September 15, 2004

Corn, Lowry Face Off in Mock Election Debate

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David Corn, the Washington editor of The Nation, has described the administration of George W. Bush as a “no-good mob.” Rich Lowry, the editor of The National Review, says that “if you are a consistent and principled opponent of the Iraq war, then you don’t have a candidate in this race.” Last night, the two went head to head in a debate in front of a packed Statler Auditorium. The debate was nationally televised by C-SPAN.

The Corn-Lowry faceoff was the kickoff event for the second phase of Mock Election 2004, a student-led, three-part program designed to promote civic awareness and involvement among Cornell students. The first phase was a voter registration drive, the second is a speaker and debate series and the third will be an online presidential vote for the Cornell community. Mock Election 2004 is being sponsored by many student organizations, including The Sun.

The program was well-received, as evident by the size of the audience.

“What is amazing is that by [last] Friday, all the tickets to the event … were sold out!” said Raj Shah ’06, executive vice president of Mock Election 2004.

Michael Zuckerman ’06, president of Mock Election 2004, expressed excitement over the debate: “Two leading national figures descended on the Cornell campus for a nationally televised debate!”

The two political pundits discussed the issue of tax cuts for the wealthy. Lowry fiercely defended President Bush, saying that 70 percent of all families are keeping more of their income than they were four years ago. He further argued that the “wealthy are successful people who create jobs; they shouldn’t be punished with confiscatory policies.”

Lowry — as well as Corn — was representing a faction within the audience with his right-leaning comments: “I came here because I wanted to hear a conservative viewpoint. They’re rarely heard around campus,” said Amit Caspi ’06.

Corn pointedly argued that over the duration of Bush’s term, he has shifted the tax burden toward the middle class, and that “it’s not a bad thing to say to the rich, ‘Ya know what, during a time of war, while we’re accruing debt, you have to pay the same taxes you were paying when you were getting rich.”

On the issue of the war on Iraq, Corn pointed out that neither the President of the United States, nor his national security advisors, bothered to read the report prepared by the United Nations before launching the war on Iraq; Lowry argued that not even “the U.N. takes itself seriously.”

Corn and Lowry fought it out on a wide variety of issues, including stem cell research, global warming, health care and gay rights.

Lowry commented that he thinks “the Supreme Court is a bit of a scandal these days. A lot of decisions are based on Sandra Day O’Connor licking her finger and sticking it in the wind to see which direction the wind is blowing.”

Corn criticized that Bush “has the worst job creation record since Hoover, which really takes some doing.”

The debate garnered good reviews. “I thought it was very interesting and I’m glad that we have debates like this because, as college students, we have an obligation, at the very least, to vote,” said Matt Daniels ’07.

The tenor of the debate was not malicious; as Lowry put it, “we’re a little bit like an old bickering married couple — though we’re not married because that would be wrong.”

Mock Election events are paid for and publicized by Cornell University Programming Board.

Shah summarized the event, saying, “with the Corn-Lowry event, we have two very articulate, witty and partisan individuals who…put on a great show and cut at the heart of a variety of the large issues defining the election.”

Archived article by Erica Fink
Sun Staff Writer