If you’ve never been awake with insomnia at four o’clock in the morning watching Washington Journal on C-SPAN, you just haven’t lived. Yesterday morning they had on some squeaky clean young Republican who’s president of something called the ‘Young Conservative Foundation’ or the ‘Young American Conservative Foundation’ or some other such creepy outfit. I can’t remember his name, but we’ll all get to know him in time, I’m sure. Picture a young Craig Crawford, a few pounds lighter, buffed, polished, and freshly dipped in wax. He’s a bright-eyed up-and-comer whom I suspect will soon be popping up on on Hardball among the ubiquitous legions of ‘strategists’ that infest our discourse like swarms of disease spreading tse-tse flies.
Anyway, I was lingering in that foggy mental twilight zone between sleep and wakefulness when you either have the best sex of your life or get kidnapped by aliens (it’s a crap shoot), listening to this privileged little android recite the standard litany of Republican talking points: government doesn’t create jobs; tax cuts grow the economy; people know how to spend their own money better than government; Ronald Reagan is the Way and the Light, the fountainhead of all true American virtue and prosperity, etc. and so on, yawn. That’s when it occurred to me, beyond any doubt, the Republican party is well and truly moribund. Here was the fresh young face of contemporary conservatism, not some moldy old Republican, and he had nothing to offer but vacuous Reagan worship and empty cliches. I’ve seen more originality in a Hallmark card. I thought of Muslim kids rocking back and forth in a madrassa in some Afghan shithole, mechanically reciting verses from the Koran—too young, too sheltered, and far too ignorant of the world to understand what’s being force-fed to them.
Does this guy really know what he’s talking about when he blathers on about this or that percent growth in the economy under Reagan, or when he criticizes unions, or when he traces the origins of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s demise to the Carter Administration? I mean, whether or not he believes these things is irrelevant here. The point is that this guy is too callow, too much of a greenhorn, to possibly have any grasp of what he’s talking about. He just swallowed his parent’s and/or teacher’s and/or Rush Limbaugh’s worldview whole—fat, bone, grease and gristle—without ever even considering an alternative. The best part was when he described the biggest challenge his little campus Nazi Brigade faces… I mean his conservative foundation faces, which is answering the question: why do more young people lean center-left, as opposed to center-right? His explanation? They are indoctrinated by liberal universities, of course. His solution? Better marketing.
And there you have it. The young conservative’s vision for the future consists of wrapping up standard Republican bromides in a pretty new package, all the while hoping people will just plain forget about the last eight years. This isn’t enough to sustain a genuine political movement, and if this is the best they can come up with, they’re through. On the other hand, it’s more than enough to launch a successful career in cable news, and on those grounds alone I predict that this young man has a bright future indeed.