Marco Rubio is on the verge of politically slaying one of the most popular Republican governors in the country, what pundits saw as an unthinkable electoral coup a few months ago.
The charismatic 38-year-old’s unlikely rise to fame in Florida’s Republican U.S. Senate primary should give conservatives assurance that not all youth are flaming liberals. They can, in fact, serve the vital function of reigning in their wayward elders — of whom Charlie Crist is a poster boy, made evident by his stimulus whoring on Sunday.
The old adage, often attributed to Winston Churchill, that young conservatives don’t have a heart and old liberals don’t have a brain doesn’t apply here. Rubio has a heart and a brain, and he applies both to policy with vigor.
The same holds true for Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan, 40, and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, 38, among many others. They’ve emerged as champions of responsible spending and foes of the president’s spendthrift ways. And they’re young.
That’s why conservatives shouldn’t give up on the youth demographic, especially as the Obama administration’s reckless policies keep hitting the pocketbook hard. Along those lines, the Harvard Institute of Politics produced positive results in its spring 2010 survey. It found that young Republicans are energized and more likely to vote than their Democrat counterparts in the upcoming midterms.
Also important, a majority of 18-29 year-olds said Obama and Congress should keep the deficit down, even if it means a slower economy. That flies in the face of the Keynesian model the Obama/Pelosi/Reid machine are riding.
The numbers are particularly enlightening after the 2008 election cycle. That year saw the largest disparity in political views between young and old voters since exit polling began in 1972, according to the Pew Research Center. Pew identified across-the-board liberal views for voters under 30, including beliefs that the federal government should be more involved in solving the nation’s problems.
That might be shifting as the nation’s youth see the disastrous consequences of government interventions in every aspect of the economy — and realize that, in the end, they’ll be footing the bill.
Conservatism is looking pretty darn cool again.