Suffolk GOP and Dems go at it in heated debate

Article By: Jeff Fishparty_headbutt

Members of the Suffolk GOP and Suffolk Democrats clubs sparred over a series of issues last Wednesday, in an event sponsored by the Suffolk Political Science Association (SPSA) that included rigorous debate between Karl Hoffman, 2011 and Jim Wilson, 2010 of the Suffolk GOP and Kris Callahan, 2011 and Tino Capobianco, 2011 of the Suffolk Democrats.

The debate, which was moderated by former Mass. State Senate President William Bulger, started with the topic of global warming. The Republicans and Democrats were able to find common ground when asked if they support the $900 million Cape Wind project, which would build a windmill farm off the coast of Cape Cod.

“Alternative energy is important, windmills operate extremely efficiently,” said Hoffman, who pointed out that Democrats like Patrick and Ted Kennedy were opposed to it because it is bad for the environment. “[The windmills] would actually provide artificial reefs for aquatic animals.”

Wilson cited that another reason the Kennedy’s and many who live on the Cape are opposed to the project is because it would block the view. He compared the view of the windmills to a person holding their thumbs out to the water. “If anyone thinks [the windmills would] block the view, they need to get their eyes checked.”

Both Democrats also support Cape Wind and Capobianco acknowledged that he disagreed with Ted Kennedy on that position.

The next topic up for debate was abortion and whether it should be in the current healthcare bill.

“If Republicans want to say they’re for personal liberty, then how can they tell women what to do with their bodies?” said Callahan, referring to the widely pro-life stance that many Republicans have.

Wilson, however, described himself as pro-choice, but said that abortion is ultimately up for the states to decide and that federal money should not be able to fund abortions.
Callahan and Capobianco said that abortion will not be included in the healthcare bill. “It’s not going to happen,” said Capobianco. “Healthcare is something we need to have done. It isn’t a political issue, it’s an American issue.”

The debate became more heated when the topic of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were brought to the table, starting when Bulger asked, “Should Obama set preconditions regarding women’s rights with the Taliban?” Women’s rights were never actually discussed.

“We are fighting a war we cannot win,” said Capobianco. “I oppose a troop increase in Afghanistan and the war should have ended yesterday.”

Hoffman, on the other hand, supports a troop surge in Afghanistan. “Talks at this point are worthless. There are barely enough troops to keep Afghans safe.”

The two members from each club argued on the topic back and forth until Bulger switched the topic to the economy. “Should Congress be forcing private companies to bail out competitors?”

“The theory’s atrocious,” said Wilson. “America was founded on hard working people. Successful companies shouldn’t bail out failing companies.” He also said the notion that the recession was caused by the savings and loans scandal was “bullshit.”

Wilson also talked about how a bill under Reagan, which was “passed with overwhelming support in a Democratic Congress,” was criticized for repealing a lot of the New Deal. He called the criticisms “bullshit.”

The profanities were met with laughter from the audience and Bulger asking Wilson if he took and English as a Second language class.

“That’s a typical Republican response to use bad language,” said Callahan, who also thought that failing companies should not be bailed out. He also said that Reagan was to blame for a lot of the recent problems because he raised the national debt by 40 percent. “The Democrats are always cleaning up after Republicans.”

The rest of the debate consisted of rapid back and forth arguments between the Democrats and Republicans.

When global warming was brought up again, Wilson said that it is “just another way for the government to control us.” Wilson said that rather than warming, the Earth goes through periods of ten year cycles of warming and cooling.

Callahan suggested that everything causes global warming, even breathing. “Does that mean we should stop breathing?” asked Bulger sarcastically.

After the formal debate ended, there was a ten minute Q and A session, which primarily focused on guns when a student asked if there should be a federal law that allows citizens to carry guns.

This left the Democrats calling for stricter gun control, namely a license to buy bullets and longer waiting periods, while the Republicans argued that laws would only keep guns out of the hands of law abiding citizens and that criminals would still obtain them.

“That doctor would not have lived if that off-duty security guard hadn’t saved her,” said Hoffman, referring to the MGH shooting in which an off-duty security officer shot and killed a psychiatric patient that was repeatedly stabbing his doctor.

After the debate ended, SPSA President Jeff Cyr, 2010 said, “I thought the debate was a success. We had a great turnout and I’m glad that President Bulger was able to be our moderator.”