Though I’ve been critical of Andrew Breitbart and James O’Keefe, I don’t share the dislike of Hannah Giles that I’ve seen in the blogosphere. Given her age, inexperience, and the crowd that got her interested in politics, I wouldn’t expert her to avoid the forgivable mistakes she’s made, and she’s not a bad writer. Thank God I never received the exposure she’s getting when I was her age.
I am, however, truly puzzled by this piece she’s posted at Big Government. I presume that she is entirely earnest when she writes:
Young, truly devoted liberals, who can defend and properly communicate what they believe and formulate their own ideas to help their team are hard to come by. Very hard. Now, it is true, the Left in Washington has a giant stronghold in Hollywood. There are dozens of young actors/comedians/musicians/artists who side with the political left and promote their policies publicly, encouraging the average youth to behave and think as they do.
But what young warriors do the liberals have? I’m not asking about the automated liberal-spewing machines, or the professional foamers in the blogosphere. Not the kind of public-school-educated robots who grew up obeying Hollywood and defying their parents. I’m talking about leaders, the thinking types.
Ponder this for a moment: currently, names like Aaron Schock, Jason Mattera, James O’Keefe, Evan Baehr, Brendan Steinhauser, Lila Rose and Ben Shapiro are popping up on the public radar. Besides being under 30, this crew is desperately fighting for America on the conservative policy/political side of things, and the scary/really cool thing about it is they have the smarts, creativity, guts, and resolve to do so.
The only young liberal that I would consider in their league is the 25 year-old Ezra Klein of Newsweek. He is extremely intellectual, creative and effective at communicating his ideas to mass audiences. That’s right, his ideas. He doesn’t just parrot what the leftist elites in Washington are saying. And that deserves credit; it is hard to formulate your own thoughts on issues and devote yourself to ensuring they are communicated accurately and efficiently.
Don’t get me wrong. I am impressed by the career Ezra Klein has made for himself, as I’ve written before. Though I don’t share his opinions on health care, I’ve benefited from his explanations and analysis, and I’ll bet we see great things from him in the future. But the notion that he is alone among smart young liberal writers — as opposed to one among many — is absurd, as I’m sure he’d be the first to acknowledge.
Ms. Giles assertion, if it is indeed earnest, suggests to me that she exists in a rather extreme media bubble. Am I wrong? I issue this challenge: Take a look at the work of Charles Homans, Ann Friedman, Chris Hayes, Brad Plumer, and Dayo Olopade — an abbreviated list of exceptionally smart, intellectually honest liberal writers chosen because they’re the first five that sprang to mind. I’m sure I could list a dozen more as deserving of mention.
Can Ms. Giles deny that they’re intellectual, creative, and adept at communicating their ideas? Or that they’ve produced fine work on numerous occasions? I hope that the conservative movement produces young journalists as talented as these folks, but I am not optimistic. Arguing with Ezra Klein is a perfectly good start for a young right-leaning political writer, especially one who is writing about health care, but if he’s the only smart young liberal of whom you’re aware — well, I can’t say it’ll necessarily stop you from rising in the conservative movement, but you won’t have much success finding, understanding, and responding to the most persuasive liberal arguments, let alone winning converts.