October 5, 2004

Goldberg Speaks on Politics

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“I’m going to say nasty things about both Republicans and Democrats,” said Jonah Goldberg, the editor-at-large of the National Review, in the introduction to a speech last night at Hollis E. Cornell auditorium. Goldberg gave an overview of the current state of politics and its implications for the war on terror.

He started by making a disclaimer: “A lot of people think that conservatives need a truck load of bran just to crack a smile, so if I’m funny, I’m a humorist. I am not a humorist; I’m a pundit.”

From there Goldberg launched into his evaluation of the Democratic Party. “Dean,” Goldberg said, “is who a party picks when they’re having a temper tantrum.”

When Dean dropped out of the race, the Democrats chose someone who is an “unlikable person,” is “an astoundingly unaccomplished public servant,” and who “represents the abject failure of the Democratic Party in dealing with foreign policy,” as their candidate, he said.

Goldberg’s analysis highlighted the poor decisions Kerry has made on everything from his stance one the war in Vietnam to the current war on terror, and the weaknesses of the Democratic National Convention.

As for last week’s debate, “Kerry’s biggest victory … was that he gave the Democratic party reason not commit suicide. It took a debate against George Bush — a noted orator — for the Democratic party to like their candidate,” said Goldberg, sarcastically.

Goldberg ridiculed the vice presidential candidate, saying he was “really looking forward to seeing pictures of John Edwards on milk cartons any day now.”

On the Republican party, Goldberg attributed his disliking of Bush to his being a different kind of conservative — “a compassionate conservative ” — “I don’t want the government to be feeling my pain; I want the government to feel my boot in its ass.”

He criticized those who portray Bush as a typical Republican president. “You’d have to be too stupid to be a spell checker in an M&M factory to say that George W. is a small government kind of guy,” he said.

He discussed Bush’s legislative history, including his lack of vetoes. He also complained about Bush spending too much, reciting statistics on the increases in spending on everything from arms to education over the last four years.

Goldberg defended the war on terror and discussed Bush’s legislative history. He also criticized Bush’s inability to speak in public.

“Listening to [Bush] is sort of like that feeling you get when you’re walking down the stairs in the dark; I mean you listen to those sentences and you’re just left thinking I missed a step — where is this going?” he said.

The event was planned and sponsored by The Cornell Review, The Cornell College Republicans, The Society for Individualists and the Mock Election Committee. Mock Election events are also co-sponsored by The Daily Sun.

Paul Eastlund ’05, editor of The Cornell Review, explained that Goldberg’s appearance at Cornell was the result of Goldberg’s taking interest in a protest that occurred in response to last year’s Guantanamo protests. The anti-protest at Cornell was planned by The Cornell Review, and Goldberg posted an online response. The Review then contacted him about coming to speak.

The audience had a mixed response to Goldberg’s lecture. One audience member asked why Bush and Kerry are tied in the polls.

“John Kerry gets to make sandcastles about what he would do [if he were President],” while Bush is “not very popular…the war’s not going great,” Goldberg said.

He argued that the combination of the two circumstances make them equally disdainable.

“I expected a bunch of crazy people to come, and they didn’t,” said a disappointed Eastlund.

Others were satisfied with the lecture.

“I thought his comments were really on target. He’s not a divisive guy and he provided a good analysis with a humorous edge,” said J.P. Freire ’05.

Archived article by Erica Fink
Sun Senior Writer