You're probably familiar by now with the trifecta of tragicomic outbursts from the last three Republican debates: cheering for Rick Perry's 234 executions, cheering for uninsured sick people to die, and booing a gay soldier. So what terrible thing will happen at tonight's Washington Post/Bloomberg debate from Hanover, New Hampshire? Nothing, if the Dartmouth's powerhouse newspaper editorial board has anything to do with it!
The opinionisti at Dartmouth's student paper, The Dartmouth, have written a stern editorial urging debate attendees to not be dumb and shouty. The good standing and sterling reputation of Dartmouth College, home of mascot Keggy the Keg, is on the line here, they explain:
The College's presidential debate will effectively function as our school's "close up" - our moment of greatest national visibility in the forseeable future. Murmurs of student plans to disrupt the debate are therefore highly troubling. It would be an enormous black eye for the College and a damning indictment of our maturity and political culture if Dartmouth's debate were to be characterized by another inappropriate outburst, no matter its ideological origin.
Instead of engaging in childish heckling during certain candidates' replies, students should harness their informed opinions into other, more meaningful channels. In the days surrounding the debate, we will have the opportunity to participate in scholastic conversations that are actually conducive to making sense of the candidates' policies and political records, such as the pre-debate "Leading Voices: What's at Stake in the Republican Debate" panel moderated by political journalist and College Trustee Morton Kondracke '60.
As students, we especially should recognize the value of ideas over antics, of rebuttals over ruckus. We owe it to the College to be gracious hosts and thoughtful participants in a vital part of our political process.
Yeah yeah yeah. Sure thing, Grandpa. "Scholastic conversations," that's all. (PSST, DARTMOUTH PEOPLE: Who's got a good shout ready for the debate segment about, say, Mexicans? You should be practicing right now!)
But a finger-wagging from the school paper won't be the only safeguard put in place to prevent local sociopathic morons from loudly mouth-farting. Other elitist measures have been taken. Via Politico:
Of the approximately 860 tickets, Dartmouth was allotted 40 percent, while the rest were distributed between Bloomberg, the Washington Post and the campaigns. The school distributed its tickets to students and local community members through a lottery after inviting faculty members and local dignitaries. They're non-transferable, college spokesman Justin Anderson said, which should stop uninvited troublemakers from getting into Spaulding Auditorium.
That's a contrast to the Orlando debate, where most of the more than 5,000 people paid for their seats, according to Brian Hughes, a Republican Party of Florida spokesman. At the Tampa debate the week before, the Tea Party Express distributed the 1,200 tickets through local tea party organizations.
How do you like that, Tea Partiers? The debate organizers think that you're more likely to be annoying than Dartmouth students.
[Image of Keggy the Keg via Wikipedia]