Republicans Need a Mod Squad

The Republican brand has taken a beating, especially among younger Americans. The war is one reason, but there are others, especially global warming. The irony, of course, is that only the Republicans have been taking seriously the ticking time-bomb that is run-away entitlement spending. When college kids get ready to ready to retire, Social Security and Medicare spending will take about 90 percent of the budget, or some crazy number like that. But most kids don’t worry about that now. They worry about other things, like war and global warming.

There is always a debate among political types about how much college kids really matter in elections anyway. They rarely vote, and they aren’t good for any campaign contributions.

But I think Republicans should worry about kids and what they worry about. Parents have an impact on how their kids vote, but I also think kids have an impact on how their parents vote. They say that 40 is the new 30 (I hope that is true, because that would make me 33). But in this society of ours, youth is worshipped. That means that many parents do care what their kids think. That is why Republicans should care that the Republican brand is very uncool right now. And they should do something about it.

Here is what I suggest. Right now, in the House Republican leadership, there are three young members who are cool and should be able to communicate with the college kids as to what the Republicans are all about. Adam Putnam (Fla.), the House Republican Conference chairman, Eric Cantor (Va.), the chief deputy whip, and Paul Ryan (Wis.), the ranking member on the Budget Committee, are really smart, good-looking and articulate -- they’re rising stars in the party.

They should go on a tour of college campuses, not only spreading the message of the future of the GOP but also listening to what kids are thinking so they can report back to the congressional leadership. Getting a message that resonates with kids and their parents could be the first step in getting the GOP back on track.

And this “Mod Squad” shouldn’t only visit conservative campuses. They should visit the belly of the beast, places like UW-Madison and UC-Berkley. That would make some heads turn, eh?

I remember when I was in college in the early ’80s. Newt Gingrich came to visit, and he gave a Newtonian address that made a big impact on me. The Mod Squad could do the same for the next generation.