February 26, 2003

Political Pundit Arianna Huffington Speaks Her Mind

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Political commentator Arianna Huffington discussed her views on the war in Iraq, corporate scandals and social reform in an interview with The Sun last weekend.

Speaking at Sage Chapel shortly after the interview, Huffington delivered a sermon called “Rediscovering Our Shared Destiny: The Quest for Corporate Integrity and Social Justice.” While at Cornell, she also met with students in campaign finance reform group Democracy Matters and had a public signing for her new book, Pigs at the Trough. She has written eight other books and writes a syndicated column carried in the Los Angeles Daily News and the Boston Herald.

War Opposition

Huffington began the interview by describing her reasons for opposing the war in Iraq.

“[The Bush] administration has not made a compelling case, or any case at all, that Iraq poses a clear and present danger,” she said. “It has made the case that Saddam [Hussein] is an evil dictator, who possesses some weapons of mass destruction, but there are many evil dictators who possess weapons of mass destruction.”

Not surprisingly, she strongly supports the ongoing antiwar movement.

“I think it’s incredibly inspiring. I believe [the fact] that we’re not at war yet is largely because of that movement,” she said.

In addition to her ideological agreement, she sees this opposition as a sign of a growing populist sentiment. She senses an increasing resistance toward the traditional political parties and support for grassroots social reform among the public.

Currently, she sees the country growing frustrated with the evident division among economic and social lines.

“This country has become two Americas … an upstairs and a downstairs. It’s not sustainable in the long run to have such huge divisions,” she said. “People in the upstairs America live under other rules [than people] in the downstairs.”

Citing examples of this division, she contrasted the case of a corporate criminal that the government has not indicted to an 85-year-old African-American man who had his house auctioned for owing $500 in back taxes.

She thinks this growing “populist movement” is one of the three biggest trends in politics today. She sees a “rising level of disgust at what is happening” and alternative media as two other major emerging political trends.

In particular, she thinks the public is revolted with what she sees as President George W. Bush’s hypocrisy toward poverty.

“I find it stunning that the President, who considers Christ the greatest philosopher