Four months ago, while working for the House Republican Study Committee, Khanna put out a memo on the deeply un-sexy topic of copyright law. Intellectual property rights, wrote Khanna, were viewed as pure capitalism, when they should be treated as a government monopoly at its worst. The memo was retracted; Khanna was out of the RSC. David Brooks was merely the most famous pundit heralding Khanna as a brave new wonk, punished for an idea that “differed from the usual lobbyist-driven position.”
Intellectual property laws are theft. The sort of big idea that'll have the Republican party back on top in no time.
Look, there should be a bottomless well of schadenfreude available to anyone who's lived through the last thirty-five years of right-wing atrocities. And in fact there is. But I'll be damned if I can find the tiniest interest in the Hip Young Libertoonians Who Know How To Use The Internet congratulating themselves for being the New Teabagger Party. Call me when this wins something. Call me when they're no longer delusional.
We know what the people in funny hats and Palin masks do at CPAC. We know all about the holdouts—ready for study or museum display at this point—who still laugh at Ann Coulter’s jokes. We know that William Temple, the “Tea Party patriot” who dresses in revolutionary-era garb and carries a Gadsden flag signed by Michele Bachmann, will make his Zelig way into every photo.
So what does the wise young wonk do at CPAC? Khanna is going to find out, because he’s been coming here for years, as a typical young Republican.Interesting fact: losing elections with Ann Coulter, William Temple, and Michele Bachmann--the Minnesota Congresswoman who's all bats and no belfry, and whose Presidential debate performances so impressed that Young Slate libertoonian whose name escapes me--does not mean you're going to win without them.
... a consumer rights group called Fan Freedom, devoted to unwinding the regulations that cover ticket sales. “We just had a good hearing in Minnesota,” he says, and he hands me a brochure with the Fan Freedom logo of a righteous fist grabbing a ticket and some equally righteous slogans:
We believe we have the right to buy, give away or sell tickets however we choose, anytime we choose, in any way we choose, at any price we choose.Interesting fact: scalping tickets is perfectly legal in Indiana. Except if you're within a mile of the venue for something really big, like the Super Bowl or the NCAA basketball tournament. Those are exceptions to Freedom! enacted by Republican state legislatures because the NFL and the NCAA were leaking enough juice to light up the city, and told them to do it. I love how you guys imagine that Capitalists are on your side.
Khanna takes the opportunity to wonder whether his unlocked phone will get him arrested at a congressional hearing on unlocking. It’s a rare note of pessimism, because this has been a pretty solid week for his issues. Sen. Rand Paul’s filibuster on drone policy, for example, that revealed GOP enthusiasm for something the media didn’t know how to cover.
"Conservative hypocrisy?" I think they know how to cover it, in theory. They just don't wanna.
And, fuck, do you really imagine you'd be better off if they did?
“When I was at the RSC, we put out a report on drones and included a section in there about the assassination of American citizens,” he says. “I have an academic article coming out—I presented it at the Atlantic Council—about how drone warfare really empowers the executive branch. I’ve been very concerned about that, very concerned about the assassination of Anwar al-Awlaki.”
You're a twenty-five year old hair-gel model with an eye towards a career in politics, who, when he "put out that report" was working for the very people who funded the program.
I don't remember who it was said of the '64 Civil Rights Act that "if they turned out the lights they wouldn't get twenty-five votes". But I do know that the principled Republican opposition to remote-control warfare can't survive turning off the teevee lights.
We cruise through the exhibit hall quickly, stopping only for Khanna to catch up with libertarian columnist David Harsanyi (“Let’s talk”) and with National Tax Foundation staffers who are excited for Khanna’s upcoming panel.
“I’m talking about a balanced-budget amendment that originates in the states,” he says.
“Phyllis Schlafly’s talking tomorrow, right?” asks the tax staffer, next to a mini putting green decorated with suggestions for possible spending cuts. “For some reason, she’s opposed to that.”
“Oh, it would be great if she took us on in her speech!” says Khanna.Libertarian Young Turks: Overcoming Forty Years of Phyllis Schlafly! ™
And a Balanced Budget Amendment originating with the states! I smell dynasty! Sheesh, it's like you all decided that the problem with the Republican brand is that it needs to update the imaginary past it's trying to create.
Khanna wasn’t a particularly starry-eyed young conservative. “I was in the room at CPAC 2008, when Mitt Romney dropped out of the race,” he says. “I was devastated. Everyone I was with was devastated. John McCain was the next speaker on the schedule. So I went back in the room and my friends [who supported Romney] were like—Are you serious? Already?”
Keen Political Insights, 25¢.
Jeez Louise, the salient difference between John McCain as a national candidate and Mitt Romney as a national candidate is that McCain's utter inexplicability can at least be attributed to torture by the North Vietnamese.
The showiest moment in his old College Republican days was a “filibuster” to save the conservative newspaper on campus. He thought the paper was idiotic; he just didn’t want to see it shut down because it offended people.
Now you mention it, that's just the sort of political instinct the Republican party has been missing.