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The North Wind

The North Wind

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Dallas WiertellaApril 30, 2024

Students square off in pre-election debate

The struggling economy, the Iraq war, healthcare and education were all hotly contested issues at the Wednesday, Oct. 15 debate between the College Republicans and the College Democrats.

The debate, which was hosted by the Political Review, was the second of its kind and focused on each party’s presidential candidate and the views they held on major domestic and foreign policy issues.

“We based a lot of the questions on previous presidential debates,” said Rachel Hovel, editor-in-chief of the Political Review. “We also talked with people on campus and in the broader community about the issues.”

The event, which drew a full crowd to Jamrich 102, was moderated by political science professor James Alderson and featured a panel of three Democrats and three Republicans.

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The set of 12 pre-determined questions covered a wide range of topics, but the evening started out with a question about the country’s ailing economy, and what each party’s candidate would do to ease the economic woes of the nation.

“We need to raise the GDP (gross domestic product). It would help our economy as a whole,” said Matthew Fusilier, a business major and member of the College Republicans. He went on to say that Sen. Barack Obama’s economic plans included raising taxes on small business, something Sen. John McCain is whole-heartedly against.

College Democrat and senior political science and philosophy major Lauren Mattioli responded by outlining Obama’s four-step economic plan. Later in the debate, when asked about how Obama could stabilize America’s banking system, she cited McCain’s statement of knowing little about the economy.

“Obama had strong policies sooner than McCain,” she said. “Luckily, Barack Obama knows a lot about the economy.”

Though the economy was an underlying issue for many of the questions asked during yesterday’s debate, several other domestic policies were covered, including those concerning alternative energy.

“John McCain wants to do everything,” said Jordan Schwarz, president of the College Republicans. He went on to outline seven different alternative energy sources McCain was in support of, including ethanol, battery technology for cars and nuclear power.

In response, the Democrats touted McCain as focusing only on oil for power.

“Fuel prices are raping America,” said sophomore political science major Jason Morgan, who is also vice-president of the College Democrats. “McCain is stuck in the past on oil. We have three percent of the world’s oil supply, but we use 25 percent. That means we have about one-eighth of what we need.”

Morgan went on to say that Obama’s energy plan includes creating more green-collar jobs and reducing American dependence on oil.

“We can’t drill ourselves out of this situation,” he said. “It’s just not going to work.”

Also coming into play in the debate was the issue of nominating a new Supreme Court justice, something that is very likely to happen in the next four years.

“Barack Obama would support a judge that represents America . that knows what it’s like to be a powerless minority in America,” Mattioli said. “Someone who would limit encroachment by the executive branch . and reflect what America needs. Not someone like (Supreme Court Justice) Alito, Roberts or Scalia, who are out of touch with what America needs.”

Schwarz responded by saying that a strict reading of the constitution by Supreme Court Justices was American and that Justices Alito, Roberts and Scalia were not out of touch.

“(McCain would support people who) don’t legislate from the bench,” he said. “Strict constitutionalist and pro-life people.”

Healthcare was an issue that was brought up several times during the debate, both during the moderator’s questions as well as the student questions.

Tom Cory, a member of the College Democrats, prefaced his answer on the first healthcare question by describing John McCain’s past statements on the issue.

In last week’s presidential debate, McCain said that healthcare was a responsibility, not a right.

“He’s basically calling 50 million people irresponsible,” Cory said. “We all need help at different stages in our lives. . (Obama wants) universal health coverage. We already pay for (people without health insurance). Why don’t we give them the dignity they deserve?”

The Republicans responded by saying that people who don’t have healthcare coverage are still receiving care.

“It’s against the law to turn people away. They are getting the coverage they deserve,” Schwarz said.

After the set of 12 predetermined questions, the debate was handed over to the crowd, and students were allowed to ask their own questions for the last 30 minutes.

Student questions varied from topics such as alternative energy, to vice presidential choices to medicinal marijuana.

After the debate was over, students had mixed opinions on whether the Republicans or the Democrats had prevailed.

“I thought the debate went pretty well,” said Amy Hickey, a senior international studies major. “Both sides were really prepared . I think the Democrats won it though. They answered the questions with a little more spontaneity . some of the College Republicans answers seemed to have been taken whole-sale from (John McCain’s) Web site.”

While Hickey thought it was the Democrats who won the debate, Josh McDowell, a senior history major, said it was clearly the Republicans who triumphed.

“The Republicans won on substance more than style,” he said. “The Democrats were vague but smooth.”

Editors note: Tom Cory is a cartoonist for The North Wind.

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