Monday, January 25, 2010

Dropping the Ball: The College Republicans at George Washington University flinch

Over at the Daily Beast, Meghan McCain recently penned an interesting piece about getting dropped from an event by the George Washington University College Republicans. The GWCR's distanced themselves from her because “Ms. McCain’s views on marriage equality align with neither the Republican Party nor her father’s personal stance." Beyond embarrassingly weak reasoning, and bad politics, it was a poor move kids. You should know better. Debate is healthy, especially in college. Dissent on one issue should never cause you to flinch and cede so much credibility.

The werewolf's inner righteousness manifested during his college years while fighting the good fight against group-think inclined lefty students and myopic school administrators. He's been in the trenches and seen it all. (FYI, if someone's job title has "diversity" in it, their IQ is in the double digits and they are freakin' mean) Some of his favorite collegiate memories include his tenure as Chairman of the Emory College Republicans. Not only did he make great friends, kick liberal butt, learn a fair amount about himself, and how to grow a good organization, but he came to appreciate how valuable input from multiple perspectives is when building and maintaining an effective organization.

What made the College Republicans so great and effective was our broad membership. We had students who were pro-life, pro-choice, libertarian inclined, proud of their faith, would obsessively quote Hayek and Friedman, interested in articulating or criticizing the War in Iraq, while some just wanted to escape the tired group-think of campus. It was a great a group of students. What united us on Emory's campus wasn't a slavish devotion to the charter of Republican party or some concept of ideological purity among our ranks. (Granted we publicly supported the Republican party, which was blasphemous to some and therefore added to the thrill of dissent) Students who didn't like it, bailed. Our value proposition was a combination of rejecting the burdensome and oppressive politically correct culture at Emory, attempting to act as a force of balanced perspective on a macro-level, and frankly, providing a forum for students who felt stifled to come up for air. Along we challenging the status-quo, we hoped that some of these students would appreciate the diversity and tolerance of the College Republicans and that would create a positive association over the long-run. Healthy internal debate was another added benefit of the organization that strengthened it.

There was a heated Republican senate primary in Georgia in 2004. The Emory College Republicans were actively represented in the volunteer ranks on all three campaigns, plus we even had a few kids knocking on doors for the libertarian running. The werewolf would have salivated at an opportunity to co-sponsor an event with an LGBT organization driven by legitimate content that could foster debate. He had the proverbial door slammed on his face multiple times by Emory's Black Student Alliance during his outreach attempts. We had a strict universal policy of pro-active engagement, and would debate anybody, anytime, anywhere.

It saddens the werewolf that the College Republicans at GW are intimidated and scared of a legitimate debate or co-sponsoring something with another group from a different affiliation. Participating in events like those afford an abundance opportunity, and backing down in the manner that they did only serves to discredit and weaken them from an external perspective. Being opposed to gay marriage is an honorable and honest position, and sharing the stage with the advocates of it may give you a perspective to strengthen that position. (The werewolf supports gay marriage, but thinks the leadership of the gay marriage movement are partisan bottom-feeders worthy of scorn) No one is forcing you to change your mind. However, the act of sharing that stage itself speaks volumes about how seriously you take the debate and how comfortable you are with the strength and merits of your own position. Backing down like this was an unwarranted flinch in a game of chicken you should have won. You guys lost this round. The really sad part was that Megan McCain is one of you all.


  1. This unspeakably stupid. Not just on the merits of the marriage-equality issue, but even if I agreed with the GW Republicans' stance I'd be appalled: gay marriage as the new litmus test? Seriously?

  2. Spot on. Wrong issue, bad form, and horrible precedent.