Politico's Patrick Gavin on Monday hyped the evolution of a 13-year-old conservative to a 17-year-old liberal in an article trumpeting, "CPAC's Boy Wonder Is All Grown Up." Grown up equals liberal? The headline proved too much even for Politico. It was quickly changed to "CPAC's Boy Wonder Swings Left."
Gavin breathlessly recounted what a difference four years makes: "[Jonathan] Krohn is bucking the received wisdom that people become more conservative as they get older, a shift he attributes partly to philosophy."
Jonathan Krohn took the political world by storm at 2009’s Conservative Political Action Conference when, at just 13 years old, he delivered an impromptu rallying cry for conservatism that became a viral hit and had some pegging him as a future star of the Republican Party.
Now 17, Krohn — who went on to write a book, “Defining Conservatism,” that was blurbed by the likes of Newt Gingrich and Bill Bennett — still watches that speech from time to time, but it mostly makes him cringe because, well, he’s not a conservative anymore.
“I think it was naive,” Krohn now says of the speech. “It’s a 13-year-old kid saying stuff that he had heard for a long time.… I live in Georgia. We’re inundated with conservative talk in Georgia.… The speech was something that a 13-year-old does. You haven’t formed all your opinions. You’re really defeating yourself if you think you have all of your ideas in your head when you were 12 or 13. It’s impossible. You haven’t done enough.”
Thirteen is too young to have a coherent, mature political philosophy, but 17 isn't?
Gavin's article originally featured the "all grown up" headline. The Media Research Center's Tim Graham tweeted Gavin, pointing out, "You're aware that your headline suggests you're 'all grown up' when you become a liberal?" Gavin tweeted back, "Headline wasn't my doing but it's a fair point. Lemme inquire..."
Krohn recounted to Gavin how much he had grown: "I think I’ve just matured overall."
The problem isn't that this teenager is a young liberal and that he was an even younger conservative. It'sPolitico's definition of "all grown up": Liberal.