ARRRRRRGGGGH those pesky meddling kids …..

Oh, those pesky young people. They’re “foolish.” They “just vote their feelings” and they don’t have any “life experience.”

Well that’s the assessment of New Hampshire’s new state House Speaker, William O’Brien, whose address to Tea Party movement activists was captured by a Democratic staffer, posted on YouTube, and reported in the Washington Post.

It shows O’Brien addressing a local gathering of the 9/12 movement. Yes, this is one of the state’s top elected officials telling the devoted followers of a Glenn Beck marketing ploy that college kids don’t take their votes seriously:

“They go into these general elections, they’ll have 900 same day registrations, which are the kids coming out of the schools and basically doing what I did when I was a kid, which is [vote liberal],” he said. “They don’t have life experience and they don’t have life experience and they just vote their feelings and they’re taking away the town’s ability to govern themselves, it’s not fair.”

Translation: These whiny, lily-livered babies don’t vote based on facts, like how Barack Obama devised a healthcare plan as an excuse to kill grandma, or that Muslims are only inches away from instituting Sharia law in states like Oklahoma. And they’re fraudsters to boot! From the Washington Post:

One bill would permit students to vote in their college towns only if they or their parents had previously established permanent residency there – requiring all others to vote in the states or other New Hampshire towns they come from. Another bill would end Election Day registration, which O’Brien said unleashes swarms of students on polling places, creating opportunities for fraud.

Emergency “stop the dumb college kids” laws like these are popping up in states like North Carolina and, of course, Wisconsin too. Along with New Hampshire, these are states that went blue in 2008 and turned sharply back to the red in 2010 so it makes for great politics to work to undermine the key parts of Obama’s base.

Simply put, he would probably need to hold at least two of these three to win reelection. For Republicans, it’s best to just murder the college kids off entirely but their corporate overlords wouldn’t like the wholesale elimination of a large number of their consumers.

But hey, why should the GOP, heady after its stunning victories last fall, stop there in thwarting the voting rights of demographic groups which lean Democratic?

How about those senior citizens—are they too addled and out of touch to be allowed to vote?

Or those labor union members—are they under the mind control of their leadership? (Oops, no worries there, as GOP governors and state legislatures are working to bust public employee unions already). 

The arguments against student voting persist, even decades after the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy’s “old enough to fight, old enough to vote” mantra helped bring the voting age down to 18.

Students don’t vote; they’re apathetic, said some state legislators. (really? Then why are they such a threat?) Students don’t really live in their college communities, they’re rooted back in their parents’ districts (not so much; students live in their college communities at least nine months out of the year, and some of us lived there year-round and rarely returned to our parents’ home cities).

But the underlying premise was that students somehow weren’t really citizens of any jurisdiction, least of all the college community where they lived (although I certainly lived in Fairfax, had a part-time job, and paid taxes on my paltry income there).

That was especially astonishing, considering the fact that we students—including those who lived in dormitories—were practically held down and handed a pen to fill out our U.S. Census forms, placing us firmly in the city and county of Fairfax.

That meant the locality and state would get federal aid based on a population count that included students. It’s more than just a little disingenuous to demand cash for hosting student residents, while denying those citizens the right to vote on how it’s spent.

Young people do lack certain life experience. That’s a good argument for not sending them off to war, but I don’t hear elected officials arguing for new laws barring college-aged people from serving in the military.

Elected officials in all parties wield substantial power, but there’s one day they hand that power back over to the people, and that is Election Day. If candidates want students’ votes, they’re going to have to earn them. End of story.


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