Image of C-SPAN coverage from Jonathan Krohn speaking at Conservative Political Action Conference on February 27, 2009.
Jonathan Krohn (born March 1, 1995) is the author of the book Define Conservatism, who gained national attention when he addressed the 2009 Conservative Political Action Conference at age 13.
Krohn was born on March 1, 1995 to Doug Krohn, a computer system integrator, and Marla, a sales representative and middle-school drama and speech teacher. He was raised in Duluth, Georgia, a suburb of Atlanta. He was homeschooled, played cello since age three and has been acting on the stage since age eight. He had three callbacks for the part of Michael Banks in Broadway production of Mary Poppins. In 2006, Krohn began performing on the Internet radio show "The Life Connection Show", and took over as the principal writer in 2008. Krohn also studied the Arabic language and once aspired to be a missionary to the Middle East. In 2006, he was voted "Atlanta's Most Talented Child" by Inside Edition. Krohn became interested in politics at age eight, after watching news coverage of a Democratic filibuster on judicial nominations in the United States Senate. The event prompted him to research American history and governmental rules and policies, and he eventually developed an affinity for conservatism, especially after listening regularly to conservative talk radio, particularly Morning in America with William Bennett, to whom he became a regular caller.
Krohn wrote Define Conservatism, which was published in 2008, when he was 13 years old, because he felt the term conservatism was often misused; it was in part as a response to criticism John McCain, the 2008 Republican presidential candidate, received regarding his conservative credentials. The book outlines four fundamental principles of conservative thought: support for the United States Constitution, respect for life, less government, and more personal responsibility. Krohn went on to apply the principles to current events and define whether specifically cited actions violated those principles. The book was dedicated to Ronald Reagan, William F. Buckley, Jr. and Barry Goldwater, whom Krohn describes as his political heroes, along with South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint. Krohn paid to have the book published from his own savings. He describes it as a "first effort" and plans to write a second one, which he said will focus in part on Alexander Hamilton and James Monroe.
In January 2009, Krohn contacted organizers of the Conservative Political Action Conference and asked to speak at the event. Organizers were reportedly skeptical, but gave him a three-minute spot on a February, 27 panel about grassroots activists. The speech, titled "Conservative Victories Across the Nation", he described the conservative principles outlined in his book. When the speech was over, the panel moderator said, "Watch out, David Keene," referring to the chairman of the American Conservative Union. The next day at the conference, William Bennett said, "I used to work for Ronald Reagan and now I'm a colleague of Jonathan Krohn's!" The speech then attracted the attention of national media outlets; Sam Stein of The Huffington Post, said of the speech, "It was filled with the type of rhetorical flow and emotional pitch one would expect from a seasoned hand. Except, [he] is more than four years away from being able to vote.
In the days following the conference, Krohn's parents received hate mail accusing them of brainwashing their son; both insist their interest in politics is small and Krohn developed his own political thinking. Within a week of the speech, Krohn appeared on Fox & Friends and CNN, as well as dozens of radio shows, and a Facebook fan club for Krohn was created. A staff member for a potential candidate for Georgia governor also requested an audience. The speech by Krohn was also mentioned in the March 2, 2009, episode of The Daily Show when host Jon Stewart referred to Krohn as a "precocious, teenage, Conservative firebrand" saying, "I'm not sure there's a nurple purple enough (for him)", before consulting a fictional "comedy ethics bible" and determining he could not make fun of a 13-year-old boy, only classmates and siblings had that right, though he later referred to Krohn as "Doogie Howser GOP".