented immigrants.

Finally, we talk the new documentary By The People, the first major feature on the Obama campaign, produced by actor Edward Norton and airing on HBO this November. Watch the trailer below. We've got a short interview with Norton here in which he discusses the documentary's access to the campaign. The movie itself is unfortunately not much more than a nice slideshow through some of the major bullet-points in the campaign, touching on Iowa, the DNC, then the fall campaign. While Obama is, as ever, a compelling figure to watch, the documentary has a funny structure and doesn't provide much insight into the campaign or why it was victorious. It's a pity, because the filmmakers trailed Obama for nearly three years and significant access.

Listen to the show here, subscribe to the iTunes podcast, or use the Blog Talk Radio player:

Wilshire & Washington, the weekly Blog Talk Radio program that explores the intersection of politics, entertainment, and new media, features co-hosts Ted Johnson, Managing Editor of Variety; conservative blogger Teresa Valdez Klein (, and liberal blogger Maegan Carberry ( The show airs every Wednesday at 7:30am PST on