By Prihatha Narasimmaraj '14
At dinner, I heard someone say, “I don’t like politics because of the Republicans.” I laughed, but the statement reminded me of liberals who rag pointlessly on the Republicans, just because they’re Republicans. I consider myself a moderate, so I vowed to observe the Whig-Clio debate tonight (Resolution: This House welcomes a Republican majority) as objectively as possible.
*Noticing that there were more Democrats. Then realizing that the Republicans were louder. Also, the realization that the entire Republican side was male.
*Cute phrases, courtesy of the Republican side, like “knocking down a house to build a new roof” and “God willing.”
*Democrats attacking Republicans about abortion with the claim that Republicans want Americans to make lemonade out of pregnancies.
*Republicans bringing up the (inevitable) topic of labor unions and arguing that teachers and firefighters are overpaid.
*Democrats jumping on this last point and making it into a pathos argument. “So you want our country to burn down?”
*Republicans making too much noise. Democrats making noise at the wrong times.
The debate essentially boiled down to a couple of issues, all of which were entirely anticipated. There was the oil spill; ObamaCare; Obama; Bush; unemployment; the deficit; more Obama; and some Reagan, Truman, and Madison (thrown in only for the sake of an alumni shout out). But I wasn’t sold on either side. The Democrats were weak in their defense, singing the merits of civil rights without addressing the recession, and the Republicans were quick to criticize them on this issue.
To see the rest of the debate, click the Jump!
And then there were the Republicans. I have to give them points in the style and solidarity department. They all seemed so convinced that their ideas were perfectly sound, and presented them convincingly. I almost wanted to understand where they were coming from. But their thinly-veiled disrespect for the Democratic platform, their grins when the opposition faltered, and their general air of self-satisfaction didn’t help their cause. They refused to consider the other side, while many of the Democrats shifted uneasily in their chairs.
But it still came as a bit of a surprise when the Democrats beat them soundly in the vote, 30-18. I won’t say that it was a Democratic victory, because the Republicans brought forth a much stronger argument, and universities are notorious for being liberal anyway. But if the Republicans had been a tad more reasonable themselves, they could have run with their lead.