“Bush or Kerry? A Debate with Dinesh D’Souza and George Marcus” is the title of tonight’s debate. Why is this pathetic?

1) Not because the College has invited a prominent outsider to campus. Even though such speakers cost money, it is good for the College to bring them to Williamstown. It is also nice to see speakers from a range of ideological viewpoints.

2) Not because Professor Marcus is participating. It is good to see professors take an active role in campus dialogue. Marcus deserves credit for taking the time and trouble to participate in a public forum.

Answer: Because the College couldn’t find — or didn’t try to find — a conservative faculty member to debate Marcus. It is fine to bring in two outsiders for a debate. It is fine to have two professors debate. It is suspect to bring in an outsider to debate a professor.

Although I hope that I am wrong in drawing this inference [knowledgeable readers with better information are invited to comment], I can’t help but conclude that there is no faculty member at Williams who a) Plans to vote for Bush and b) Is willing to debate George Marcus on the topic. Given the political donation patterns of the faculty, this is hardly surprising.

So, what is to be done in the short term? What other choice did the Gaudino folks — sponsors of tonight debate — have to importing a conservative so that someone over the age of 22 might publically support Bush? Easy. They could have invited an alum, prominent or otherwise. There are many conservative Ephs who would relish such an opportunity, who would even pay their own expenses.

The homepage for the Gaudino Memorial Fund seems somewhat orphaned. If anyone knows who these sorts of suggestions/rants should be sent to, please pass them along.

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