Eager, smart, broke and discouraged, Anne Arundel County Young Democrats are pinning what little hope they have on Bill Clinton.
The presidential candidate lost his national front-runner status this week, but the Arkansas governor remains the favorite with local Democratsbetween 18 and 25, an often-overlooked group and possibly the most despairing segment of the population.
"I don't see any hope," said Steve Thomas, 23, of Ferndale, president of Anne Arundel Young Democrats.
The Young Democrats, who arehelping with a Feb. 18 fund-raiser for Clinton in Glen Burnie, believe he can save them from what now seems a dismal certainty: not beingable to afford a house and family -- things their parents had at 20 -- until they're 40.
"We walk out of law school, and there are no jobs," said David Guite, 25, still out of work after earning a law degree and passing the bar exam. "Who cares what Bill Clinton was doingin his bedroom? Let's talk about getting us jobs."
"I'm 23, with a degree in sociology and political science," said Thomas, who is working at a Glen Burnie printing company. "When my parents were my age,they had a child and a house. I can't even afford to move out."
Thomas and his contemporaries are hard-pressed to come up with exactlyhow they think Clinton can help them, but they like his plan for universal access to education and training and middle class tax cuts.
The also like Clinton's centrist posture. "We're pretty much conservative," Guite said. "We're not on the fringe."
Clinton's two biggest potential problems -- Gennifer Flowers' claim that she had an affair with him and recent reports that he dodged the Vietnam-era draft -- are unimportant to young people, Guite said.
The draft issue "isnot a factor for us, because we weren't in Vietnam," he said.