College Republicans — at any college campus — are a unique breed; they tuck their shirts in, they (say they) don’t use drugs, and they’ve somehow managed to avoid the cliche brand of idealistic college-age liberalism that consumes so many young students who think they’re going to change the world.
Some call their Conservative leanings at such a young age heartless. Others call them nerds. I call them assholes — because at last night’s presidential debate at Hofstra University, I got straight-up ditched by a pack of college Republicans, and was forced to spend the rest of the evening listening to politicians (from both parties) explain why their candidate clearly won the debate.
I went to last night’s debate with no agenda. Armed with media
credentials, I figured I’d just show up and try to find some quirky
angle that would give our readers a different perspective on a story
that’s getting told by every news outlet in the Western world.
wandering around the campus for about an hour, I bumped into a bunch of
kids, each of whom was wearing a suit. Then it dawned on me: these are
college Republicans — and what would be funnier than watching a
presidential debate with a bunch of college Republicans who are all wearing
business suits for no apparent reason.
Without knowing for sure
— admittedly basing my assumption that these kids were college
Republicans on nothing more than their appearance — I asked one. Sure
as shit, he told me “yes, yes we are Hofstra’s College Republicans.”
I asked if they’d mind if I watched the debate with them to get their
reactions. They agreed — despite the perception of the publication for
which I work as being somewhat left-leaning.
“We’re gonna watch it in one of the residence halls, if you’re OK with that,” one of the CRs told me.
“Even better,” I thought.
we walked to the residence hall, the group of about 10 CRs discussed
exactly what they’d say to the person at the front desk — it appeared
as though they were hatching some sort of scheme to get people into the
building who weren’t allowed to be there (the rascals!).
We chatted about their extra-curricular activities — one works for the state Republican Party, another for a congressman, etc.
we got to the building, they again rehearsed what they’d say to the
person at the desk. They all got in without a problem. Me, however, not
Despite having undergone a Secret Service background
check to obtain press credentials. campus security wouldn’t let me into
As the CRs marched into the residence hall — each
reciting the same line they’d rehearsed on the way over — the girl at
the desk told me I wasn’t allowed.
One of the CRs told me they’d
relocate to a place where I could gain access — a common viewing area
at one of the campus’ student centers. I just had to wait a minute at
the door. Another CR even gave me his business card and told me to text
him once he gathered the others who’d already gone upstairs unaware that
I wasn’t granted access.
After about five minutes, I sent the text. I got no response.
I waited a few more minutes and sent another text: “Can I come meet you all when this is over?”
That’s when it occurred to me: I’d been ditched by a group of college Republicans…in business suits.
The crushing blow to my confidence was brutal, and my ego will never be the same.
I was forced to watch the debate with the rest of the Fourth Estate in
the media filing center — a huge room with several rows of desks where
reporters all watched the same regurgitation of political talking points
we’ve all been enduring for months.
Here’s what happens in a
media filing center at the conclusion of a debate: politicians — from
both sides of the aisle — come rushing in to try and convince the media
that they’re respective candidate not only won the debate, but mopped
the floor with their opponent.
Clearly, that was not the case for
either candidate last night. Regardless, below are some quotes we
gathered from various pols following the debate:
Kerry: “The president won overwhelmingly. He exposed Mitt Romney
tonight…tonight he just stripped it away. The president of the Untied
States showed he was in command, showed he has a vision for the next
four years…Mitt Romney was just wrong — wrong on the facts. I think
tonight Mitt Romney’s campaign fell away.”
Obama adviser David Axelrod: “There
were several instances here where Governor Romney was simply
dishonest…I think the president was taken aback last time by the
audacity of Governor Romney — his willingness to back away from his
proposals….and that’s what you saw tonight — Governor Romney
backpedaling all night.”
Former New York Governor George Pataki:
“I don’t think Obama was able to explain how his vision as to how things
would be different to fix a broken economy…it was another good night
for Governor Romney.,,The key here is substance. I think the president
failed to explain in
detail how he would improve the economy and move the country forward.”
New York Congressman Pete King: “Governor Romney clearly won it.”
New York Senator Chuck Schumer: “Mitt Romney grew weaker and weaker and got more flummoxed as the debate went by.”
Regardless of who won the debate, both candidates can hold their heads high — neither was straight-up ditched by a bunch of college Republicans.