The Conservative Political Action Conference is one of the biggest deals in Republican politics, and one of this year’s biggest stars isn’t old enough to drive. So this weekend New York Times ran a story on precocious 14 year old pundit Jonathan Krohn. Two stories, in fact. There’s the story about how the conservative movement, desperate for heroes, inexplicably latched onto a fourteen year old boy. And there’s the story Jonathan’s parents are living.
Jonathan said he became a political enthusiast at 8, after hearing about a Democratic filibuster on judicial nominations. “I thought, ”˜Who goes to work saying, ”˜I’m going to filibuster today?’ ” he said.
Mr. Krohn, looking bleary-eyed by recent events, muttered, “And now he can filibuster with the best of them.”
Mr. and Mrs. Krohn–themselves conservative, though apparently not crazy-conservative–are in a weird place. They’ve got a son who’s going through this politically-obsessed phase, arguing with a new convert’s zeal. Not that unusual; the stereotype is the new liberal who wonders whether ANYBODY cares about SAVING THE WHALES, MAN, but in real life you get this with conservatives, too.
Now, surreally, other adults have started taking their kid seriously. He’s speaking at conferences and getting interviewed on the radio and palling around with Bill Bennett. This isn’t supposed to happen in real life. This is the plot of a movie. A comedy. A gonzo political satire, probably from the late sixties or early seventies, crossed with a Wes Anderson film.
His voice rising to a wobbly squeak, he grabs any opening to press the cause. “Barack Obama is the most left-wing president in my lifetime,” he said.
Mr. Krohn buried his face in his hands. “Oh, Jonathan,” he sighed.
My mental image of Mr. Krohn precisely resembles Walter Matthau.