My first impression of Brandon Kiser involved a mental notation of how youthful he looked. Shrewd, that one! Turns out he is a mere 18 years old; yet, he has already been active in the conservative movement for several years, a record which should be envied by many of us who are (cough, cough) close to twice his age or more.
Though barely a legal adult, Brandon administers his own blog, is a full-time college student and writes regular columns for the “Daily Caller”, Tucker Carlson’s extraordinary website. Any one of these endeavors is sufficiently time-consuming to constitute a laudable pursuit, in and of itself. Brandon manages to juggle commitments to all three.
I have not yet met Brandon, but he is one of a growing cadre of kid Tweeters (including Jackie Seal (@jackieseal), Cole Campbell (@colecamp) and Karen DeSimone (@truth4at) that cause glowing optimism to rise within me when I contemplate the future of my country. Brandon is closer in age to my oldest child (age 7) than he is to me (age undisclosed). If someone as rooted in conservative ideals as he is represents a solid segment of the future population of this country, then we are not doomed and there are bright days ahead for the United States of America that we bequeath to the next generation. (Incidentally, most, if not all of these young folks support the same man for President in 2012. Youth juggernaut?!)
Brandon can be found on Twitter at, naturally, @BrandonKiser, where he currently chats with 1,867 followers. His blog can also be located on Twitter at @TheRightSphere. Follow both accounts!
*I also need to thank Tommy Harris (@FirstTeamTommy) for his timely encouragement and significant assistance on this week’s feature!
10 Questions for Brandon Kiser
1. You’re the youngest person ever to be featured as my Twitter Personality of the Week! So for those who may not know you, can you tell us who Brandon Kiser is?
I’m an 18 year old, living in northeast Kentucky. I’m a college student at Shawnee State University, blogger, Twitter junkie and, when I find the time, a columnist. I’m addicted to news and politics and my world would revolve around those subjects if reality would let it. Also, I’m conservative–filled with an ooey-gooey libertarian center.
2. When did you know you were a conservative and what does the term mean to you?
I’d say I first figured out I was conservative when I was about 15 or so and started watching old-school Glenn Beck on CNN Headline News. That was back when he commented on daily news, etc. and less so much what he does now. That sort of laid the limited-government foundation in my head that I’ve since built off of.
Personally, I see being conservative as being for the individual. Conservatism is realizing that free markets, free people and freedom, generally, is always the best policy.
3. Being a young Conservative, do you find yourself in the minority among your age-group, and if so, why do you think so many young people self-identify as liberal versus conservative?
Personally, I don’t think I’m in the minority at all. A lot of my peers see themselves as liberals because they have been painted that way by others. Discussions I have had with youth usually bend in the direction of agreement once they understand the debate. If someone is told enough times that being young means being liberal and conservatives are old men who want to quash your dreams and creativity, they are going to believe it. But if you talk one-on-one about the conservative message and how the aforesaid consequences are actually the result of liberalism, they quickly change their minds. Or at least that’s my experience.
4. You started your own conservative website, www.therightsphere.com, a little while back. Can you tell us what your motivation was in starting that and what your vision is for it in the future?
I was a little frustrated that I had to look at so many different conservative sites throughout the day. I used a RSS feed reader (and still do), but after a day or so of not checking it, the unread count gets ridiculous. So I decided it would be a great idea to create an online website that tracked the best conservative blogs and news sites in one easily digestible package. With help from a friend or two, the project grew some legs and became The Right Sphere (TRS). We’ve got our own blog on the site too.
Hopefully, one of these days, the site becomes self-sufficient and my day job can be serving as an editor there. My hopes aren’t high in that respect, but I wouldn’t mind seeing a larger site pick it up (and me with it!) to introduce it to a bigger audience. But for now, I’m beyond thrilled with what TRS has become.
5. To start your own site at such a young age is really impressive. At what age did you begin blogging and what other site do you or have you written for?
Again, I think I was 15 or so. I started at a social news site called Newsvine and was sort of one of the token conservatives there after a while. Later, I started writing a blog called “Teen Pundit”, which I was really proud of, but didn’t put a lot of effort into. I tried a few more blogs here and there, but TRS is the one that I’ve hit my stride with. I’m now also a columnist at the Daily Caller, and I need to write there more often. The DC has received its fair share of criticism, but it’s a good site.
6. Name some of your favorites: Books, movies, musical artists, vacation spots, holidays and a couple miscellaneous items of your choice.
I’d say my favorite books for their entertainment value are all of Brad Thor’s thrillers. Awesome stuff. 1984 and Animal Farm really opened my eyes. P.J. O’Rourke’s summary of The Wealth of Nations taught me a lot.
In the movies category: I like “The Patriot”, as well as the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy and most historically based films.
My music tastes are everywhere. I can get into some pop, but I’ll always like The Killers, Coldplay, One Republic, Jason Mraz and more.
My favorite trip ever was to London and I plan to go back. The historical value is incredible.
Miscellaneous – Android phones, Diet Mountain Dew, Pokemon (so sue me), and Arby’s.
7. Who are 3 of your heroes/role models and why and who are 3 public figures who drive you nuts and why?
I’d say my heroes are my grandfather, who is an A+ role model, as well as Winston Churchill and George Washington. Right now, 3 public figures who rub me the wrong way are Jack Conway (Democratic Senate candidate in KY), Alan Grayson and Keith Olbermann, for obvious reasons.
8. You mentioned before that you are currently a student at Shawnee State University. Why did you select that school and what are your plans, once you complete your studies there?
SSU is close to both home and family. I love both of those things beyond words. I’m currently studying to be a social studies teacher, but I’ve also considered getting into conservative media and maybe being a political aide or something. We’ll see. I’m also a member of the College Republicans there.
9. So, you’re a full-time college student, you run your own website, you tweet and are a member of the College Republicans. How do you find the time to manage all these things at the same time?
A to-do list. Seriously, those things work miracles. Prioritize, organize and execute. The Jersey Shore guys GTL: gym, tan and laundry. I GTD – get things done.
10. Finally, the bucket list question: What three things would be on it?
Help get Sen. John Thune elected President in 2012. Other than that, I’m too young to be thinking about a bucket list!