The New Rebels Are on the Right
The GOP can and must appeal to the freedom-loving, rebellious side of young voters.
February 16, 2009 - 12:00 am
To revive the party, Republicans need to shake off the party’s image as one of staid, old, straight white men, say moderates like David Frum. To this end he has started a new blog, the New Majority. In order to win again, we need to give up social and cultural issues, say the reformers. We also need to start blogging, Twittering, RSS-feeding, Digg-ing, text-messaging, email-alerting, and getting connected into the vast electronic network that the Democrats use so well.
Indeed, Big Brother Obama has a direct electronic cord to his followers.
We need to do the same, they suggest.
But had McCain-Palin offered such a direct conduit, it is doubtful that any of the kids would have signed up. As far as I can tell, conservatives have no trouble getting the message out to people who are interested because once I had filled out a form for one conservative list, I saw them spread like dandelions in my inbox.
And it seems that students are already capable of using the electronic network to effect change, as the protest via Facebook against using student fees to pay for a Bill Ayers appearance at a campus demonstrates.
But most of my college students won’t give Fox News even a look and have never heard of the conservative journals or blogs out there. Conservative foundations offering grants, scholarships, and free workshops beg for student participants.
Zac Morgan writing at the New Majority notes that it was the appeal of Obama that drew young people to the polls. To them, John McCain is like some historical artifact in a Wikipedia article, Morgan suggests.
Yet, it was McCain’s running mate, a woman younger than Obama, who drew the most vitriol — especially from young women.
The vitriol came from young female bloggers and columnists, and spread to college campuses.
I was taken aback by my female students’ contempt for Palin. After I had assigned them Gloria Steinem’s editorial, “Palin: Wrong Woman, Wrong Message,” I was surprised at how they bought the talking points on “patriarchy,” “right wing,” and “reproductive freedom” that the 74-year-old Steinem resuscitated. Steinem was on the same track she was on in a 1971 New York Times editorial that they also read.
But I shouldn’t have been surprised: Steinem’s language — and Obama’s community organizing, diversity dribble — has been the language young people grew up speaking in schools.
In addition, faculty and staff members openly displayed their support for Obama during this election. And they continue to promote the idea that Obama is the messiah.