Former Governor of Vermont, Howard Dean, hosted by the College Democrats, joined former Press Secretary and former WH Easter Bunny Sean Spicer, hosted by the College Republicans, for the annual Great Debate to discuss Media and its influence on politics.
Surprisingly, there was not much of a debate to be had. Spicer and Dean spent the entire hour long debate agreeing with each-other.
Sean Spicer, when asked a question regarding free speech and political polarization, spoke to the idea that journalists are failing to uphold their “code of ethics” in favor of getting a story “first.” Gov. Dean added the comment that individuals often confuse the right to free speech with a freedom from the consequences of speech.
Mr. Spicer spoke to the President’s use of Social Media, describing it as “very effective.” He explained that the corporate media is often irritated by Trump’s use of Social Media, because it means he doesn’t “rely on them” to communicate to the public. Dean agreed largely with Spicer and added that the President “dominates the media.”
When asked a question about the opposing political party’s honesty and candor, both Gov. Dean and Mr. Spicer simply spent the time describing where they believe their own parties are failing, with the former claiming it was time for the DNC to bow out to their rising Diversity coalition, and the latter advising that the GOP must better communicate its core values to younger generations.
The only point of disagreement the entire night was on the topic of partisanship. Mr. Spicer stated that it is important to debate in a healthy political system but that the ability to respectfully get along is also necessary. The Governor stated that partisanship is to blame for the polarization of the country, blaming the primary structure and the radical contingents of both parties for making them inhospitable to moderates of any stripe.
Gov. Dean signaled the standard liberal opposition to the “Citizens United” Supreme Court decision, and Mr. Spicer talked about the poor incentives set by CNN hiring reporters based on who gets into verbal altercations with him.
They agreed on each other’s comments regarding Fake News and shared a laugh about their common experiences being unfairly excoriated by the Media, Spicer referring to his SNL caricature and Dean to his “I Have a Scream” speech.
The exceedingly civil discussion concluded with Gov. Dean and Mr. Spicer giving closing statements of advice to young people in the audience. Spicer gave the typical levelheaded conservative response of “take the time to understand the totality of an issue” and Dean gave the standard radical liberal response of encouraging the mostly liberal audience to run for office as soon as possible, following the modern DNC’s strategy of going all in on diversity and student votes.
Again, this was not much of a “Debate.” It was an establishment liberal and an establishment conservative agreeing about the culture and the media – not much that is “Great” about that.