Women, too, advanced directly as a result of the '60s. Whitman is campaigning largely on her experience as head of EBay, a post that like all others in business would have been largely closed to a woman without the tumult of that time. She often talks about her pride in being in one of the first classes of women accepted to Princeton, a change that began in 1969.
The question, so far as Whitman's ad and McCain's fundraising plea go, is whether Californians relate more to the sentiments of the '60s or their often messy execution.
"The '60s has such a powerful hold on people on both sides of the spectrum," Rhodes said. "There are people who see the '60s as a time when the country really lost its way and gave into narcissistic impulses. Then there is the tendency on the other side to overly romanticize it — peace, love, dope. The real ' 60s is somewhere in between."
Each Sunday, The Week examines implications of major stories. It is archived at latimes.com/theweek.