Wednesday, June 15, 2005

I'll credit Republicans with one thing...

...And that is harvesting their young. I had a pretty difficult time myself finding liberal organizations to work for that seemed enthusiastic enough about having young people work for them to get back to my queries.

The New York Times runs an article about the Heritage Foundation's internship program which actually gives a stipend of $2,500 to each intern and houses them in pretty nice dorms.

The summer interns of the Heritage Foundation have arrived, forming an elite corps inside the capital's premier conservative research group. The 64 interns are each paid a 10-week stipend of $2,500, and about half are housed in a subsidized dorm at the group's headquarters, complete with a fitness room.

Unusual in its size (and in its walk-in closets), the program, on which Heritage spends $570,000 a year, is both a coveted spot on the young conservative circuit and an example of the care the movement takes to cultivate its young.

Of course, this is the party with the big bucks, but it would be nice if some liberal organizations valued its youth as much...not necessarily in money but just as people who can promote their causes. One thing Republicans have been excellent at is energizing and organizing their young supporters.

"There's no question that the right wing over the last 25 years did a much better job of creating a farm system," said Ralph G. Neas, the president of People for the American Way. Like many other liberal groups, his has recently expanded its campus outreach activities in an effort to keep pace with the right.

"They invested in young people," Mr. Neas said. "We're trying to catch up."

Still, while these kids all have impressive resumes, missing from their experience seems to be actual engagement with the people whose interests they would claim to represent. These young adults have worked on Capitol Hill and in White House offices, but in their quest for Republican professional work, it seems they have skipped over the campaigning, going to peoples' houses and telling them why their party should be supported.

These top-down intellectual structures like the Heritage Foundation and the Bush government offer little room for people who haven't had their heart set on a Heritage internship since their days as elementary school Young Republican president to influence the future of the party.


Lazlo said...

Its the same with fanatical racist groups. You have to start the brainwashing early, otherwise rational thought and common sense take over.

Elaine said...

Good point, and it helps to pay them to stay on your side.