Nick Gillespie on kids these days:
Who can blame them for not showing up? The abysmal and pathetic launch of healthcare.gov is simply the cherry on top of a shit sundae Obama’s been whipping up for the kids. You can protest that the stimulus should have been bigger, but when you judge its success against what the Obama administration claimed it would do, it was an epic fail. While masquerading as the peace and freedom candidate – easy to do against such hawkish characters as Hillary Clinton in the primaries and John McCain in the general election – Obama prided himself on tripling troop strength in Afghanistan and tried to extend our stays there and in Iraq. But for the vocal pushback from Rand Paul, Justin Amash, and a bunch of younger, non-interventionist Republicans, there’s every reason that the U.S. would have started an unsanctioned war in Syria, just as it did in Libya (where things are working out…how, again?).
The president has been genuinely awful on pot legalization and dragged his feet on gay marriage – issues on which younger voters are in front of the general population – and he spent his first term deporting more immigrants than George W. Bush managed to in eight years (despite minor reprieves announced in time for the 2012 elections, the deportations keep on happening). The revelations of widespread, Obama-approved drone strikes, the compilation of a presidential kill list, and the data collection of phone logs and internet traffic don’t exactly inspire warm and fuzzy feelings from a generation that lives online.
Variations on “Republicans are uncool” is often mentioned as one of the party’s many problems, especially since Bill Clinton made the Democrats so perennially hip more than 20 years ago. And there’s a lot of truth to both parts of that observation.
But it wasn’t always like that.
Go back only slightly further, to the late 1980s, and the GOP was the Cool Kids party. My freshman spring at Mizzou, Professor Hardy put on his every-fourth-year mock presidential election (I was mock campaign manager for Pete DuPont during the primary phase), and the College Republicans must have outnumbered by Young Democrats by 50% or more.
Try finding numbers like those on any US campus today, much less at a huge state school.
So what’s the GOP to do? It all starts in the primaries: More Rand Pauls, fewer Todd Akins. Kids these days are arguably even more libertarian-leaning than they were 25 years ago, and kids have never responded well to scolds.
And let me repeat something I mentioned a couple weeks ago on Trifecta. When Reagan spoke of that shining city on a hill, he wasn’t looking back over his shoulder — he was looking forward to the future.
To often, the GOP seems to be looking back at Reagan instead of forward. That’s no way to win voters of any age.