The conservative movement in America is now child’s play.
The kids have taken over the right wing (again) and that’s not sitting too well with the old guard.
Young, fresh-faced right-wingers dominated the crowd of more than 10,000 registrants at this past weekend’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington.
They pushed the old fuddy-duddies out of the way and turned the conference into a conservative Woodstock.
“Marco Rubio, Mitt Romney, and Liz (and Dick) Cheney gave big speeches on the opening day of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) — and Glenn Beck closed it to a rousing ovation, but just as interesting as the speakers on stage was the ages of the people sitting in the seats, congregated around the bars and cafes, and holding court in the lobby of the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel.
“I speak from experience. My first CPAC conference was eleven years ago. Since then, I’ve attended seven or eight of the annual affairs. The most obvious difference this year is that there are more young people in attendance.”
Lots more. CPAC director Lisa De Pasquals told Lewis more than half the 10,000 plus registrants were college students.
As Lewis notes, CPAC used to be a convention of “blue hairs.”
Not any more.
The infusion of youth means trouble for the Democrats. Conservative movements usually gain momentum when the kids get involved.
Most of the GOP “young turks” who helped put Ronald Reagan into office 30 years ago came out of the college “Young Republicans” ranks. Political masterminds like Lee Atwater, Charlie Black and Roger Stone were young, energetic and willing to push the status quo out of the way.
Atwater is dead, felled by a brain tumor at the height of his political power. Black, Stone, et. al, are now the old men of the party. They had nothing to offer the younger, independent voters who flocked to Barack Obama in 2008.
But those same independents now see Obama as a failure who violated their trust and sold out to the lobbyists and the status quo. So the young now look back to the right for salvation.
Some of those young independents fueled the Ron Paul candidacy in 2008. It’s not unusual to see younger political operatives drive the agendas of older politicians. Richard Nixon‘s “dirty tricks” squad was manned by young political operatives who honed their skills during student campaigns in college. Many were called the “USC Mafia” where they coined the phrase “rat-fucking” to define their dirty tricks at the University of Southern California.
You see the same attitude now in radical conservative political operatives like James O’Keefe, the activist who posed as a pimp to help bring down ACORN and now faces charges for trying to wiretap Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu. Shades of Watergate? You betcha.
Memo to the Democratic Party.
Be very afraid.
The kids are back in town.
And they serve the right-wing.
- Gingrich and Beck Galvanize Conservatives (nytimes.com)
- WaPo Front-Page Slam: CPAC ‘Once a Venue for the Right Fringe’ (newsbusters.org)
- George Will on CPAC: Big Tent Has Freak Show (blogs.abcnews.com)
- CPAC Conference Drama vs. Drama starring GOProud (lezgetreal.com)
- Conservatives Aim to Reengage Youth at CPAC (abcnews.go.com)
- James O’Keefe At CPAC: Conservative Agitator Gets Rock Star Welcome (huffingtonpost.com)
- Glenn Beck: GOP Must Admit it Has a Problem (cbsnews.com)