Last summer while interning at Glenn Beck’s The Blaze in Dallas, Texas, I met Joe Kaiser. Our mutual love of Senator Rand Paul, defying the stereotypical definition of Conservative Millennials, and WhatABurger quickly solidified our friendship. Whether we were co-authroing articles about the 2016 Presidential election, tackling the Titan at Six Flags Over Texas, or laughing along as Joe sang his own rendition to Beyonce’s “Single Ladies,” a good time was always had.
Julia Porterfield: Tell us a little about yourself.
Joe Kaiser: I’m 22 years old, originally from the suburbs of Chicago, IL and now living in Milwaukee, WI. In addition to journalism and politics, I work semi-frequently as a comedian around the Milwaukee and Chicago areas. It’s a weird combo, I know. Also a big time Chicago sports fan (Cubs, not White Sox).
JP: What school do you go to and what are you studying?
JK: I’m a senior journalism and political science student at Marquette University. I’m also the Executive Director of the Marquette Wire, Marquette’s student media website.
JP: What do you hope to do after graduation?
JK: I’d like to work in broadcasting, preferably scripted television or film. As I said, I’m very much interested in comedy in addition to politics, and I think a good way to initiate change is to have an impact on culture first. Conservative Daily Show someday, maybe?
JP: How did you get involved with politics and journalism?
JK: I volunteered for then-Congressman Mark Kirk’s 2008 campaign, and from there formed a Young Republicans organization with my friend. Our activism in that group led me to intern on the campaign of eventual Congressman Robert Dold, and become a precinct captain in my township, working on several campaigns in the 2010 midterms. Coincidentally, while all this was going on, I was also writing for my local newspaper and working my way up to editor-in-chief of my high school newspaper. I was originally interested strictly in sports journalism, but my growing interest in journalism and politics kind of intersected in high school, so I was drawn more so to political reporting by the time I got to college.
JP: Who are some of your role models?
JK: I started watching Glenn Beck near the tail end of his CNN days and then daily on FOX. I was also a big fan of conservative talk radio – Beck, Rush, Hannity. I was really attracted to talking about ideas and politics in an entertaining format like talk radio. Between the 2008 and 2010 elections, then, I became really interested in Ron Paul. Paul really spoke to me, most of all, in that he wasn’t interested in using cliches and political buzzwords to win an election, but he was instead interested in talking about ideas. Paul encouraged me to become interested in the Federal Reserve, rethinking American foreign policy and the war on drugs. Moreover, Paul really set a good example for honesty, transparency, modesty and dedication. I put more stock into values like that than anything else.
JP: What issue do you care about most?
JK: Monetary policy. It’s not the typical answer (though becoming more mainstream to talk about), but becoming educated on monetary policy can really influence economic thought. Who do you support for 2016 and why? Rand Paul. Paul is the only candidate willing to talk about monetary policy, a more restrained foreign policy, drug laws and privacy. Paul’s libertarian streak builds bridges across partisan and ideological lines and allows the GOP to grow. Even if Paul doesn’t win in 2016, it will take someone like him to actually bring about real change.
JP: What part of the GOP do you align with most?
JK: If I were to align with some part of the GOP, I would certainly say the libertarian wing, though I can sort of align with the Tea Party in many respects. I don’t consider myself a Republican – I vote third party just as much as I vote GOP – but I definitely see the importance of the Tea Party’s existence within the GOP.
JP: What do you think will be the lasting legacy of President Obama?
JK: I think President Obama’s lasting legacy will be of being disappointing, which is unfortunate knowing the historical significance of his election. Obama inspired a lot of people in 2008, but has let many down all over the political spectrum. While he appeared to be a uniter in 2008, he’s looked divisive throughout his presidency and has polled as the most divisive president in American history. I think this could easily happen to the next president too, though, whether he or she is a Republican or a Democrat. Obama campaigned a lot on himself and his personality, but people do not bring change, ideas do. Discussing and debating ideas will advance the country.
JP: Who’s your favorite President?
JK: Calvin Coolidge. Not only did he believe in limited government and the power of the individual at a time when that was really needed (just a decade after the progressive movement brought us the income tax and Federal Reserve Act) but he lived his life in a way that reflected those principles. He never enjoyed fanfare or being the center of attention.
JP: What impact can young Conservatives have on the political process?
JK: Young conservatives can reestablish the image of what it means to be a conservative. That image was pretty damaged during the Bush years, and rightfully so. Not only was the Iraq War largely unpopular, but Bush ran up huge deficits and expanded government’s role in education and healthcare. His administration wasn’t really “conservative,” but it ended up having an effect on how Americans defined the word. I think a new, younger crop of libertarian-leaning conservatives can help define what it means to believe in limited government and the power of the individual. Accurately discussing these ideas can help grow the movement and be more inclusive to demographics that have felt disenfranchised by conservatives/the GOP.
JP: Why is it important to stay informed on current affairs?
JK: It’s important to stay informed on current affairs because it’s the only way to develop opinions and a way of thinking. My opinions have evolved and strengthened since I first really started following politics and current events about 10 years ago or so. I think that’s only possible by keeping up with the news, listening to all perspectives and trying to make up mind for myself. Ultimately, I’ve developed voluntarist views pretty much across the board, but it took time and an evolution that was only made possible by becoming educated on current affairs.
Follow Joe Kaiser on Twitter @TheJoeKaiser.