Friday, July 27, 2007

Kids Think GOP is, Like, Totally Lame

Stupid titles aside, this is a profoundly disturbing trend for Republicans.

In the presidential race, "both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama lead Rudy Giuliani -- the most acceptable of the Republican offerings among youth -- by significant margins. The President’s standing is substantially worse, to the degree that is possible, than we find in the broader electorate. Moreover, the disconnect we see between the Republicans and our nation’s youth runs so deep, that it likely will not only outlive the Bush administration, but potentially haunt the Republicans for many years to come."

Whenever I hear about President Bush's staggeringly low approval rating I almost always ask myself just who exactly is the 29.6% of America that still has faith in this guy? The answer I usually give myself is old people and/or these folks.

Now part of this problem is a little overstated because people generally get more conservative as they grow older, but if Republicans can't get a decent foothold into America's youth then they may be looking forward to a generation's worth of hard times. And the amusing thing is that I can't think of one way they are trying to develop inroads into younger Americans.

I'm sure someone will bring up the College Republicans, but really, that's little more than an elitist supper club for future party apparatchiks. How many people do you think Nate Nelson has converted to the conservative cause with his determined leadership of the UW-O CRs during the last decade?

The modern conservative movement needed 40 years to get from Goldwater's insurgent presidential campaign to the now laughable talk of a "permanent Republican majority" during the years between the 2002 midterms and Bush's re-election. It took that long to develop a cadre of intellectuals at places like the AEI and the Heritage Foundation, a small army of legal professionals via the Federalist Society, and media outlets like National Review, Fox, et al -- and at this rate they might need another generation to re-develop their political infrastructure from scratch if they are going to continue down this path of self-destruction.

Oh yeah, and not showing up to the YouTube debate in September won't help.

MORE: A great article on internet fund-raising during the '04 race and why YouTube is important this time around:

If the GOP candidates do in fact bail on the People's Debate, we'll hear more of the excuses we've already gotten. From Romney: "I think the presidency ought to be held at a higher level than having to answer questions from a snowman." No matter that, in the very same interview, he went on to defend the Manchester, New Hampshire, "Machine Gun Fundraiser" against critics: "We have to lighten up a bit as a society..."

And we will hear campaigns claim that the "YouTube audience" leans left. But that's simply not true. First of all, common sense should tell them that any audience of tens of millions of people is going to be similar to the general population. And as Michael Bassik has documented at, research data shows that the YouTube audience is anything but partisan:

YouTube actually attracts more Republicans than Democrats. Specifically, there are 3.3 million self-identified Republicans on the user-generated video site versus 3.1 million Democrats. (An addition 5 million consider themselves independent.)

But there is hope for the GOP yet: Several young campaign, consultant and new media veterans have launched a site for the grassroots to drag the candidates back into the debate even if they come kicking and screaming:

More power to them!

EVEN MORE: This will not help:

One of the excuses that Mitt Romney is using to back out of the YouTube debate for Republicans is all the sexual predators on the internet.
"YouTube looked to see if they had any convicted sex offenders on their web site. They had 29,000," he said, mistaking the debate co-sponsor for the social network MySpace, which has recently done a purge of sex offenders from its rolls.

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