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10 Young Right-Wingers Being Prepped to Take Over the Conservative Movement

What happens when the Old Guard moves on? Who will replace them? We take a look at 10 promising candidates.

Given their constant claim to be the “party of ideas,” Republicans don't offer much beyond the hopelessly impractical. Among them: deregulate anything that isn’t tied down; deficits don’t matter, until a Democrat's in office and they suddenly do; low-income “ lucky duckies” need to be taxed, the top 2 percent does not. What happens when the Old Guard of conservatism moves on? Who will replace them as dependable propagandists for the right's most monstrous ideas? Readers, what follows is a comprehensive roundup of the guys and gals who will for the next half-century wield an increasing level of influence within the conservative movement and/or the Grand Old Party (assuming the latter isn’t reduced to a regional coffee klatch after the imminent desertion of Hispanic voters). This is the lovechild of The Breakfast Club and the Laffer curve.

1. Michael Goldfarb The Weekly Standard

"The Mercenary"

Approximate Age: 29

Accomplishments: The line between political hack and hack journalist should be bright and impenetrable. Not so for Goldfarb, who temporarily abjured his wingnut welfare sinecure at the poor man’s National Review to take a position as “deputy communications director” of McCain’s vegetative campaign. Don’t let the fancy title fool you. Goldfarb’s singular triumph was to maintain a smile as he got the shit kicked out of him by Rick Sanchez, who is kind of dumb, on CNN. His failures will be forgotten or forgiven; expect to see him shuttle between the Fourth Estate and campaigns in perpetuity.

Fun Fact: Worked on a project called “ The Upside of Global Warming.”

Antecedent: William Kristol, who did double duty as Goldfarb’s boss at the Standard and foreign policy adviser for McCain. (Kristol’s worldview is basically ‘bomb ‘em all and let the contractors sort ‘em out,’ which probably explains McCain’s ability to distinguish between Iraq and Iran.) History will show that between Goldfarb and Kristol -- thanks for Sarah Palin, asshole -- the Weekly Standard helped deliver the presidency to the Kenyan.

2. Mary Katharine Ham, Fox News, The Weekly Standard

"The Babe"

Approximate Age: 30

Accomplishments: Ham’s first station of the conservative cross, a stint at the Heritage Foundation, is notable only for a series of columns in which she kvetched that her political beliefs made life a slog; she endured vicious jibes for her Bush-Cheney bumper sticker and was tossed from a taxi after the cabbie “f[ound] out I was conservative and supported the war effort.” It was, to be sure, tough times for a fundamentalist embryo on the conservative borg’s tenure track. Since then, the precocious Ham has twinkletoed the line at evangelical Christian media outlets and the House of Murdoch. In an unrelated note, a panel of judges declared her the “ fourth-hottest conservative woman in new media.” 

Fun Fact: Ham to Larry King, one week before the Republicans lost the House and Senate in the 2006 midterms: “I think the get-out-the-vote is strong. The money is strong. I think we're going to do fine.”

Antecedent: Laura Ingraham, who has made serious bank putting a pretty face on conventional wisdom. You know, when she isn’t outing gay college students.

3. John Hawkins,

"The Stenographer"

Approximate Age: 39

Accomplishments: Hawkins is indispensable to the movement for putting a new spin on Reagan’s 11th Commandment -- Thou shalt not ask a difficult question of any fellow Republican. “In your opinion,” he asked Ann Coulter, “if someone like Ronald Reagan or George W. Bush had been in the White House instead of Johnson, would we have won in Vietnam?” To Richard Perle: “Is there anything else you'd like to say or promote before we finish?” Newt Gingrich, John Yoo, Karl Rove, Michael Steele and Roy Blunt have all been similarly grilled.    

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