Tag Archive: Soundbites

  1. First Reactions: Presidential Debate

    Leave a Comment

    I caught the second half of the presidential debate last night. But even then, after a long day of classes, I caught myself unable to focus on anything but Romney’s hair.

    Generally, I’m a more political creature, but last night, maybe because of its statistics-heavy topic — the economy — my mind wandered away from the debate to more timeless questions like, “Will breakfast be better tomorrow?”

    So, out of my obligations to be an informed citizen, and my obligation to impress upon my political philosophy professor that I actually am an informed citizen, I emailed a group of campus political leaders to get their opinions of the debate. Their responses, in full, are below:

    Zak Newman ’13, president of the Yale College Democrats

    It was heartening to see both candidates go into some depth on policy issues. However, Romney seemed to stick to the same baseless attacks on Obamacare, the Dodd-Frank bill and on the President’s economic policy that we’ve been hearing for some time even after the President’s disassembly of each piece by piece.

    Judging from tonight, Romney wants us to believe that we can all have our cake and eat it too if we vote for him: budget cuts that will be painless and have no impact on services for people that need them, no tax cuts ever that will add to the deficit, spontaneous economic growth with lower taxes. But where’s the beef?

    Elizabeth Henry ’14, chair of the Yale College Republicans

    Romney definitely won tonight’s debate hands down. I was watching it with a group of Pi Phis — a mix of Republicans and Democrats — and everybody agreed that Romney was on fire tonight. All I can say is his debate prep team did an amazing time. This is a fiery yet calm Romney that we didn’t see in the primary debates – and I like it! It’s just what he needed. To me, Obama just seemed like the fight had gone out of him.

    Alex Isper ’14, chair of the Federalist Party of the Yale Political Union

    From the onset of the debate it felt like President Obama was off his game and Governor Romney was able to capitalize in a major way. While some will criticize Romney for constantly steamrolling the moderator, it was a tactic that stopped President Obama from being able to pick up any momentum. Romney kept Obama on the ropes throughout the debate, balancing confident responses to questions with well-timed zingers. Romney’s performance was one that all Republicans can be proud of and one that will add new life to a campaign that looks to revive the hopes and dreams of a generation. Tonight, Governor Romney showed that he is willing and able to be the leader of the greatest country in the history of the world – something that cannot be said about the performance of his counterpart.

    Eric Stern ’15, communications director for the Yale College Democrats

    The President clearly laid out his plan for protecting students, minorities and the middle class, as well as ensuring that the progress we’ve made in the last four years continues. Governor Romney, on the other hand, was polished and aggressive, to be sure, but his performance was more notable for its stunning lack of specifics, mischaracterizations and outright falsehoods …

    All night, Romney tiptoed around the far-right policies he has endorsed while the President clearly explained his common-sense plans and vision for a stronger, more stable America. In the few short minutes since the debate ended, Romney’s assertions about taxes, the deficit, healthcare and education have been challenged by experts across the political spectrum. More than anything else, this debate clarified for many students the need to get excited about supporting President Obama, get involved in the campaign and, most of all, get out the vote!

    Elaina Plott ’15, chief whip of the Tory Party of the Yale Political Union

    I thought Governor Romney tonight gave the performance Republicans had been waiting for. He was vibrant, articulate, and tackled each question with confidence. Obama, on the other hand, appeared ill-prepared and generally unenthused to be there. Put simply, Romney looked more presidential than the President. But in the end, what this debate did was showcase two incredibly different visions for America, and Romney was unafraid to point out that Obama’s just doesn’t stack up.

    Ella Wood ’15, vice chairman of the Independent Party of the Yale Political Union

    I’m no fan of Mitt Romney, but I thought he had a strong showing at the debate tonight. Two versions of Romney have dominated the public perception: the bland Romneybot and the unreliable, policy-free flip-flopper. To varying degrees, he effectively combatted both images. He projected much more charisma than he has thus far in the campaign, through both his demeanor and the greatly touted “zingers.” He also communicated his policy proposals more clearly than before, particularly those pertaining to the tax code and the deficit, and hammered home a narrative of Obama’s presidency that may be convincing to voters.

    Gavin Schiffres ’15, chief whip of the Conservative Party of the Yale Political Union

    I think Romney won the debate tonight (though I am not saying he should have — I want to fact-check a number of claims on both sides before I advocate that). Through a number of nuanced responses, Romney came off as eminently reasonable, like that rarest of creatures in politics: a responsible adult. He avoided common Republican pitfalls by distinguishing different markets when discussing regulation, acknowledging the free market needed some oversight, and promising only tax and spending cuts we could afford. Romney stood behind a record of working with Democrats in Massachusetts, as well as his time in the private sector. Above all, he insisted on breaking his vision of the future down step by step (often dragging the audience through point after point along the way). It was here, I thought, that Romney shined in contrast to President Obama. Whereas Romney appeared to respect the intellectual faculties of the American people (again, haven’t checked his facts yet), Obama often appeared to try and pander to their emotions. The “moving” stories of Obama’s working-class grandmother, or that hard-working woman he met in that place that one time, just don’t move us as much anymore. His inspiration is so hackneyed that it now feels like a diversion, and diversions show weakness. Obama had a solid night, but he was average, trite, in short, a politician. While Romney’s bickering over “the final word” detracted from his performance, I still came away from the debate feeling that tonight, Romney displayed more maturity— the kind I would expect from a president.

  2. Soundbites: Joe Miller LAW ’95 edition

    Leave a Comment

    Joe Miller LAW ’95 came achingly close to claiming a seat in the U.S. Senate back in the 2010 elections, but fell to incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s historic write-in campaign. Last night, he swung by the Yale Political Union to explain why he doesn’t want the federal government involved in public education. Below are a few notable quotables from Miller’s showing at last night’s debate:

    “Government intervention in education is unconstitutional…the words ‘education’ and ‘school’ do not appear in the constitution.”

    “No Child Left Behind is a one size fits all [regime]…it really doesn’t let states try this thing.”

    “We are increasingly poor as a country.”

    “The government is not the caretaker of our children.”

    “The history of public education under the federal government has been failure…I’m in favor of immediately removing the federal government from education.”

    “They want more control, they want more influence over our children.”

    “Education trains us to think logically and rationally, but you have to be able to think morally, and that is something lacking in the current education system.”

  3. Soundbites: Tony Reno edition

    Leave a Comment

    In a press conference this afternoon, Tony Reno officially became Yale’s 34th head football coach. Below are a few notable quotables from the event.

    Tony Reno:

    When the opportunity came up, it was something that was unbelievable to me. But Yale has always been a home to my family and me. We had three of our kids here and it’s always been a place that we thought was different than anything else with the tradition and honor and the care of the program in the community. We are excited to be back.

    We are going to build a tough, physical and hard-nosed football program that can deal with adversity, and that’s challenge number one, to be able to install that kind of mentality in our players.

    We are in good shape [for recruiting] and we are going to put together a great class and make Yale proud.

    The feel of Yale is different. [The football program] means so much here. People believe in the Blue and White here.

    Toni Reno (Tony’s wife):

    We are very excited. We are kind of in a whirlwind right now, so it hasn’t really settled in.

    We knew eventually we’d be back. We kept all our Blue, so we are ready to go.

    Director of Athletics Tom Beckett:

    I want to start with the student athletes of Yale University who play this game of football. They are at the core of everything we do. I know there has been doubt and there have been questions, but your belief in your university has never wavered and I cannot thank you enough.

    He took the process by storm. He was dynamic. He was motivational, organized, with an exceptional vision of what we could wrap our heads around.

    His experience at Yale preparing for Harvard, his experience at Harvard planning for Yale – those are priceless. He watched how Harvard prepared for Dartmouth and he did the same how Yale prepared for Dartmouth, so now he can combine all of this information and he can create a plan that we know to be very effective.

  4. Soundbites: Larry Summers edition

    Leave a Comment

    The Yale Political Union hosted Lawrence Summers, former Harvard president, Treasury Secretary and director of the National Economic Council for a debate on economics titled “RESOLVED: The U.S and world economies need more Keynesian thinking.” Below are some of Summers’ more quotable moments:

    Ladies and gentlemen, it is an honor to speak to the political union of the nation’s second best university.

    John Kennedy said man’s problems were made by man, and that it follows that they can be solved by man. No one knows how to find a cure for cancer, find peace in the Middle East, find a formula for controlling greenhouse emissions or what to do about rising inequality. These are all very deep and hard problems. But does anybody think that we cannot find ways to spend money and put people back to work in the U.S.?

    Are people quitting jobs? No. People are staying in jobs at record rates, because they are having trouble moving elsewhere. What about job vacancies? They’re at record lows. That’s because we live in a country that has too little demand. Some people think this has to do with workers being lazy or being not properly motivated. But factories do not have psychological problems that cause them to want to be empty: they are sitting empty because there is no demand.

    If we grow just 1 percent slower for the next 10 years, that adds 3 trillion dollars to the debt in 2020. That’s why there’s no more important problem facing this country than getting this economy growing again.

    How many people have been to JFK? How many people are proud of the Kennedy airport as the gateway to America’s greatest city? Probably a member of the Tory party. Most who look at Kennedy airport say, “we can do better.”

    In general, the U.S. would be well-served by more open immigration policies, especially in regards to skilled immigrants. I think that’s morally right and economically smart, and our country did a number of short-sighted things in the wake of 9/11.