Pre-election debate between College Democrats, Republicans

On Monday Nov. 5, the eve of Election Day, the Geneseo College Democrats and Geneseo College Republicans hosted a debate on foreign policy, the economy and social welfare. Three representatives from each organization spoke on behalf of their respective party candidates.

President of Political Affairs Club James McLoughlin and senior PAC member Nick D’Amuro moderated the debate.

Geneseo College Republicans President junior Isaac Baskin was the first to speak. In his opening statement, Baskin quoted former Mayor of New York City Rudy Giuliani’s recent speech in Ohio, where he stated, “[President Barack Obama] doesn’t want a second term; he wants a second chance.”

Further, Baskin reiterated former Gov. Mitt Romney’s five-point plan: energy independence, access to better education, trade that works for America, a balanced budget and championing small business.

Geneseo College Democrats President senior Jared Meagher’s opening statement called upon Obama’s success as a commander in chief.

“He has already proven he can successfully lead our country,” said Meagher, adding that Obama has ended the war in Iraq, brought justice through the death of Osama bin Laden and began the removal of troops from Afghanistan.

Additionally, Meagher noted Obama’s Hurricane Sandy efforts, calling Obama a “hands-on president,” touring the devastation and meeting with victims.

The first segment of the debate focused on foreign policy.

“We need to increase our international involvement and increase our vocality,” Baskin said. “We can’t wait until after election season; we need to do it now.”

“What we need to do in Syria is what we’ve been doing,” Geneseo College Democrats Vice President sophomore Devin McConnell said. “We can’t just dominate the world by yelling louder.”

“I’m not saying we be louder than anyone,” Baskin said. “I am saying we should go out and form a coalition, be more vocal and make sure [Bashar al-Assad] is gone.”

The representatives transitioned into debating the candidates’ stance on China.

“As for China and currency manipulation … there’s no purpose,” McConnell said. “You can call them a purple monkey, but it’s not going to do anything without Congress.”

“You need to speak softly and carry a big stick,” he added. “If you start a trading war, you’ll deflate both our economies.”

“Mitt Romney’s step to actually have international laws enforced is a lot better than what the current administration is trying to do,” Baskin said.

The representatives also discussed the recent terrorist attack in Libya.

“It was a seven-hour attack,” Baskin said. “We could have had air forces there within an hour from Turkey. We could have had ground troops in two hours. What caused the state department and the president to have no response at all?”

“It’s a cover up,” he added. “[Obama] decided politics was more important.”

On the economy, the club members had starkly disparate positions.

“Prosperity has never come from [‘trickle-down economics’],” Geneseo College Democrats representative freshman Brandon Gimpelman said. “It’s always been from a strong middle class.”

“The fact is that the current economic policies are failing,” said Geneseo College Republicans representative sophomore Adam Wage. “The economy and unemployment have remained stagnant. That’s not a reason to celebrate, in my opinion.”

In terms of Medicare and Social Security, Geneseo College Republicans Vice President junior Marty Rogachefsky said he argues for an increase in the retirement age and a privatized system, relying on market competition to keep prices down.