Author Archives: djsidney7

November 6th: Decision 2012

It is now decision day 2012. November 6, 2012 is the day we decide as a country who will be the next president of the United States of America. It is also my first time being able to vote in a presidential election, as is the case for most of us. I remember 4 years ago the momentum and the excitement that was riding behind Barack Obama. It was almost as if the sheer excitement alone won him that election, and it truly was an amazing thing to witness, even though I was not able to place my own vote. But this election, Campaign 2012, is so far removed from 2008. There were no Boondocks episodes and songs featuring Will.I.Am and Thugnificent promoting Obama’s presidency. Neither was there the active Diddy “Vote or Die” movement. That is not to say that we are any more apathetic; which is the claim that is placed on us as a generation. But the excitement, that relentless energy, hope and optimism is not the same. Instead, we are caught in the real grind, muck that politics truly can be. It cannot and will not be as fun and entertaining as 2008. And we have come to grips with that in the nation in different ways.

Nothing can be more revealing of the actual climate that we are in than just the talk and reactions surrounding the campaign trail and especially the debates. It started with that first debate where our own Qaim Wynter, Class of ’14 stated “What seemed to be a sure fired Obama victory was put in question after his lackluster performance in the first debate, and conversely Romney’s impressive performance.” That followed with a Biden-Ryan debate that attempted to curb the Romney ticket’s momentum, and admittedly President Barack Obama did right the ship, or turn back up the heat in the campaign during the next two debates. But the mood was different in these debates than in 2008. Even the most die-hard of us could feel it. I personally heard from people who said that at times, viewing parties that were attended by those of one side would frequently turn to opposition jeering events. But even through our jeers, we could see what was happening.

This is best captured by Michella Ore ’16 who wrote concerning the third debate “Throughout the debate I couldn’t help but feel that I was watching two children bickering with each trying to prove to their mother (the moderator) that they were right and the other was wrong. While I felt Obama made some great comments, I felt they were overshadowed by his somewhat childish interjections that detracted from the importance of his message and which also could feed into the notion from the opposing side that he is not suitable for the respectable role of president.” Indeed, that has been the sentiment amongst many. But through it all, we all have made it to this day, November 6th, and we have seen the ups and downs of each candidate as they have probably revealed more to us than they have intended.

But nonetheless, we have a decision to make. Reading an article in The Economist magazine, even they are not on an emotional high entering this election. As a matter of fact, they worded it more harshly when stating they would endorse “the devil we know”, (referring to Obama) rather than “the devil we don’t” (referring to Romney) if I remember it correctly. While I strongly condemn that kind of language, the message is clear. They, along with many others are approaching this election cautiously, if not begrudgingly. But I must urge us all, not to avoid the polls. There are those that without a clear devotion for one candidate over the other, would rather abstain. But I cannot stress enough the need we have for you all to make sure that if you are registered to vote, you make your sure to go to the nearest polling center today. Even if you only like one candidate slightly more than the other. Your vote is vital, and I will not push you in any direction over the other. The only direction I’m pushing you to is to the voting booth. After that, we will all witness what our collective American voice is saying. With that I will leave you with the words of Qaim Wynter again, “In this election Americans have a choice between two men who each represent completely different worlds within America. What’s your America?”

Decision 2012

One Love,

Don Polite Jr. ‘13

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Post Presidential Debate Round 2

There is a consensus agreement no matter who you ask about the aftermath of the second presidential debate, President Barack Obama came out ready to throw punches. As opposed to the first debate where Obama was accused of being too passive, constantly on the defense or disinterested, Obama was strikingly more animated and energized this time around. The result was a performance that very well could have curbed the momentum that Governor Romney had been building into this debate. With the town hall format, which allowed for audience members to pose questions directly to each candidate, the debate addressed many different issues. Most of the questions revolved around questions of the economy, which has been a familiar theme. But the most interesting exchanges came out of the attacks on Libya, how each candidate would handle pay equity for women, and also speaking of the auto industry in the United States. For example, Governor Romney criticized the President for not labeling the attacks as an act of terror, and hinting that Obama was also fundraising in the days afterward instead of helping the country deal with this tragedy. Obama not only took responsibility for the events, but also took offense to the notion that he was anything but concerned for the lives that were lost. Also, the moderator did aid President Obama by declaring that the President did say that no terrorist action would go unchecked, just a day after the Libyan attacks on the US embassy.

Onto the issue of women’s pay equity, is where Romney possibly made his
biggest blunder, if you have not caught onto the story by now. When asked what
he would do about women’s pay equity, Governor Romney spoke about when he was
attempting to fill out his cabinet, he asked for women’s groups to find him
qualified female candidates which resulted in him in having “binders full of
women”. Obama not only took the opportunity to mention how Romney has never spoken about whether he would have supported the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act  (first bill Obama signed into law), but also turned the debate to speak about how Romney would slash funds for planned parenthood and limit women’s freedom of choice.
The last issue was concerning the auto industry where Governor
Romney relitigated the auto bailout. His point was that he would have allowed
the auto industry go bankrupt, with the intention that it would come out
stronger such as 7-Eleven and Continental Airlines have. However, the reminder
that he would have offered no assistance to this industry is not a point that
will help him in the battle ground state of Ohio, which overwhelmingly approved
the auto bailout. Let me remind you that in modern election times, no Republican candidate has won the presidency without winning Ohio so that blunder could possibly end up hurting him down the road.
But in any case, we are faced with one last debate coming up next Monday October 22. The topic of this debate will largely revolve around foreign policy so expect Governor Romney to attack the perceived opening that Libya has allowed his campaign. But also expect Obama to reference the attack that brought about bin Laden’s death. If this debate was any indication, neither candidate will yield much ground. We hope you are able to join us in the BSU at this last debate before the election.
One Love,

Don S. Polite Jr Political Education Coordinator ’13

VP Debate

Last night Vice President Joe Biden and Paul Ryan faced off on the sole vice-presidential debate. What was apparent, and what will go unchallenged regardless of who you ask, is that Joe Biden was the aggressor. However, you will find disagreement on if this was positive or negative. For example, CNN Senior Political Analyst David Gergen said that “On style I think that Paul Ryan won the debate. The Biden dismissive laughs, the interruptions, the sort of shouting, I think that Ryan was calmer and frankly more presidential.” At the same time, CNN Chief National Correspondent John King said, “The vice president came and showed fight. He showed his boss what it is to engage and engage and attack and attack and attack”. But despite of their positions, both campaigns acknowledged that it would probably have minimal effect on the race one way or the other.

As for the substance of the debates, a number of issues were addressed, largely the economy, the budget deficit and foreign policy. For instance, Paul Ryan argued that President Obama’s foreign policy projects weakness, citing his reaction to the terror attacks on the U.S.  consulate in Libya. Biden would retort that the Obama administration was simply responding to information that was given to them by the intelligence community. Another issue that arose was that of abortion where Vice President Biden cautioned that whoever the next president is would be able to choose one or two new justices on the Supreme Court which would essentially control the future of the abortion debate.

But moving forward, the Romney campaign continues to build momentum as Romney has tightened the gaps in both battleground states and national polls. In fact, in the latest Fox News national poll of likely voters Romney holds a 46 to 45 percent edge. But President does hold slight edges in most of the crucial swing states, but some of these leads are within the margin of error. This makes the next two debates crucial as even President Obama acknowledged a “bad” performance the last debate. The next debate will be held Tuesday night, October 16 at 8pm again and will be a town hall format focusing on a range of issues.  We encourage you to join the BSU as we host another viewing party for this event in Rice House. As always, stay informed, stay active.

One Love,

Don S. Polite Jr. Political Education Coordinator

Post Presidential Debate

We are now officially four days removed from the first presidential debate of
election season, and first of all, I must state how beautiful it was to have
Rice House full of people tuning in to watch this debate together. I thank you
all for taking time out of your evening to view this event with the BSU. Now,
granted while we as a group primarily tended to discredit what GOP candidate
said, the immediate response from viewers was that Romney “won” the debate, or “beat” incumbent President Obama. But allow me to put this into perspective.

This first debate largely circled around issues of the economy, with
several references to Obamacare, unemployment and taxes. Now since GOP candidate Mitt Romney has a particular strong financial and business background, it can be expected that this sphere would allow him the best chance to have a good showing. But it does go beyond this, what does it actually mean to “win” a debate? I tend to want to put it this way. In the days and weeks leading up to this debate, Romney had suffered a string of events that were hurting his
campaign, including the remarks he made in the recently released video. Because
of this and other gaffes, Romney entered this debate in a particularly
vulnerable position from his candidacy anyway. What many expected was for Obama to capitalize on this, to essentially bury Romney while he was down. However, Romney was aggressive throughout the debate (sometimes excessively so), and attacked Obama and his policies throughout. While Romney did not at points detail any program that he would promote, his attacking stance instead kept Obama on the defensive throughout the night. And many have taken Obama’s cool demeanor to signify an air of either aloofness, or at worst, “smugness”, as I have read in articles posted on Yahoo and Fox News. They criticize Obama for having an almost “professorial” tone during debates and speeches. All of these factors combined for a situation in which Romney was able to not only curb the downward spiral that his campaign had been suffering through, but also generate some positive momentum coming out of the debate, instead of being pushed further down. Thus, this created a “win” for the debate. But what exactly has this “win” meant?

In one of the first full post debate surveys, the Rasmussen Poll, Romney now has the support of 49% of voters nationwide, with Obama holding 47%.But let us keep in mind that this poll also shows that Obama still holds the
lead in 11 swing states, including the four most crucial: Pennsylvania, Ohio,
Virginia and Florida. But those leads have shrunk slightly since the debate. But
while many undecided voters did say that Romney had impressed them from this
debate, there  are still many more who remain undecided and are anxiously
awaiting the next two presidential debates and the vice presidential debate before they make their final decision. As always, I will try to keep everyone as u to date as possible. This next Wednesday will feature Joe Biden and Paul Ryan in their debate, with the two presidential debates largely to focus on issues such as foreign policy,i mmigration and issues critical to women’s rights groups, which make those also incredibly important. As always stay informed and consider me just a humble instrument of information.
One Love,
Don S. Polite Jr.