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2008 October

Liveblogging the Queer Issues Debate

On October 15, 2008, in Uncategorized, by administrator

Welcome! We’re getting down to the student debate on Queer Issues between the College Democrats and the College Republicans.

We’re represented by Brandon Storm and Barry Weinberg, both CC’12, who will be arguing Barack Obama and Joe Biden’s positions. Learned Foote, CC’11, and Lauren Salz, BC’11, will be arguing the Republican side.

7:44: We’re just getting down to business.

7:49: Brandon’s giving a strong explanation of why Barack Obama is significantly better than John McCain on gay issues.

7:51: First question on gay marriage and the Defense of Marriage Act, a really horrible bill that prohibits gay marriage on the federal level. Barack Obama supports repealing the bill.

7:53: Republicans: “The Judicial Branch should not be involved in creating legislation.” Sounds like what conservatives said about abortion and segregation. And in fact, Lauren Salz, for the Republicans, made the link to abortion for us.

Barry’s giving a full-throated defense of the Supreme Court’s work to protect equal rights. He’s absolutely right.

7:56: Learned Foote, for the Republicans, is saying that there’s no right to privacy, and so Lawrence v. Texas should not have been ruled as such. Lawrence v. Texas ruled states can’t criminalize gay sex. Is that something he really wants to highlight? That John McCain thinks sodomy should be illegal?

Does Learned Foote think that’s the right path?

8:00: Oooh, a question on sex ed for McCain. Sarah Palin doesn’t believe in contraceptives. But Barack Obama does, and he’s fought to support sex ed.

8:04: Learned Foote is again going back to the States’ Rights argument. Does he really think that’s such a winner? It didn’t stop the last Civil Rights Movement in the ’60s. Can’t imagine it would be popular now.

8:07: So far it’s a much quieter debate than the first debate. No one seems like they want to throw punches yet.

8:10: The Dems better go after this. Learned Foote just said that John McCain doesn’t support discrimination. Then why does he oppose the Employment Non-Discrimination Act? How can he say that when John McCain supports the horrifically discriminatory Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Policy.

8:14: Audience participation. A member of the audience just challenged Barry on why Obama doesn’t support gay marriage. She was cut off by the moderator after Barry explained that Obama doesn’t have a problem with gay people getting married, but the government institution would be a civil union.

8:17: Barry’s absolutely right. John McCain stood up against the religious right in 2000. Now, he’s kissing up to them. Learned Foote said that John McCain supports gay adoption. That’s absolutely, 100% not true. In a July interview, John McCain said that he was opposed to gay adoption because he was “for the values and principles that two parent families represent”.

8:21: Finally! Barry’s calling the Republicans on their opposition to the Estate Tax. John McCain might oppose the Estate Tax, but he supports a whole system of federal taxes that discriminates against gays and lesbians.

8:24: Learned Foote just lied. He said that John McCain is okay with ending Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. That’s simply not true. John McCain is on the record as saying:

“The policy is working. And I am convinced that that’s the way we can maintain this greatest military. Let’s not tamper with them.”

Learned Foote lied.

8:27: Barry, in the closing statement: John McCain does not support equal rights. Barack Obama does. John McCain’s claim to support equal rights is “laughable”.

That about sums it up. John McCain’s claims are “laughable”, because he says he’s against discrimination and votes for discrimination. Barack Obama stands up for LGBT rights. John McCain doesn’t. That’s the difference in a nutshell.


The debate will start at 8:00pm tonight in Roone Arledge Cinema, Lerner Hall. Michael Spitzer-Rubenstein (CC ’12) and Sam Klug (CC ’12) will be repping the CU College Dems. Rumor has it, both are wearing American flag pins.

8:06 We’re in Roone Arledge, ready to kick some…elephant. Let’s see if this starts on time…

8:13 Ok! This could be it! Nick Shea of CPU is enthusiastically introducing the debate. …Reminding debaters that they’re supposed to stick to the platform of both presidential candidates. Expectations are high. Bet all of these Columbia students read newspapers, and can name more than one Supreme Court case.

8:16 Introductions of all debaters. Both Sam and Michael are undeclared majors. Sam loves Aretha Franklin and long walks on the beach.

8:16 Dems’ opening statement. Michael is explaining that America is the last hope of mankind. This oil addiction is dangerous. We can’t afford 4 more years of bellicose leadership. John McCain won’t put us on the right track. Safe to say…he nailed it!

8:20 Now it’s the GOP’s turn. They’re talking about Iran. They think McCain’s the most competent person in the United States.

8:23 FIRST QUESTION TO THE DEMS “what are the ‘whatever number’ biggest threats to the United States?”…hmmm…

Sam’s got this one: Americans feel less safe than they have four years ago. We need to focus on securing, or even eradicating nuclear weapons from Pakistan.

GOP responds: Pakistan is a failed State. John McCain don’t want to pull out of Iraq. “If we don’t do it now, our children will have to do it again” (…really now?)

8:26 Next question to the GOP. Should we promote democracy?
GOP: “Yes. Democracies don’t go to war with each other”
Michael- John McCain HASN’T supported democracy. We need safety and stability as a pre-requisite to democratic government.
Sam-Democrats support basic economic needs as a pre-requisite to progress
GOP: We’ve made progress in Iraq! Lauren Salz of the GOP just claimed that John’s “bomb Iran” speech was a “silly joke”!

8:31 New question: “What should be the US’ role in the UN and ICC?”
Sam: Globalization is inevitable. America needs to take a leadership role!
Michael: We need to build alliances with our NATO allies. How can we do this if John McCain refuses to meet with one of our closest allies, Spain? (good point!)

GOP doesn’t like the UN…they don’t think it accomplishes anything. so this is why we need a LEAGUE OF DEMOCRACIES!
DEMS: A League of Democracies wouldn’t have any effect on the countries that are not in it.

8:34 New question to GOP: Will McCain do anything to stop the genocide in Darfur?
GOP: The reality of the situation is that democracies have economic power. They could stop oppressive regimes.
Michael- SENATOR OBAMA COSPONSORED THE DARFUR ACCOUNTABILITY ACT! Obama got an A+ on the Darfur score card. John McCain got a C-.


8:37 Next quesiton, What will victory in Iraq look like, to the Dems.
Michael- The Iraqi government has endorsed Obama’s plan
Sam- 1 to 2 combat brigades/month leaves enough force on the ground, while letting the government know that we can’t be there forever. This plan has been endorsed by Malaki.
GOP- Obama wants us to lose this!
Sam’s response: Moving away from the ridiculous rhetoric of “defeat”, let’s talk about the real issues.

8:41 Michael provides some more insight…”Quite frankly, this is ridiculous. John McCain wants to go to the “Gates of Hell” to capture Osama Bin Laden”

8:43 And..We’re on to the environment!!!…Dems don’t think that offshore drilling will affect gas prices.

8:46 Sam’s pointing out that Obama agrees with Thomas Friedman that green energy is going to be the next big industry in the US.

8:47 GOP admits that global warming is due to human activity. (Is that really the McCain/Palin platform?)

8:48 Dems are throwing out great statistics and facts about Obama’s strong energy policy.
GOP: “Um, let’s not increase taxes.”

8:51 Now we’re talking about Georgia and Russia.
GOP-We should have said “we are all Georgians, and stood by them”
DEMS- Sam: no one is disputing that Russia’s actions were egregious. Right now, we don’t have the leverage to force Russia to withdraw, alone. We need to work with our allies in Europe.

8:52 CPU’s next GOP question…should we sit down with Iran?
GOP: No! Especially not with Ahmadinejad. But let’s meet with lower level officials who can’t do anything about the situation.
DEMS: Sam- Clinton said it best… “we’re not just going to be sitting around and making tea”. [chuckles from the audience] We’re going to address the major issues. We need to be prepared.

8:55 How would you respond to a nuclear attack on Israel!
DEMS: We need to protect our allies. John McCain’s aggressive foreign policy will leave the whole world unsafe.
Sam- We need to prevent an attack from happening in the first place!

GOP:WE WOULD RETALIATE! (This time, they’re NOT joking)

9:00 Now we’re talking about Israel and Palestine.

9:01 FINAL QUESTION: Should the US normalize relations with Cuba. What would your policy be?
Dems: Sam- Cuban-American families are our best ambassadors to Cuba, right now. We need to re-engage with our allies. We need to promote economic growth and development. We also want to make aggressive and principled bi-lateral diplomacy with Cuba.
GOP: We don’t want to sit down with the Castro brothers and negotiate!
DEMS: John McCain doesn’t know how to work with anyone.


DEMS. Sam’s got this one. For John McCain, the world is a binary of good and evil. He believes diplomacy is a concession. Barack Obama sees the world as complicated, nuanced, and inner-connected. The security of America depends on the security of every human being on the planet. We can’t afford a saber-rattling foreign policy. Sam believes Barack can restore effective American leadership. (Yayyy!!!! R-E-S-P-E-C-T?)

GOP: We shouldn’t leave Iraq. We need nuclear energy. etc. Now they start talking about “experience”.