media, Politics and Grassroots

Kids make bad spokespeople

Somehow, some way, the political universe will have to come to grips with the mind-melting revelation that Jonathan Krohn is no longer a conservative wunderkind.  With a slow news week n Your Nation’s Capital, this non-story has been getting more digital ink than it’s worth.

Yes, I recognize the irony in that statement, but hear me out.  I’m not kvetching because it’s getting too much attention.

The national conservative leaders invited this story years ago, when they treated Krohn like the second coming of Bill Buckley, a thirteen-year-old in the temple of CPAC, arguing as equals with the elders of the movement.  By propping him up they created a sideshow, rather than provoking thought with a speech on fiscal policy or government regulation.

Then again, those speeches don’t make it onto YouTube – and when they do, no one watches.  So out comes Krohn, the Boy Wonder of the Right, to be a fun and kitschy carnival attraction.  But like any thinking adolescent, Krohn had (and likely still has) a long way to go on his own philosophical journey.

If you are looking to develop a movement leader, he or she would probably be better off listening at CPAC rather than talking.  Krohn himself realizes the exercise was a sham:

I mean, come on, I was between 13 and 14 when I was regurgitating these talking points! What does a kid who has never paid a tax bring to the table in a conversation about the burden of taxes? What does a healthy child know about people who can’t afford healthcare because of preexisting conditions? No matter how intelligent a person might be, certain political issues require life experience; they’re much more complicated than the black and white frames imposed by partisan America.

More than likely, there are folks on the left salivating over the opportunity to use him as a prop just the same as the right did years ago.  Whether the left or the right hand is grinding the organ, they both want the monkey to dance.

That’s not really fair to the monkey, though.  By using a teen as a figurehead, a political movement may score short-term points, but it sure doesn’t help the kid at all – and it isn’t the most dependable basket to drop your eggs in, either.

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