Remember, remember the 6th of November

WEEKEND rounds up a spunky group of Yale politicos! Go America! Also: GO VOTE.

To say that the Yale campus is full of pundits-to-be and opinionated talking heads would be an understatement. you’ve got your gung-ho Democrats rooting for 4 more years of Obama and his cute dog Bo and then your small but vibrant community of Republicans just yearning to see them leave the White House. WEEKEND recruited six of these young bright minds to take a look at the current election season — from healthcare reform to binders full of women, the discussion in these two pages has cast a wide net. We welcome you to our intimate political forum!

THE REPUBLICANS

FREE BIG BIRD!

// BY ELIZABETH GRAY HENRY

When I think about PBS, I don’t envision Mitt romney, clad in camouflage, out hunting for Big Bird, rifle in hand, stalking a big yellow target. Instead, I see him as freeing Big Bird from the cage of dependency on taxpayer bailouts and subsidies.

Jim Henson (a native of my home state of Mississippi) created both Sesame Street and the Muppets. Look at the lives the two have led: Sesame Street and Big Bird have gotten rich through crony capitalism and cushy government contracts, while the Muppets and Kermit the Frog are successfully competing in the free market.

If Kermit can stand on his two webbed feet, why must Big Bird lean on the government?

In fact, Big Bird need not lean on the government at all! Sesame Workshop made almost $50 million last year from licensing fees for the sale of toys like “Tickle Me Elmo.” The actors who voice the characters on Sesame Street make more than $300,000 a year.

Sesame Street is a multi-million dollar business with executives well-entrenched in the 1%. Do they really need government handouts financed by middle-class taxpayers and money borrowed from china?

Romney was making the important point that, with a mountain of debt blocking America’s path to a more prosperous future, we must have a serious discussion about eliminating all non-essential government expenditures. Instead of joining in that discussion, Obama launched silly attacks against Romney, showing that the president is desperate to talk about anything but the big issues facing our country.

The stubborn facts are that, since Obama took office, the national debt has soared by more than $5 trillion to an unsustainable $16 trillion and is still rising. The inconvenient truth is that our generation will have to pay off the reckless debt that Obama has run up. Faced with those facts, the bottom line is simply this: Is it worth borrowing money from china to give corporate welfare to Big Bird and his fat cat friends?

Romney says no, and I agree with him because Big Bird, big though he may be — is not too big to fail.

Elizabeth Henry is the Chairman of the Yale College Republicans.


Lead, damn it!

// BY AUSTIN SCHAEFER

The 2012 elections have been a distressing indictment of the sorry state of American politics. The vitriol spewed from each campaign and its surrogates might cause one to question the humanity of those in Washington. The candidates’ own statements are full of pandering, demagoguery and occasionally outright lies. What has been utterly lacking thus far is leadership.

Obama’s leadership was essentially unproven when he took office. His voting record during his brief tenure in the Senate showed him to be a weak junior senator who consistently voted along party lines. And I’ll note, when Barack Obama assumed the highest office in the country, Sarah Palin had more executive experience than he did.

His first term as president has been pathetic at worst and underwhelming at best. His foreign policy began with an apology tour around the Arab world. He then proceeded to abandon strategic allies that had been loyal to the U.S. since the Cold War in favor of an uprising that elected a fundamentalist. He passed a widely unpopular health care bill while he had massive Democratic majorities in Congress, and has been unable to accomplish much since he lost those majorities. He simply has not led.

I know that Mitt Romney’s policies are better suited to repairing America’s battered and neglected economy, re-establishing its preeminence on the world stage, and ensuring that it is safe from foreign threats. And I know that Romney the businessman is an exceedingly capable administrator who, as someone who started his own business over 25 years ago, understands the value of boldness and leadership.

But as both sides of the aisle have noted, Romney the campaigner has often floated in the direction of the political current. Much of this is business-minded pragmatism — it takes a very different kind of republican to get elected in Massachusetts than to the Office of the President. But it also indicates a lack of willpower to convince Americans that his principles are what’s best for the country and not just the most politically convenient. Being politically moderate is admirable, but being inconsistent is not.

Austin Schaefer is the Vice-Chairman of the Yale College Republicans.

Rooting Red

// BY EMILY KLOPFER

He appeared out of nowhere, the light grey of his “Yale Students for obama” shirt gleaming in the bright autumn sun.

“Would you like to register to vote in Connecticut?” he asked. His voice seemed to have an ethereal thrum.

“I’m voting republican in Alaska,” I said. The mirage broke.

“Then you should probably stay registered in your own state,” he said scathingly. With a huff he turned on his heel and tramped back to the Yale College Democrats table. I had survived my first Dems assault and I came out on the right side.

Slights against my party have been dogging me since I returned to campus this year, when I promptly pasted my Romney stickers on my wall, much to the chagrin of my Democratic roommate. I knew this election year at Yale would be tough, especially when my TA for microeconomics last semester used every section as a chance to spread anti-Republican messages in his examples.

I will admit, sometimes these slurs sting. It’s tough being in a minority and realizing that nearly everyone is against you, when you notice anti-Romney allusions in English section or when you hear derogatory remarks against an inflatable elephant (well, the Democratic mascot is an ass). But I simply hold my head high. I am a Republican, and I could not be more proud.

My dad owns a local brewpub in Anchorage. Gov. Romney has spent considerable time in the private sector and understands that these small businesses are the backbone of our society. His tax initiatives will reduce marginal rates to increase hiring and wages. He will make it easier for my dad to employ upwards of 100 people and provide them with jobs they wouldn’t have had otherwise.

So I will continue to eagerly watch the debates and root for the red, and I will be gripping the arms of my seat on Nov. 6 as my voice grows raw from cheering for Mitt Romney, because I believe in America. All hail the Grand Old Party!

Emily Klopfer is the Treasurer of the Yale College Republicans.

THE DEMOCRATS


Anything but a plan

// BY ZAK NEWMAN

We are less than three weeks to Election Day and it still seems like Mitt Romney has failed to make the case that he is any more than the “not Obama” candidate. President Obama may never win over some voters, but is that really the reason they’ll vote for Romney? We know that Romney would have done things differently than Obama: Iran’s nuclear program would be handled “differently”, our relationship with Israel would be “better” and Wall Street reforms would be made with regulations “distinct” from the President’s.

Are any voters really persuaded by Romney’s promise for “something” else? Romney’s claim to Jeremy Epstein in last Tuesday’s debate that he knows “what a good economy looks like” wouldn’t qualify him for a job at any of the companies he liquidated, much less qualify him for a seat in the Oval office. The bad math doesn’t help either. If tax reform is a plank, the American people deserve to know how it will work without creating a $4.6 trillion hole in our budget. If energy independence is going to create 12 million jobs in four years, we should expect to see how the magic’s going to happen.

With the clock ticking and the number of undecided voters shrinking every day, it’s time the Romney campaign got serious on just what the man would do and how he intends to do it. That’s a reasonable request to make of someone who wants to be leader of the free world.

Zak Newman is the President of the Yale College Democrats.


Guns: A family affair

// BY ISAAC STANLEY-BECKER

“Are you armed right now? You’re from a broken home.”

That was the text a childhood friend of mine received from her single mother during Tuesday’s presidential debate just moments after Mitt Romney set forth his novel solution to pandemic gun violence in this country: marriage and the two-parent family.

The moral indignation evident in the text’s sarcasm speaks to the logic that is Romney’s stock-in-trade. In disbelief, we wonder how the candidate can at once be so wrong and so offensive. but then we recall that such double whammies — statements both logically incoherent and morally reprehensible — have become as characteristic of the former governor as evasions, inconsistencies and outright falsehoods. It is impossible to forget his dismissal of 47 percent of Americans as “victims” who refuse to “take personal responsibility” for their lives. but this time he knew the country was watching.

“Gosh, to tell our kids that before they have babies, they ought to think about getting married to someone — that’s a great idea,” he said in response to a question about how to limit the availability of assault weapons in order to prevent gun violence.

Romney chose to rhapsodize about the virtues of marriage instead of explaining how to keep AK-47s out of the hands of criminals: “We need moms and dads, helping to raise kids. Wherever possible the benefit of having two parents in the home… We can make changes in the way our culture works to help bring people away from violence and give them opportunity and bring them in the American system.”

Talk about shooting yourself in the foot. While President Obama endorsed an assault weapons ban, Mr. Romney invoked the pathology of the female-headed household, unwittingly echoing the infamous 1965 Moynihan Report, which attributed poverty and violence in the nation’s urban ghettos to the “tangle of pathology” created by the “female family head” and “children in broken homes.”

Extolling the heteronormative family as the panacea for cultural decay, Mr. Romney dismissed the 11.6 million Americans who are single parents (as of 2009) as outside “the American system.” Meanwhile, he proposed no method for keeping a semi-automatic away from someone like James Holmes, the suspected perpetrator of the Aurora mass shootings, whose mother and father live together.

If the former governor still keeps binders full of women, he is likely to find that they contain many single mothers. And they — like the rest of us — may well be wondering if the candidate meant what he said: get hitched lest your children take up guns. The problem here is not simply semantics in the heat of a debate but the blunt expressions of a man morally unequipped to lead the country.

Binding Words

//BY YANAN WANG

When Betty Friedan published “The Feminine Mystique” in 1963, teenage Mitt Romney had already made his debut in politics. As a 16-year-old volunteer for the successful Michigan gubernatorial campaign of his father, George W. Romney, Romney was fascinated by government work and soon made the Michigan State Capitol his second home. As Friedan and her second-wave compatriots took up arms against the oppressive social expectations of their time, Romney was busy being educated at prep schools and elite universities, working for investment firms and building the network that would help him co-found one of the largest financial services companies in America. So we can understand, I suppose, why Romney might not have had time to pay attention when de Beauvoir cried foul on the sex hierarchy, and when Carol Hanisch articulated what women had already been feeling — that the personal is political.

For Mitt Romney, corporations are personal, and just about everything else is political. And women? We barely fit within the frame of his concerns, so cumbersome and irrelevant and unwieldy are we that we must be jammed between two flat pieces of cardboard and clasped together by three steel rings. During his tenure as governor of Massachusetts, 73.3% of Romney’s senior administrative staff was comprised of men. During the 1980s and ’90s, when Romney served as CEO for Bain Capital, he had no female partners. these numbers are real problems, but Romney is more worried about finding the most efficient, high-grade three-hole puncher that the market has to offer.

As commenter “Sabriel” wrote on the Amazon customer review page for an “Avery Durable View Binder” that has now joined the Internet’s growing pile of Mitt Romney memes, “Maybe it’s just my women, but they don’t seem to want to fit into the space I’ve designated for them in this binder. they keep sticking out over the edges, even getting away in some cases. I thought using clear, glass-ceiling page protectors would help, but it doesn’t seem to slow them down anymore.”

Romney can keep his pristine page protectors, and I’ll save my vote for the candidate who hasn’t tried to make me just another file in his portfolio.

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