Pandering to Millennials Will Ruin the GOP
Editor's Note: Rush Limbaugh's article was written in response to PolicyMic Pundit Alex Smith, National Chairman of the College Republican National Committee (CRNC). In her op-ed, "Millennials Are a Tremendous Opportunity for the Republican Party," she calls on millennials to fight to re-invent the Republican Party to represent young people.
I'm a baby boomer, so I'm allowed to begin this by talking about myself. I have only one request and that is before you read this, please put out of your mind everything you have heard about me in the media, everything you think you know about me, and just read this self-contained for what it is. In order to absorb this in total objectivity, try to imagine that you have no idea who wrote it. And for those who post comments, likewise: respond to the content alone, devoid of all emotionally-based bias you might have towards me. (For those of you who don't know who I am, you are ahead of the game for this exercise. Congratulations.)
As I said, I'm a baby boomer but I don't think of myself that way very often, and when I do, I'm mostly embarrassed. My generation is a self-absorbed bunch who never really had to grow up. We had it SO MUCH EASIER than our parents and grandparents! Heck, we had to invent our own traumas to convince ourselves we were struggling.
On the other hand, my parents struggled through the Great Depression, my dad fought in World War II (he flew the P-51 Mustang, China/Burma Theater), and then had to work and raise a family under threats by the Soviet Union to destroy America — threats which WERE taken seriously by everyone. The Soviets were serious, they meant it. The point is that my parents knew when they were 18 that life was bigger and about much more than themselves. When they were 40, their lives were set. That was it, they were done; they had fought their battles. They didn't ponder getting rich, maximizing opportunity, etc. They were worn out, totally focused on trying to make my life better than theirs.
I've had it so comparatively easy that I'm 62 and still feel 18 some days; I feel like I am going to live another 70 years. I didn't have to grow up nearly as fast as my parents did. And I'm nowhere finished growing, nowhere near stopping, retiring, and letting you take over. But that doesn't mean you aren't going to try. And you should, by all means.
I understand the desire and need for people of younger generations to be heard and acknowledged. I totally get that. But the truth is that it is up to you to be heard, up to you to get noticed, up to you to stand out. You are not entitled to be respected just because of your age. The only exception is the Seasoned Citizen population, which is the greatest collection of wisdom in the country (I don't expect you to believe that). You can demand to be respected, recognized, and listened to all day long, but understand that no one has any obligation to listen to you. You are going to have to make them want to ... by virtue of your achievements. By demonstrating potential. By being interesting. Yes, even by being provocative. Fearless. Everyone has the right to speak, but we do not have a right to be listened to. No one has a constitutional right to be heard. In other words, don't sit around and wait and hope or demand that somebody listen to you. Take action. Be heard, but above all, make something happen.
I think a political party that reaches out to groups and demographics with ideas that lack cohesion is a party destined to lose because it will fragment. A party has to be about a universal set of principles and ideas that attract all kinds of people from all walks of life. All ages, all genders, all orientations. It has been done recently. Ronald Reagan won two landslide elections in 1980 and 1984. You can tailor your message for individual groups, but not your principles.
At the same time, you must be honest with yourselves and understand exactly what it is the Democratic Party seeks to do. If you are serious about all this, you must resolve that the Democratic Party is to be defeated, not compromised with. You rightly note the challenges you face: Rising stifling debt. Rising unemployment. Rising deficits. No economic growth. The state is getting bigger and the private sector, where you work, is getting smaller. Not cool. And many of you probably would say that the Republican Party contributed in part to all of this, and you would be right.
But one simple fact remains, and that is that the ideas and policies that led to this mess are rooted in the left ... the Democratic Party.
You, through no fault of your own, are in the midst of an ideological war in America today. It is not just a battle between two parties. Principles, ideas, and philosophy are being fought over. Many people are uncomfortable hearing this and facing it. But you must if you want to grow and live in the America you've always believed in. Because it won't exist as founded for very much longer if these battles are lost. And this is up to you because you are the unfortunate heirs of this disaster. You have lots of allies among us who are your elders, and we are eager and hopeful you will join us. Because these battles are being undertaken for you and your future. And your kids.
[Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has also shared his thoughts about millennials and the future of the GOP. See his story, "I Filibustered to Defend Millennials," here]