Today I met with many of the Young Republicans in the party who can't help but notice that the stereotypes of old, white, men are more valid than they would like. Leaders from the popular youth blog HipHopRepublican.com sat down with me to talk about opportunities that their party could harness if they were only willing to do the kind of outreach that Democratic Presidential Candidate Barack Obama's campaign does. The young people all have ambitions to achieve goals or run for office, but they are fighting an uphill battle in a tough establishment world. Their optimism reigns supreme, however, and the push mountains in efforts to move their party to something a little more mainstream. I sat down with Princella Smith, a young woman who works for former Republican Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich's new organization American Solutions. Ms. Smith got her start from a competition offered by MTV several years ago that allowed her to play a major roll in forums during the previous presidential election. She now serves as a major policy adviser and spokesperson for American Solutions - all before the age of 30. She is connected and personable. In passing I mentioned that I was hoping to get an interview with Michael Steele candidate for Lt. Governor in Maryland. I had seen his commercials years ago when he ran and enjoyed the ad which became known as the Puppy Kicker ad that I still find to be so outside the box and original. Princella quickly dragged me over to what became known as Radio Row where all the talk news stations were poised to do interviews as politicians and prominent party people passed through the halls. Against the wall was Michael Steele doing a quick interview. Princella introduced us and quickly snapped a picture. I can safely say that it is the only picture of me with a Republican politician - luckily its one of the decent ones. See the full video of the interview here
. Morgan Thomas is still in collage but already works on three campaigns this year all while serving her duties on the national board of Young Republicans. She is clearly a bright and eager young woman who hopes to win a mayoral seat before she is 30 and eventually run for governor. This was her first convention and the nomination of Gov. Sarah Palin had excited and encouraged as a young female republican. See the full video of my interview with her here. Claudio Simpkins told me that he frequently gets confused for Barack Obama, and with a beaming smile it isn't hard to understand why. From a broken home that had drugs and hardship bearing down on him it would have been easy for him to fall between the cracks of the system. Instead, Claudio rose to the challenge and is now at Harvard Law School. He has a deep passion to give back to his community with no real immediate enthusiasm about running for office. It doesn't stop him from having a little fun when people ask his friends "Wait... Is that? Is that him!?" See the full interview of him here.
Richard Ivory came up to my cafe table asking if we could share it because there weren't any others around. We introduced ourselves and I knew instantly that we were allies in the youth movement. Richard started HipHopRepublican in attempts to bring more youth to politics on his side of the partisan divide. Republicans aren't popular in New York City and Richard describes himself as a moderate who is heavily influenced by Mayor Michael Bloomberg whose campaign he worked on. After talking issues with Richard, I couldn't help think that in the Bible-Belt he would be a Democrat... but decided not to alienate him. It was Richard that guided me to some of these most remarkable people that I met while at the RNC. A majority of the time I spent with Richard was with him shouting and running after passers by who he thought would be good for me to talk to. Richard is up to his chin in hope for the youth movement to gain traction in the GOP. His connectivity and tenacity are honorable and unbelievable, but his friendliness and hope for his party's future is what brings people to him. Along with his friends and colleagues he hopes to bring the GOP into the new century where the party is more reflective of our country in race, in gender, and in age. It is with this kind of community Richard thinks they can sustain their party. While I certainly don't agree with them on a lot of issues, if there's were the faces of the GOP it would be a lot more difficult for opposition to succeed. CE and Brett, the co-authors of the new book Why You're Wrong About the Right think, however, that the old white stereotype is not the reality. They see when looking at their friends. CE tells me she has a good time, goes out, parties, goes to ball games. She's not an old fuddy duddy like some of the delegates seen on the floor night after night. See the full interview with these two co-authors here
. She is clearly a strong, polished, and well educated young woman who remembers with clarity Bill Clinton's outreach at the MTV/Rock the Vote candidate forum in 1992 where the famous Boxer or Briefs question was asked. CE says the mere outreach by him was a huge step for a politician to make, and she's surprised that there haven't been any republicans since take on similar forms of outreach. The book presents photos and interviews with those who don't fit the traditional appearance of the GOP. Youthful and minority faces shine from the pages as the argument is presented that not everyone is old and white. The others would say that its just most of them. Embedded through the links above are the entire interviews of these remarkable young people, and below is my comprehensive clips and soundbites of their comments. Also see my interview with Armstrong Williams
, conservative talk radio host about these topics. I'll continue to upload videos as I render them.