On Wednesday night, Jon Huntsman, the former governor of Utah and ambassador to China, addressed a large crowd of Georgetown students in Lohrfink Auditorium. The College Republicans, along with the Lecture Fund and the Chinese Student Alliance, hosted the event, and Professor Mark Rom directed Huntsman’s address with a set of questions. Huntsman covered many topics, ranging from his early career in the Reagan Administration to his appointment as U.S. Ambassador to China.
“I’m here because I believe that you are our tomorrow,” Huntsman said. “I don’t care if you’re a Republican, a Democrat, or somewhere in the middle … I want you to see that blue sky and the potential for this country that’s out there, because that’s what drove me into my early government service.”
In answering Rom’s first question concerning how he got his first government job in the Reagan administration, Huntsman revealed a few of his major concerns about the state of American politics. “There was [during the time of Reagan] more of a ‘let’s get in, let’s serve our country’ attitude,” he said. “Republicans and Democrats tended to pull together.”
Huntsman blamed the loss of this spirit of cooperation on the influence of money in contemporary politics. “We are divided in ways that, I hope, do not suggest to you that this is the way politics are [supposed to be] operated,” Huntsman said. “Politics are divided today by a lot of money … It’s an abomination. [Today's campaign financing] is killing democracy in this country.” According to Huntsman, fixing systemic problems like this would close the “trust gap” between the American people and Congress.
Huntsman urged the gathered students to pursue jobs that will help the nation’s government. “I hope that, instead of going to Wall Street or hedge funds … you say ‘my country needs me.’” he said. The irony of saying this in the McDonough School of Business building was not lost on Vox.
David Frum, a Republican strategist and former speechwriter for President George W. Bush, addressed the Georgetown University College Republicans last night in St. Mary’s Hall. Frum’s discussion centered on what the Republican party must learn from its defeat in the 2012 Presidential Election and on the new direction the party inevitably will go over the next several years.
Frum attributes Republican Presidential Nominee Mitt Romney‘s failure to his disastrous disconnection from the needs of middle-class voters. “The typical middle-class voter has some credit card debt and a mortgage on their home and will depend heavily on social security and medicare in their retirement,” Frum said. “A voter like this looks to the Republican Party and asks ‘What, if I vote for you, do you give me?’ and the answer had better not be ‘a kick in the head.’”
Frum believes that Mitt Romney’s plan for government cutbacks could have worked only if those cutbacks would have affected the upper-class as much as they would have affected those who depend on government assistance. “[The Republican] offer in 2012 was ‘we have large, immediate cuts in social programs, we have a withdrawal of a medicare guarantee for everyone under the age of 55, and we have a huge tax cut for the richest people in society,” Frum said. “When you look at all those things, it’s amazing that the GOP did as well as it did.”
Such failures will be inevitable for Republicans in major elections, unless, as Frum suggests, the party changes several of its positions and reverses a few trends among its candidates. Frum does not advocate a change in any of the GOP’s core values. “There has to be a party that stands up for the people who pay the bills,” he said. “There needs to be a party that supports free enterprise and innovation and reducing the tax burden.”
Republican views on many of the issues seen as centrally important to the party are extremely outdated, Frum said. He identified “his kind of Republicanism” with three key aspects. “The Republicans need a party that is culturally modern … is environmentally responsible … and is economically inclusive,” he said.
Remaining “economically inclusive” is what Frum highlights as the most important change the GOP needs. In the last election, argues Frum, Republicans paid attention to the American entrepreneur but failed to care for the needs of the American working man.
Frum dedicated the remainder of his time to answering questions from the audience. The first audience member, noting the polarization within the Republican Party, asked Frum if he believes the GOP will ever successfully nominate a candidate who shares his views for the party.
Not only did Frum say that such a candidate will be elected, Frum said that such a shift in the party is inevitable: “The sheer competitive dynamic of the two party system will force the Republicans to retool,” Frum said. “It’s just a matter of time.” He went on to say that the Republican presidential candidate in 2024 will undoubtedly be “pro-gay marriage,” “pro-environment,”and “pro-gun control.” Frum views his role in this process of change as being the one who could potentially speed it up, so that the Republicans “modernize” their positions before 2024.
Another student asked Frum, “How would you respond to people who say that you’re just compromising Republican principles?”
“The Republican Party has tremendous difficulty telling the difference between principles and policies,” Frum said. “Small government is a principle. The Ryan plan is a policy.” Frum went on to explain that the Republicans do not apply their principles well to the facts of reality. As an example, he suggested that the best policy to implement the principle that abortion should be avoided is not to ban abortion in as many cases as possible but to examine the social factors that lead to abortions, in order to see if those can be corrected.
Before Monday night’s debate watch in Lohrfink, attendees were handed curious pamphlets before the event, filled with pictures of the “victims of American imperialism,” Howard Zinn quotes, and military spending statistics. The pamphlet was the beginning of a student protest that led to a heated confrontation between the protesters and a technology employee during the debate.
A group of “concerned students,” some of whom were affiliated with GU Occupy, interrupted the foreign policy debate watch to project a PowerPoint and deliver a speech detailing violations in American foreign policy.
After a rapid conversation with Senior Associate Dean James Parenti and the member of the technology staff, the protester, sitting to the audience’s left, turned the projector, which had been pointed at the wall to the audience’s right of the debate screen, toward the wall on his side, shrinking the image. After Dean Parenti and the technology staff member left, the protester turned the projector back toward the far wall.
The technology staff member came down the steps quickly and after saying something indecipherable to the protester, lunged for the projector and attempted to jerk it violently out of the protestor’s hands. Audience members nearby yelled; the rest of the crowd gasped. For a few seconds, the two seemed to struggle over the projector, and the staff member, perhaps realizing he had overstepped, pulled away and sped back up the stairs.
“He started screaming in my face, grabbing for the projector, shouting for me turn it off or be kicked out of the event. He grabbed my arms, shouting for me to give him the projector, and trying to rip it out of my hands. The projector shut off, and he let me go and left,” wrote “concerned student” Mark Waterman (SFS ’13) in an email to Vox.
Yesterday evening, the Georgetown University College Democrats and College Republicans hosted Republican Congressman Jason Chaffetz (UT-3) and Democrat Congressman Russ Carnahan (MO-3) at a surrogate debate in view of the upcoming presidential elections.
In the opening remarks, Joe Vandegriff, President of the GU College Democrats, said the debate was organized “in the spirit of bi-partisanship, to hear these two campaign surrogates to discuss issues that really matter in this campaign.”
The debate featured a journalist panel with the presence of Laura Evans from Fox 5 News and Julie Davis from Bloomberg News, as well as a panel of students conformed by two independent voters and two representatives from The Hoya and the Georgetown Voice.
Evans started off the debate referring to the recently-leaked video of Romney criticizing the dependence of 47% of Americans on the government. Admitting Romney’s lack of eloquence, Congressman Chaffetz deviated the question to the increasing number of people on food stamps. Chaffetz also talked about Romney’s approach to taxing the most rich:
He is not interested in reducing the rates for those at the highest income levels; they’re gonna continue to pay that same share of the taxes that they have. We are not just one tax increase away from prosperity in this country.
However, later on in the debate, the Republican representative emphasized the fact that high corporate taxes are preventing companies such as Microsoft to promote economic growth in the country and create jobs for Americans.
Another prevailing topic in the debate was job creation and the current high rates of unemployment in the United States. Democrat Congressman Carnahan tackled the issue by admitting that growth has been slow, but pushing the blame to Congress. “We could have done better in Congress regarding job-creating measures.”
Criticizing Obama’s employment policies, Chaffetz offered a solution:
Ann Coulter, conservative commentator and fierce opponent of all things left-wing, brought both praise and protest to Georgetown University on the evening of October 20. Greeted by a full house in the Hariri Building’s Lohrfink Auditorium, Coulter’s presence certainly stirred up mixed emotions as she touched upon issues ranging from the Occupy Wall Street protests to the upcoming 2012 elections.
Appropriately enough, Coulter began her speech with a commentary on the Occupy Wall Street movement and its correlation to her newest book. “If only those at Occupy Wall Street could take down capitalism,” she said matter-of-factly, “then they could go back to what they usually do… Occupy Mom’s Basement.”
The rest of the hour continued with a similar tone, with repeated jabs at the Democratic Party and the liberal masses and media. Coulter remained unapologetic as she made one harsh generalization after another, stating that “liberals love mobs,” “liberals are consumed by what everyone thinks of them,” and “liberals are seized by groupthink.” According to Coulter, all liberals are “very big on bullying people into agreeing with them rather than actually engaging in… dialogue.”
Eventually, Coulter took a break from derailing the Occupy movements to make clear her opinions on President Obama and his administration.
“Every single thing that Obama has done has been designed to wreck the economy,” she said.
She followed this up with another bold statement, saying that “Obama has now surpassed Tiger Woods for the most times saying ‘I’m sorry’ by a mixed-race male.”
The Georgetown University College Democrats and College Republicans came together on Wednesday evening to co-host “A Catholic Family Discussion on LGBT Issues”. College Democrats member Hannah Lomax-Vogt, College Republicans member Joe Knowles, National Organization on Marriage spokesperson Maggie Gallagher, and Atlantic Monthly Editor Andrew Sullivan formed the panel moderated by Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne.
The discussion focused primarily on gay marriage rights, with Lomax-Vogt and Sullivan in favor and Knowles and Gallagher opposed.
“I decided that our politics are now so filled with hatred and rancor over taxes and economics that it opens the way for a discussion of a whole range of cultural and moral issues,” Dionne said to open the conversation. “I intend to be a fair and balanced moderator in the actual sense of that phrase [...] on gay marriage I have been on both sides on this issue.” He made clear that he currently sides with Sullivan on the issue.
Although you’ve already voted (we hope), you can still exercise your right to choose between Georgetown’s sparring election night watch parties and their promises of food.
The GU College Republicans are holding a “Remember November” watch party tonight in the Village C Alumni Lounge. Anticipating Republican gains, the club promises fun, free Wingo’s, and those big-screen TVs.
“Remember November” will last from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Dining with the Democrats
In a showdown for your loyalty, the GU College Democrats will host an election night watch party of their own too. If you want to lean left, head over to Sellinger Lounge from 7:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. tonight to watch the election results while chowing down on free pizza and soda.
Earlier this month, the Lecture Fund and Georgetown College Republicans hosted a book panel to discuss columnist Jonah Goldberg‘s Proud to be Right: Voices of the Next Conservative Generation, a collection of political essays. Todd Seavey and Helen Rittelmeyer, who appeared on the panel and contributed to the book, had a bit more to debate than politics.
We’ll save ourselves the embarrassment of summarizing the former couple’s awkward back-and-forth. (After all, we consider ourselves a seriousnewsorganization.) If you can bear the uncomfortable tension, however, the YouTube video is above for your pleasure.
On Monday night, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and his wife Callista came to Georgetown to screen Nine Days that Changed the World, the documentary film that portrays Pope John Paul II’s nine-day trip to Communist Poland in June 1979. The event, hosted by the Catholic Student Association and co-sponsored by the College Republicans, was protester-free, despite the worries that some students waiting in line expressed that the event would be a repeat of the disrupted General David Petraeus event.
Newt and Callista Gingrich narrate the movie, which documents how Pope John Paul’s visit transformed Poland and led to the eventual overthrow of communism. According to its website, the film “is a story of human liberation, revealing the extraordinary power of Pope John Paul II’s worldwide message of freedom through faith.”
Still, protests seemed to be on everyone’s mind, with Kevin Preskenis, the chief of staff of the College Republicans, obliquely referring to the Petraeus protest and calling this screening a “chance for all of us to unite as a Catholic university,” in his introductory remarks. Co-president of the Catholic Student Association Melinda Reyes welcomed the audience to the “non-partisan event.”
In his remarks, Newt Gingrich urged those who enjoy the film to promote it both by word of mouth and social networking sites so it will reach a wider audience.
Because the event with General Petraeus went so well, this April, Georgetown will play host to two big-name conservatives: Karl Rove, brought to you by Lecture Fund, and Newt Gingrich, who is coming to campus as part of his premier tour for his new movie, Nine Days that Changed the World.
These Republican heavy-hitters will visit Georgetown within just two days of each other. Gingrich, the former Republican Speaker of the House, will be here on Monday, April 19, and Rove, who was former President George W. Bush’s adviser, is coming on April 21.
According to Student Activities Commission minutes, Rove’s typical speaking fee is $35,000, but Lecture Fund bargained him down to $8,000. SAC allocated them $8,500 for fees, security, and additional costs in a 5-3-3 vote in early February.
Alicia Melvin, an event coordinator for the April 19 movie screening, confirmed that Gingrich would be present at the screening, which is being sponsored by the Catholic Students Association and co-sponsored by the Georgetown College Republicans.
The screening will take place at at 7 p.m. in the ICC Auditorium. Rove will speak at an unknown time in the Lohrfink Auditorium in the Hariri Building.