Posts Tagged ‘debate’

Rove at MemAud: Obama’s done “Boo-do-diddley-squat!”

Thursday, April 26th, 2012

Robert Gibbs- Photo credit to Chris Seewald

Last Tuesday Karl Rove and Robert Gibbs duked it out in Memorial Auditorium. The debate, moderated by Stanford Professor Rob Reich, was actually pretty interesting. Reich started the debate by asking both Rove and Gibbs to “role play” and switch sides, each arguing for their opponent’s case. Predictably, Gibbs started off by declaring how Romney has no special insight into how to manage the American economy, especially given his record in Massachusetts. Rove then retaliated by bringing up Obama’s largely unfulfilled promises from his first election campaign, claiming that new “unifying” leadership is needed. Reich pushed each debater to better answer the prompt,

Karl Rove-Photo credit to Chris Seewald

which neither initially addressed, and joked about the difficulties both contestants had with not pivoting, much to the amusement of the audience.

While both candidates dodged and skirted their fair share of inquiries, Rove took the prize for eluding questions. When pushed on several occasions as to establish whether or not he supported transparency in SuperPac donations, for example, Rove deliberately brushed the question aside, stating simply, “If that’s the lay of the land, then that’s the lay of the land.” Reich eventually gave up and moved on. Surprisingly, Rove was very clear with his opinion of the DREAM Act, declaring that it should be done by states and not on the national level. This is a significant departure from the majority of Rove’s Republican compatriots.

All in all, the debate lived up to its promise of entertainment; both men stuck close to party lines and agreed that, to get anything done, compromise and cooperation are imperative. Rove however, won without a doubt, showcasing impressive skill in debate. Granted, Rob Gibbs is much closer to the upcoming presidential race than Karl Rove and has a lot more at stake with what he says, but Rove’s witty comebacks and no-holds-barred language (declaring one of his dissenters a “no-good lying sonofabitch”) enhanced his case. Furthermore, Rove spoke more extensively on major points than Gibbs and often interjected during Gibbs’ responses with the Republican counter-argument, citing a laundry list of facts and previous legislation.

Video of the debate after the break…

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In Which I Try to Talk about Divestment and Free Speech (Without Getting Bogged Down in Nuanced Political Issues On Which I am Unqualified to Speak)

Wednesday, May 12th, 2010

The Israeli/Palestinian conflict once again became a heated issue on campus when the possibility of a divestment bill nearly reached the ASSU Undergraduate Senate last week. As that happened, people started writing about Israel, Palestine, and the idea of divestment: (in chronological order–take a deep breath, here goes): op-ed here, op-ed here, op-ed here, an overview here (recommended), a news article here,  an op-ed here, an op-ed here,  a news article here, an op-ed here, and an op-ed here, and this. On top of all this, people actually utilized the comments section of some of these articles–most notably Linda Hess’s piece (op-ed the third)–and went on to add to the dialogue a mix of comments ranging from interesting to hateful to hilarious.

After reading all of the above and talking in-depth with members of the ASSU and students who support (strongly) both sides of the issue, one thing is extraordinarily clear: whatever your view on divestment is, or on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, it is absolutely clear that this is not a topic in which the ASSU should have any involvement.

Luckily, and to my cynical-self’s surprise, the leaders of the primary pro-divestment group (Campaign Restore Hope) and anti-divestment group (Invest for Peace)* have come together and agreed that the ASSU should not be the arena for the divestment debate. I have no idea how this occurred, but I cannot commend the leaders in this discussion enough: this is a victory for any hope at actual progress and helps diminish the likelihood of the campus devolving further into an unproductive flame war with heavily negative consequences for many students on campus.

What this last concept–negative consequences of this debate–brings to light is that much of the divestment discussion is intimately linked with free speech. But free speech, like Israeli/Palestinian politics, is a much more nuanced issue than most people want to acknowledge.

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