It’s a common occurrence on TV to see politicians at each other’s throat.
However, two high-profile bureaucrats agreed that faculty, staff and students should be participating in current political issues during the eight annual Alumni Lecture Series Oct. 25.
The lecture consisted of a debate between former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D) and conservative MSNBC Political Analyst Pat Buchanan followed by a Q-and-A section that allowed the audience to take part in the event.
Topics such as health care, global warming, the economy, immigration and the War in Iraq were the main foci of the evening. The overall message of the night was to be active in and aware of the of the issues in America and to take the time to vote for what people believe in.
“This election will be critical, every vote counts and the race can be decided by just a hand full of votes. This is the election that will decide between war and peace,” Daschle said.
Nick Clooney, the father of the famous Hollywood actor George Clooney, introduced the two political gurus and led the debate.
Daschle and Buchanan offered their opinions for the topics they believed would carry the 2008 presidential election and surprisingly, they shared similar viewpoints, except for their respective stands on global warming and immigration.
Daschle said he believes global warming is an important issue and it will be the single most important one in the next decade.
Buchanan, on the other hand, was less concerned with the topic.
“Politically, global warming is becoming a more salient issue, but I think it is hype,” Buchanan said. “We don’t really know much about it and until we do, we shouldn’t frighten ourselves to death with our own propaganda.”
Illegal immigration opinions caused a bit of controversy on the stage as well. Buchanan believed in putting up 2,000 miles of fencing along the borders and deport ing immigrants who are in gangs and convicted criminals to deplete the amount of illegal immigrants in the United States; Daschle, however, was against it.
“The United States is a common ground, a melting pot. I don’t think this country should be about fences and walls,” Daschle said.
Both candidates agreed that voting to invade Iraq was a mistake. They also agreed that the United States cannot just bring them home now, but should instead gradually subside our influences and troops over time.
As the issues were hit head on, the presidential candidates were discussed. A prominent figure for the Democratic Party in Daschle’s and Buchanan’s opinion is Hillary Clinton.
Buchanan said Clinton has weaknesses, she can’t command a stage like a man can.
“Her voice just gets higher and higher and higher and it’s a voice that every husband in America has heard. Her second weakness is Bill, and he is one dog that just will not stay on the porch,” Buchanan said.
After Buchanan spoke out against Clinton, Daschle had his own opinions about Republican frontrunner and former Mayor of New York City Rudy Giuliani.
“A vote for Rudy Giuliani is a vote for permanent war. He will do nothing but start where George Bush ends,” Daschle said.
In handling such polemics, Daschle, Buchanan and Clooney incorporated humor to keep it an informative- yet-light atmosphere that encouraged the audience to offer up their own questions.
As President James Votruba said, “One of the most important things a university can do is be a forum for debate.”