Friday, February 19, 2010

Jason Mattera's CPAC Speech

Last Thursday at CPAC, Young America's Foundation Spokesman Jason Mattera gave a very good, very funny speech on attracting young people to the conservative movement. You can view the speech here.

I have no real problem with Materra's controversial statements or the dialect with which he delivered the speech.

Materra, who like myself, is the author of an upcoming book on this topic, was unfairly attacked by the New York Times on its blog which insinuated that parts of the speech were racist. This accusation has no basis in reality. Mattera took a few cheap shots at Obama, but said nothing that could be construed as even remotely bigoted by any intellectually honest observer.

Where I take issue with Mattera's speech was what I saw as an overly optimistic portrayal of the changing attitudes of young people towards the president. Mattera said:

“Actually, on the cocaine front, I do believe many people in America viewed Barack as they do drugs: it was a substance to experiment with.”

“But like most narcotics, the hangover afterward has them thinking, What the hell did I just do?”

A good analogy, but I don't see it.

Quinnipiac recently released a poll showing that 58% of voters between the ages of 18-34 still approve of the job that the president is doing. This is down only 8% points from his election night total and does not account for the fact that the poll adds voters aged 30-34 into the tally while the election result of 66% tallied voters between the ages of 18-29.

Only 33% of voters aged 18-34 disapproved of Obama's job performance. Given that those aged 30-34 are more likely to have a less favorable view of Obama it means that less than the 33% of voters 18-29 who cast ballots for John McCain, disapprove of the job Obama is doing.

All of this while the general population's approval of Obama has dropped nearly 23% since his inauguration.

All of these numbers mean one of two things. Both bad.

Either young people are still very supportive of Obama's hyper-liberal agenda or they're simply not paying attention to the current policy debate that has been taking place since the election season ended.

If it's the former,it means that young people are actually ideologically liberal and they were not simply reacting to Obama's soaring rhetoric and undefined promises of "hope" and "changed" when they overwhelmingly supported him in 2008.

If it's the latter, and the weak outpouring of activism from young voters when it came to Obama's health care push tells me it is, it means that these young people are oblivious to all of the damaging policies that Obama is currently proposing and will see no reason not to vote for Obama in 2012.

Mattera may have simply been trying to rally the troops with his impressive CPAC speech. But the glasses he was wearing appear to be a bit too rosy. An overly optimistic view of the situation could put the conservative movement at risk of assuming that young voters will turn against Obama automatically once the rest of the electorate does.

If this does not happen conservative candidates will remain in the same difficult position with young voters as the found themselves in a year ago.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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