As Republicans commence their “rebuilding,” keep an eye on the tendency for conservatives to explain away their lack of success with youth by citing their failure to use technology.

Gov. Haley Barbour (R-MS) and Steve Moore engaged in some of that talk in Moore’s “Weekend Interview” piece in the Wall Street Journal yesterday.

…”We’ve got young people who voted for Obama by better than a 2-to-1 margin. The data is very clear, that when people vote in their first two presidential elections for the same party, more than 80% of those people are going to stay with that party for the rest of their life, barring some big event that changes it.”

This gives the GOP four years to learn to communicate with the iPod generation. The party, he says, must figure out how to tap new media and new messaging to reach out and touch 20-somethings.

Aaron Schock (R-IL), the youngest member of Congress, was elected this past election cycle. In Time’s recent interview with the congressman, Shock, a Millennial, reveals he also has a tin ear when it comes to reading the politics of his generation.

[Y]our generation was very active politically last year. But most supported Democrats. Is there something your party doesn’t get about younger voters?

I think at times elected officials lose sight of the fact that the younger generation uses different means of communications. They don’t necessarily pick up the New York Times to get their news. They may go online, and they may use more things like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube — things that members of the older generation aren’t as accustomed to using to communicate with constituents.

If President-elect Obama’s campaign taught us anything, it was how to use new media to reach out to youth. If your source of information is your iPhone and your Facebook page, then hands down, Senator Obama did a much better job than Senator McCain. Job One is just reaching out and communicating.

(h/t Jesse Singal @ pushback)

As Singal notes in his post, the GOP needs to have something worthwhile and appealing to communicate if it wants Millennials to do anything other than recoil in disgust at their advances.

Here’s an excerpt from John McCain’s speech at the Republican National Convention:

We believe in a strong defense, work, faith, service, a culture of life, personal responsibility, the rule of law, and judges who dispense justice impartially and don’t legislate from the bench. We believe in the values of families, neighborhoods and communities.

We believe in a government that unleashes the creativity and initiative of Americans. Government that doesn’t make your choices for you, but works to make sure you have more choices to make for yourself.

I will keep taxes low and cut them where I can. My opponent will raise them. I will open new markets to our goods and services. My opponent will close them. I will cut government spending. He will increase it.

Emphasis added.

The problem is that that’s simply not what Millennials want to hear:

If the GOP keeps insisting its ideology is not the problem and opts to work on their Twitter and Facebook skills instead, not only will they lose even more of the youth vote; they’ll lose nearly all of their political relevance.