May 11 2008

I like IKE…One More Time?

As one looks with anticipation toward the cresting of the next wave, and the opening of the next Maslow window, can we begin to see similarities in the driving economic and social conditions that make society ripe for major exploration and significant advances in technology?? There is perhaps no more significant event, in terms of shaping global trends, and certainly the national scene, than the US presidential election. The 56-year energy cycle analog for 2008 is 1952, the year the country “liked Ike.” In the heat of another presidential election, can we draw parallels between John McCain, a current contender for the top leadership position, and Dwight Eisenhower, the president who led the country during the years leading up to the last Maslow window?

General Eisenhower, commander of the Allied Forces landing in Africa in WWII, and Supreme Commander of troops invading France on D-Day, was persuaded by Republicans to run for president in 1951. Publicly admired as a war hero, and of a mature age at 63, he was perceived as a moderate Republican who could win the public vote. Similar motivations drove Republican Party supporters to persuade John McCain, at age 71, as a war hero with widespread name recognition and a reputation as a moderate Republican, to run for the presidency in 2008.
Eisenhower was elected president as the country was fatigued from World War II and moving into a period of heightened international tension, with the Cold War gaining momentum, and the country still embroiled in the Korean War. As McCain seeks the presidency, the country is fatigued by the ongoing war in Iraq, a war that much of the country feels we should never have become involved in – a common public perception of the Korean War as Eisenhower was elected. And, again, with tensions increasing on the international scene with the global war on terror, much of the American electorate is turning to an experienced, moderate, war hero to guide them through the turbulent years ahead.

In 2005, McCain was honored with the Eisenhower Leadership Prize – traditionally awarded to individuals who reflect Eisenhower’s principles of integrity and leadership. What better corroboration of perceived similarities between the two leaders? Eisenhower’s leadership opened the door for the public to elect a young, charismatic leader, John F. Kennedy, who united the country behind a massive exploration project: the Moon mission. Could McCain gain the confidence of a cautious electorate today, to pave the way for an Obama or some other young, charismatic leader to take the lead in a future election and usher in the next Maslow window?

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