The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


Students debate election issues

Political parties face off

The Hughes-Trigg commons area echoed with hoots and howlsyesterday as students vocalized their approvals and oppositionstoward debate issues, which included gay marriage and abortion. Thehour-long debate featured the College Republicans and the SMUDemocrats, moderated by Political Science professor DennisSimon.

Democrats Chris Purcell, Josh Skees and Francis Goldshmidopposed Republicans Robbie McDonough and Kevin Lavelle.

Nearly every issue addressed drew conflicting opinions from thetwo sides, save for partial-birth abortion, which both partiesagreed should be made illegal.

Program Council, Student Senate and the Political ScienceSymposium sponsored the debate.

Political Science and Student Senate members submitted questionsfor the debaters to address.

Jay Mandyam, the Program Council Speakers Committee Chair, saidthe debate was part of the “Get Out the Vote” program,which also included voter registration and “Rock theBoulevard.”

As Lydia Butts, vice-president of programming for ProgramCouncil, explained, the debate was the final event before the Nov.2 presidential election.

After a wild coin toss rolled off stage and landed in favor ofthe Republicans, Simon posed the first question — how willIraq look in four years?

Republicans stressed how the re-building of Iraq is a long andtedious process.

“Bush wants to see it done right, there will be a free andopen democracy one day,” Lavelle said.

Goldshmid rebutted, stating President Bush deceived this countryin his justifications for the war in Iraq.

“We were misled into war by this president,” hesaid. “There were no weapons of mass destruction based onreleased reports.”

The panelists then shifted topics to the political bias andagenda setting of U.S. Supreme Court justices.

The Republicans said that if re-elected, President Bush wouldchoose justices who read the Constitution literally.


“Bush’s justices will choose the high ground and notthe popular ground,” said McDonough.

Democrats said Bush has often let his own beliefs affect hisjudgments, which Senator Kerry would not do.”Kerry,” asSkees explained, “understands the difference between churchand state and won’t put his ideologies on thejustices.”

Immigration, according to the Republicans, continues to be aproblem in this country, since authorities don’t know who allis crossing U.S. borders.

The Democrats, led by Purcell, said that immigration is a partof this country, citing that immigrants actually help America.”[Immigrants] take jobs that other Americans wouldn’ttake which boosts our economy,” he said.

The Democrats also attacked the president for not respectinghomosexuals and lesbians enough by recognizing their civilunions.

Republicans responded by saying Bush respects everyone, and thatan amendment to ban gay marriage will most likely not be added tothe Constitution.

The debate then turned on the candidates themselves.

Kerry was termed a “flip-flopper” by theRepublicans, who offered a Web site []where you can see the senator’s stances.

Bush, according to the Democrats, has led the country into thehighest national debt in America’s history.

Panelists ended formal discussion as Simon opened the floor toaudience members for questions and comments.

Jessie Thornbury, a first-year anthropology and journalismdouble major, commented that Republicans are always talking abouttheir morality. She questioned whether or not the party’sChristian moral codes could be applied to everyone in the country,though not everyone is Christian.

On the Republican side, junior biology major Shereen Rabidishares many of the same values with President Bush, her candidateof choice.

“I don’t like Kerry,” she said. “Hedoesn’t have a mind of his own. He just goes with what otherpeople say. Kerry doesn’t have anything to offer.”

In closing the debate, Simon thanked panelists and audiencemembers.

“You did it,” he said. “This is what civildiscourse looks like.”

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