I was sent this Washington Post story as I work at a non-profit think tank that I am apparently too embarrassed to mention. Wait a minute, no I’m not. I proudly tell anyone and everyone, even all the democratic staffers I see on a daily basis, that I work for the Heritage Foundation. “I work for the premier conservative think tank that puts out papers based on principle and real understanding of public policy inside and outside of Washington, DC.” I have a feeling the writers DID have a few quotes like this, but left them on their notepad.
Instead, the reporters quote interns at a bar. This is akin to Carrie Bradshaw quoting single girls at a bachelorette party on the subject of men. Not only are the interns a bit loose lipped(thank the dollar beers), but they apparently don’t know much on the subject. Since when does asking college kids to spout off any CNN or Fox News soundbyte (depending on their affiliation) they remember count as journalism? If this was a blog or piece on the Wonkette, I would laugh and feel bad for the poor interns, whose friends might happen upon their inane comments while deviating away from facebook for a few seconds. Rather, this is a respected newspaper reporting on a real political issue in the ARTS section and assigning a highly biased and telescopic viewpoint on a large and diverse group of young underdogs who are not riding any media/celebrity exuberance bandwagons.
The writers say young conservatives are alienated by the rest of our generation who “voted overwhelmingly for Obama” according to “network exit polls.” Besides exit poll accuracy, the 66% to 33% numbers speaks more interestingly about the conservative movement rather than our generation I believe. America’s youth has been “rallied” in 200 and 2004, most famously by MTV’s Rock the Vote, but with Gore and Kerry on the ballots, the young vote did not impress. Were the democratic youth a ‘lost generation?’ Last year conservatives had a moderate old guy that was quoted as not using email on the ballot. Not a great rallying point. This journalistic issue was not addressed in the article. No surprise.
Siggins says he struggles with some of his party's more culturally orthodox ideals. "Because I am in this generation and was raised in a pro-gay-marriage era, I am only a little bit against gay marriage, but only a little, like 53 percent to 47," he says. "I have about a dozen gay friends, 30 or 20, and they would all back me up. In college, I used to have lunch with them. . . . We went ice skating once."
Instead, the article reads as a National Geographic piece from 1920 would on indigenous natives in the rainforest, labeling any deviance from the norm of our species as weird and mystical. One example is an intern quoted “might be out of a job after his internship ends in May.” Really? Not all interns have jobs already lined up 3 months out? Does his internship even count as a job right now? He is in college!
Maybe the Post should hire some of the quoted young conservatives to better report on this issue. I know this is hopeless as the three young “conservative writers – such as Julian Sanchez, Megan McArdle and Will Wilkinson,” probably would not be hired at the Post, as they obviously have not even done any background checks on other writers they report on. FYI Post Editors: These three writers are NOT conservative! They don’t even label themselves republicans. This is such a dumb mistake I don’t even think it warrants a retraction; just a slap in the forehead.
Also, if a reporter actually did some research on any of the points in this article, they would find there are a lot of conservative jobs for non-profits, fundraising and even on the Hill. The writers obviously don’t know that non-profits that lean a cartain political direction get MORE donations when their party is in the minority. Look at the rise of moveon.org during the early years of the Bush administration as an example. As far as trouble finding any job, the reporters fail to mention, what is it called again? The RECESSION. They quote a White House staffer leaving DC “because, among other reasons, he couldn’t find a job.” What reasons? My sister moved to South Carolina after the election, leaving the republican fundraising sector, because she wanted to and had decided to move on from politics. Is that an ‘other reason?’
There is opportunity here not just for those chasing “prestigious careers in politics” as the authors attest all young conservatives are, but for young people who believe in conservative principles like “personal responsibility and… the strength of the individual.” Yes, that is a quote from Obama’s speech Tuesday night, but those are OUR principles, OUR strength and OUR future. Maybe we are an “Obama generation.”
But only during his speeches.