There has been a debate within the GOP about how to effectively reach out to young people. Some say that moderation is the key. They contend that we must take the Meghan McCain approach and support gay marriage. Some, even conservative, leaders have tried to move away from a strong stand on the social issues by taking a "leave it to the states" approach. While conventional wisdom would have us to take this appraoch, there is a point to consider.
Currently there are two young GOP leaders out there who have really resonated with their generation. The conundrum for people like Meghan McCain is that these young leaders, who have actually resonated with their generation at the ballot box, are strong fiscal, national security, and social conservatives. This model could be described as full-spectrum conservatism. These leaders are the model to which the GOP should look if it is to resonate in future elections.
First, there is Aaron Schock. This Congressman from Illinois knows how to win, having first been elected to office at the age of 19. He communicates principles in a way that students can understand, he also does not come across as someone who has basically lived in a country club for 50 years. He comes across as a young leader who knows his community. The best part is that he has blown to pieces the myth that all young people have "progressed" toward supporting liberal social positions. As a state legislator he had a 100% pro-life and 100% pro-family record. This was combined with a strong fiscal record to deliver a solid candidate.
Second, we come to Marco Rubio in Florida. Fmr. Speaker Rubio is currently running for the United States Senate against the more moderate Governor Charlie Crist. Marco Rubio is both young and Hispanic, two key groups that the GOP will need. He is also resonating with his generation. He formerly represented a Miami area district. He rose to become the Speaker of the House in the Florida Legislature. It is still unclear whether or not Speaker Rubio will win the U.S. Senate seat. It is unfortunate that the NRSC and other establishment Republicans have rejected Marco Rubio by endorsing his opponent in the primary. The sad truth is that many in the establishment wing of the GOP have decided that conservatives like Rubio are not as important as moderate voices.
Both Schock and Rubio can be described as full-spectrum conservatives. They are the leaders that are resonating with their generation, and it is candidates like them, that the GOP needs to put up in the future.