Skip to comments.Who really won the Ann Coulter-Peter Beinart debate at Tufts University?
Posted on 03/14/2005 7:53:10 PM PST by rface
...she opened with a statement referring to Clinton as a "horny hick." Such spiteful and subjective comments brought laughter from the audience but did nothing to strengthen her opposing argument......I went home that night and tore my Bush-Cheney sticker off my door, and took my Bush "Taking America forward" pin off my bulletin board. I no longer consider myself a Republican, or even a conservative
Wednesday's (March 9th) intellectual exchange between Ann Coulter and Peter Beinart was both stimulating and disappointing, but above all, it was quite unsettling.
Both candidates had significant strengths, and they were surely worthy opponents. And it is always a privilege to witness such free exchange of discourse. However, while the debate was feisty and witty, I was left with an overall disturbing sense of deep hatred and political regression.
Beinart, editor of The New Republic (liberal), relied on many facts, figures and statistics, giving his argument an objective strength. Coulter did not respond with as many tangible figures, weakening her position. Beinhart's weakness, however, lay in his inability to keep the argument impersonal. He directed numerous insults at Coulter, most of which were completely irrelevant to the discussion topic.
This reflected the greatest strength of Coulter. She began her opening statements with praise for Beinart. She lauded him as a worthy opponent, a future leader of his party, and a man of great intellect. Beinart did no such thing. Coulter maintained her composure upon the assailment of numerous attacks and withheld from personal retorts completely. In one of her earlier books, "Slander," Coulter argues that liberals cannot debate without using personal insult as a tool, and Beinart certainly proved her point. She prevailed, in my opinion, as the classier of the two in her ability to maintain the purity of the debate without stooping to personally insult her fellow debater.
However, although Coulter was able to abstain from attacking Beinart, she was unable to debate without using vindictive commentary about others. In response to Beinart's factual discussion of Bill Clinton's presidency and what made it so great, she opened with a statement referring to Clinton as a "horny hick." Such spiteful and subjective comments brought laughter from the audience but did nothing to strengthen her opposing argument.
The lesson that both debaters desperately need to learn is that the very essence of debate is objectivity. The purpose of debate is to match facts, reason, and logic to find the ultimate truth that lies within the framework of the debate topic. It is not about who can coin the wittiest one-liners or appeal emotionally to the most people. It is certainly not about who can draw the most laughter or the loudest applause from the audience. The exchange between the two arguers was entertaining, but fell quite short of debate. The atmosphere in Cabot was that of a show, not a serious discussion.
What was most disappointing and indeed quite disturbing was the reaction of the Tufts audience. There was booing and shouting. Afterwards, I overheard a girl say that "people like her [Coulter] should not be allowed to write books," and the comment was received with emphatic agreement. Albeit a comment made in jest, the feeling of hatred in the debate room made it eerie and made my night walk home much darker.
Another girl made a profanity-laden statement that Coulter is a "neo-nazi." I would challenge her to think more carefully about what exactly neo-nazism entails, and when and where exactly Coulter has fit that highly offensive profile before being so boldly accusatory.
Finally, I heard Coulter referred to as a "nutcase" more than once. If that is true, then she is certainly a nutcase in high demand with several popular books, and one who can gracefully hold her own in a room full of hate.
Above all, this debate cast a shadow on my vision of America's political future. While I fully embrace the freedom of discourse and encourage it wholeheartedly, I believe these highly partisan debates can bring nothing but regression. They breed hate and further solidify political schisms. They make people cry out for censorship. They work in no way towards understanding. How much longer can America stand if its most educated citizens are so deeply divided by misunderstanding and hate?
Every great power has unknowingly induced its own demise. My fear is that Abraham Lincoln has already foreseen ours with his statement that "a house divided against itself cannot stand." My genuine plea to fellow believers in the human mind is to throw off self-righteous mantles of partisanship and to work instead towards a more progressive dialogue. Let us make Tufts a birthplace of objective communication in a world of such disarray. Objectivity is the human's only key to truth and provides the only framework within real progress can be sought.
I went home that night and tore my Bush-Cheney sticker off my door, and took my Bush "Taking America forward" pin off my bulletin board. I no longer consider myself a Republican, or even a conservative. From this day forward I choose the path of true progress. Consider me an objectivist.
Ashley Samelson is a sophomore who has yet to declare a major.
Sorry, I'm not buying it.
A real Republican or a real conservative would never be driven away by a commentator they have disagreement with. I'm not a big fan of Coulter myself. Sometimes I like what she has to say, other times decisively not. I haven't picked up my toys and headed home.
The Republican Party is not defined solely by one member among millions. The conservative movement is not even defined by a person, but an ideology. If she had really been either she'd never break ties over a disagreement of style with Coulter.
you have found my truest weakness ..... the name "Ashley". You have looked at the evidence and have found me out. I am a softy for the name "Ashley". It is true. I have, now, face the truth. Ashley is not a conservative - no matter how bad I want her to be.
Hee-hee. We haven't had such insights since Amy Carter, at 12, gave us her opinions on nuclear weapons.
She knows she can get some quality sleep during those monologues.
"OK - so I am gullible and I want to give a pretty name the benefit of the doubt"
I just have a hard time believing that she could see one bad debate and throw her ideals away because of it. After all Bush and the republicans did nothing in this debate yet she takes it out on them. I'm not Coulters biggest fan either but that won't cause me to attack republicans.
Spoken like a lyin democrat skank...
Never happened.. Ann must've got her GOOD... To bring out this much of a vindictive smoke screen..
settle down there Marine
Hey... at least she called him a Horney hick and not something else.
"How else would one characterize Bill Clinton?"
What was the song phrase? "Let me count the ways" - was that it? Perjurer, Conspirator, Murderer, Rapist, Thief, Coke addict, and on and on.
The sophomoric writer of the article was never a Republican or conservative.
She is a liar, though.
(in my best whiny college objectivist (cough) voice:
"When Bush went into Iraq, I was with him, no matter the cost in blood or treasure, which was considerable--thousands dead, billions spent. Ditto Afghanistan. When the deficit went up, when he spent millions on education at the federal level, when he launched a huge medical entitlement, he was still my president! When rumors flew about drug and alcohol abuse, military service, I was still with him. When he put a hardliner in as UN rep, I was with him all the way!
"But then Ann Coulter made a lame crack about Clinton while debating a guy even I admit was mostly slinging personal insults--THAT WAS GOING TOO FAR! Goodbye, GOP!"
Yeah, sounds perfectly believable to me. (eyes roll)
After she scraped off her Kerry/Edwards sticker on top of it.
"Republicans for Churchill"
Your instincts were correct.
I happened to see on FoxNews, that they investigated and those who held the sign were lifelong Democrat activists.
I am not making it up, FoxNews had a segment on them.
The author was not so much disillusioned with conservatism as with partisanship. I think she has a point. I do not see how we can meet "in the middle", which is required for a republic to go forward.
However, where she misses the boat, and it can be forgiven seeing that she is in a university setting, is failing to realize that George Bush won BIG! If people were actually fed the truth by the MSM, he would have won BIGGER! In other words, the people who espouse liberalism are truly in the minority and really don't have to be accommodated.
I bet this "objectivist" has never even read Rand.
If she were really looking for an intellectual debate, you would think she would be smart enough to realize that that is more the realm of VDH......
Bingo!!! You nailed it!
If that is true, it must be way past your bedtime---don't forget your blanket and teddy bear....
Hey, Ashley...G.F.Y., which I suspect you do frequently.