For me, getting to know Jackie Seal constitutes one of those myriad joys that render involvement in the social media aspect of the conservative movement so rewarding. Right around the time Twitter became an integral part of my routine, Jackie burst onto the scene, courtesy of MSNBC. Be assured that I have never taken greater delight in crediting MSNBC for any achievement! After all, Norah O’Donnell ensured a continued following for a 17-year-old who happened to be an evangelical Christian, a Republican, a Sarah Palin fan AND…in a bonus coup de grace…a female! All in a day’s work, MSNBC!
It is an unceasing source of joy to profile young conservatives like Jackie Seal, who represent the future of the movement for the restoration of liberty in America. Thanks to a solid upbringing, even at an early age, Jackie’s worldview is already informed by foundational truths and suffused with loyalty to the principles of limited government that have made America strong. Three years ago, she’d never heard of Ann Coulter! But in 2010, Jackie became a leading online presence in the movement to draft South Dakota Senator John Thune as a Presidential candidate…a testament both to the influence of youthful conservatives in social media and to Jackie’s own powers of persuasion.
I was finally able to meet Jackie at CPAC this year…and I later took considerable pride in managing not to get us both lost! She and I (along with her traveling companion) glanced at the schedule for Saturday and decided we wanted to head to a seminar chaired by the Weekly Standard’s (and Fox News contributor) Fred Barnes. We burrowed further and further into the inner recesses of the massive Marriott Wardman complex, questioning the sanity of whomever had booked the venue for this particular event. Finally, we happened upon an obscure conference room bursting at the seams with attendees, where indeed, Fred Barnes and others were busily holding court. Naturally, no seats were available and even standing room was at a premium…so we retraced our steps after waving to our friend Ryan (@alwaysonoffense) who was smugly perched close to the front by a windowsill.
I didn’t have to hang around Jackie long to confirm that she is just as pretty, precisely as smart and every bit as articulate (with just the slightest tinge of shyness) as her Twitter persona suggests. She is busy with college these days, as she should be, preparing to impact the world in an even more substantive fashion in the future…but she is already off to an impressive start now. You will want to get to know Jackie now and keep your eye on her in the years to come.
10 Questions for Jackie Seal
1. You came to the attention of the country, courtesy of MSNBC’s Norah O’Donnell, at a book signing for Sarah Palin’s Going Rogue in November 2009. In your own words, what happened that day?
Oh man… Well, I noticed Norah talking to a man a few people behind me and I heard her mention she’d like a lady for the shot. All the ladies behind me said “No.” One lady pointed to me and said, “What about this young lady?” and little 17-year-old me, thinking it would be totally awesome to be on television, accepted. Norah was questioning the man on a few things and told him that’s what she’d be asking him on air. She then did the same to me, asking me why I was there, what I liked about Sarah Palin, etc… However, after talking to us, she got on her Blackberry and then wrote down a note on a piece of paper. She then walked to the back of the line to come up and approach us for the live shot. She asked the man the same questions on air that she had off air and then she got to me and decided to ask me about my shirt and basically tried to tell me that I knew nothing about Sarah Palin. To this day, I wish I had been thinking more on my toes and taken a jab at her inconsistency or something. The one thing that bothered me out of the WHOLE situation is that Norah repeated over and over again on air that I had voted for McCain/Palin in the election, which was a flat out lie. I wasn’t even 18 at the time of the interview so I don’t know where she got the idea. But, Rush Limbaugh did call me smart and talked about me on air for about 5 minutes, so that made the whole thing worth it. Plus, I got around a thousand followers on Twitter immediately afterwards!
(Watch Norah O’Donnell blindside Jackie here, courtesy of Hot Air Video!)
2. You’ve grown up in Michigan, raised by a very traditional family. How has this impacted your philosophy today?
Wow… Believe it or not, being raised in Michigan by my awesome parents has greatly impacted my philosophy. I live in the eastern portion of Michigan, also known as the liberal side of the state. My family had been hit pretty hard by the economic mess. In November 2008, my dad lost his job and it was incredibly hard for me to take. I think I was at the age where I understood how serious it was. But, I watched my dad work so hard to get his feet back on the ground and watched my mom pick up a second job to help out. Going through what my family did really instilled the idea of hard work and determination in me. My mom is a Christian school teacher and then she got a 2nd job in an office and my dad ended up starting his own business. Along with his business, he had to pick up other jobs to help out so he ended up having 3 part time jobs. I saw how much my parents cared for my sister and me and how much they wanted to see that our needs were met. Just recently, my dad was offered a full time job so he had to quit his teaching job which was really hard for him. His passion is teaching, but it just doesn’t bring in the money we need. I think those situations have really given me the mindset that hard work pays off and it’s up to you to get the results that you or your family needs.
3. At 19 years of age, what does it mean to you to be a conservative?
These words/phrases sum up being a conservative in my mind:
- Belief in the individual
- Respect for life
- Hard work
- Limited government (duh!)
4. You’re finishing up your freshman year at college. What are you majoring in and what do you hope to do in the future?
First off, why is it that after one year of college, I feel like I’ve learned absolutely nothing? Anyway, I am a Public Relations and Marketing double major. As far as the future is concerned, I’m still trying to figure that out. I’m considering going to grad school for either Business or Public Administration/Policy. I think I want to go more into the campaign management, PR end of things, which I’ve been told basically means I want to sell my soul to the devil…but whatever. My dream job is White House Press Secretary…a long shot, I know. I figure if I shoot for something really farfetched, I’ll land with something that’s still totally awesome instead of aiming low and landing lower. At least, that’s what I’m telling myself. Also, in the future, I want to have a rockin’ husband, a few kiddos running around and a German shepherd named Patton.
5. Anyone who follows you on Twitter knows about your zest for soccer! However, you were laid low at the first of the year with a pretty severe injury. Tell us about that and how it has impacted your ability to participate in the game.
Soccer, the world’s greatest sport! If there is one thing I love more than politics, it’s soccer. I grew up dreaming of playing college soccer, never thinking it would actually happen, but it did. I signed with a school the summer before my senior year of high school.
During the 3 months of my summer before coming down to school, I had a rigorous training schedule that was required. I spent the summer working my butt off and got in the best shape of my life. I got down to pre-season 3 weeks before school started, and the first Saturday of pre-season, we had a scrimmage against a college from Illinois. I started the scrimmage and knew I needed to give my coach 90 minutes. However, about 30 minutes into the first half I got the ball and went to (as we say) “get jiggy” with it and I turned and heard a loud POP. (I liken it to the sound of a balloon popping.) I felt no pain but I went to put my foot on the ground and I realized something in my knee was gone. Long story short, as the doctor put it, my “ACL exploded.” Anyone who knows sports knows an ACL tear means your season is kaput. I had surgery a week later (I had a cadaver graft put in, in case anyone is curious) and immediately began rehab. I’m happy to report that it’s been 8 months and I’m back on the field getting ready for the fall! Obviously, I was unable to participate in any games during the season but the injury allowed me to see the game from a whole new perspective on the bench. I became a student of the game and was able to focus more on building relationships with my teammates that I believe will benefit me greatly once we get back in season in the fall. Not what a freshman plans for coming in, but I can honestly tell you that I think the injury was a blessing. I learned a lot about myself and God throughout the whole process.
6. Can you give us some of your favorites in the following categories…books, music, movies, foods, and a few more of your choosing?
Food: Big juicy Steak or bacon burger… Basically, meat. Buffalo Wild Wings, my mom’s lasagna or roast beef, apples & peanut butter, s’mores and Reese’s. Oh, and donuts!
Books: I love a lot of classics. My favorites are Great Expectations, The Scarlet Letter, Jane Eyre, The Count of Monte Cristo and Silas Marner. Anything and everything by Ann Coulter. Current event books. I used to read religiously but since I’ve been in college I’ve had to set aside the books of my choosing for the stuff required for my classes.
Music: I have a very random taste in music. John Mayer (Yeah, I know he’s a jerk. But his music!), Train, Michael Buble, John Mellencamp, Ricky Nelson, Steve Miller Band, Johnny Cash, Billy Joel, Journey, Coldplay, U2 , Tom Petty, Elton John, Keith Urban, Jack Johnson, Mumford and Sons, She and Him, Joshua Radin, The Civil Wars, Phil Collins, Ben Folds… I could go on all day.
Movies: That Thing You Do! is easily one of my all-time favorites. I also love Best in Show, This is Spinal Tap, Mystery Men, Ace Ventura (When Nature Calls), Monty Python and Hot Rod. Of course, The Patriot or any movie that’s rooted in history. I’m also obsessed with Iron Man 1 and 2. I love 12 Angry Men and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. Inception blows my mind every time I watch it. And classic sports movies like Hoosiers, Prefontaine, Remember the Titans and Rudy. I also love any Sandra Bullock movie.
Gilmore Girls is my all-time favorite TV show. I also never miss Modern Family or Parks and Recreation. Also, Seinfeld and King of Queens.
My senior trip was to Europe and we visited 7 countries. My favorite stops were Luxembourg, Salzburg (Austria), Lucerne (Switzerland) and Venice.
Go Michigan State! And I hate Duke.
7. Today begins the most important week in the Christian calendar, Holy Week, which culminates in Good Friday and Easter. As a Christian, what does this week mean to you?
First of all, I would just like to state how excited I am that I get to go home for Easter and spend it with my family! It’s an incredibly important time to me. This week is a time to reflect on Christ’s death, burial and resurrection. It’s a time to sort of step back and remember why we as Christians are here and glory in the power of what Christ did for us on the cross and rising again.
8. Aside from your parents and Sarah Palin (obviously!), name three people who have had a significant influence on the development of your philosophy of life.
This is a tough question and I’m going to break the rules.
First, my mom and dad have had the biggest influence on my life. My parents are basically superheroes in my mind and they’re also my best friends. I can’t begin to describe how thankful I am for them. The examples my parents have been to me in every way of life have shaped me into the girl I am today. I’ve learned so much from them. My mom is my best friend. I grew up glued to her hip, going to school w/ her every day until I started school. We’ve also spent many a night up late watching Gilmore Girls over and over. My dad is my bud. I went and still go to all kinds of sporting events with my dad. Pistons games, the Buick Open (not anymore), soccer games, campaign rallies, tea parties, book signings etc. My mom was my 5th grade teacher and my dad was my soccer coach through 5/6 years playing varsity soccer. Having your mom as a teacher is cool but terrible and having your dad as coach is also great and horrible. My parents are also my biggest fans and motivators in life. They’ve protected me but also allowed me to make my own decisions and live with the consequences which taught me some valuable lessons I will never forget.
It sounds clichéd, but the Founding Fathers. I know they’re a group not one person but I read The 5,000 Year Leap and it was a fantastic book and really a great insight to the ideas our Founding Fathers had. And if I had to choose, my favorite founders were George Washington and John Adams.
Last, I’m going to have to say Ann Coulter. And it’s not so much that she impacted the “development of my philosophy of life” but I just think she’s freakin’ awesome. I had the chance to meet her at CPAC and it was everything you could want when meeting one of your “heroes.” She was so incredibly down to earth and easy to talk to it blew my mind. So, I just have to throw her in here somewhere because I love her wit and tenacity when it comes to firing back at the left. Sure, she’s polarizing but she likes that about herself and I like that about her. I actually heard of Ann Coulter for the first time the same day Palin was chosen as McCain’s VP. The ’08 election was when I got involved in politics and I remember my dad telling me, “You know, if you want to know how ridiculous the left is, you should read Ann Coulter and watch her whenever she’s on TV.” So, I bought If Democrats had any Brains, They’d be Republicans and that was the first political book I read.
9. You were an outspoken backer of a possible John Thune campaign for President…then he made it official that he wasn’t running. Anyone else catching your attention at this point?
February 22, 2011–the day the Thune Train came to a temporarystop. Yes, temporary. We will be back.
Ever since then, I’ve been trying to find someone I can get totally behind and I’m struggling. I like Tim Pawlenty. Boring he may be, but I’ll take boring over Obama any day. I like Mitch Daniels, but I don’t think he’s running. I’m not anti-Romney but that’s all I’m saying about that. As far as “catching attention” I’d have to give that to Herman Cain. I don’t necessarily think he can win, but the man is made of awesome. Cain’s the only Republican hopeful that has excited me at this point. But, we shall see… 2012 is going to be interesting to say the least.
10. Tell us about how you became involved in the social media scene.
Yes, I did blog and tweet before the Palin incident. I started tweeting and blogging in the summer of ’08ish.. I believe. I started Twitter after I heard Glenn Beck mention it on his radio show and obviously I’ve been hooked ever since.
Let’s just start with saying what a killer website The Right Sphere is, so major kudos to Brandon Kiser on that one. I’m so proud to be a contributor there! I’d love to write for them more often but being at college, living on campus and participating in a sport makes life pretty busy. I have my own blog that has been neglected lately due to school. I’m sure once summer rolls around I’ll get back in the blogging game.