I can’t believe anyone’s grumbling at this kid for switching sides. He’s 17. His political path will take some turns on the way to adulthood; most people’s paths do. We had some fun with his big splash at CPAC but it was clear enough that he was doing shtick, albeit shtick at an especially precocious level. I’ll bet that, at 13, he thought he knew everything; now 17, he probably thinks he knew nothing then but knows a lot more today. How do you think he’ll feel at 21? I’d give even odds that in five years he’ll be a libertarian looking to intern for Reason.
Anyway. The obvious lesson here: We must start vetting our 13-year-old pundits more closely, my friends.
My star role worked out well for a while. I didn’t have to question any of the talking points I’d made in my speech, and I got to drone on and on about them at numerous Tea Parties and other conservative gatherings. I felt justified in my beliefs if for no other reason than no one actually told me I was wrong. Instead, men like Bill Bennett and Newt Gingrich hailed me as the voice for my generation and a hope for America…
I was tired of being a part of the ideological warfare this country is so caught up in. I was tired of the right using me as an example of how young people “get” what they’re talking about — when it’s obvious that I didn’t get what I talking about at all. 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. (And no, my mother and father didn’t write my material for me. You’d have to be as paranoid as the birthers to think someone’s parents would put them up to all that. Have a bit more faith in the human race, man!) I was just a 13-year-old kid spitting up the nonsense he’d learned. In the future, a good rule of thumb might be: If you’re not old enough to have consensual sex, you’re probably not old enough to make consequential political statements.
B-b-b-but … he was the chosen one. Exit question: If he writes a piece for NRO when he’s 21 insisting that, no, in hindsight, he had everything right when he was 13 after all, he’ll be forgiven for this, right? C’mon.