Proxy Debate brings the facts to politically interested students

The real deal won’t be coming to campus until later this month, but the Council for Democracy held a debate of its own last Thursday. University of Miami’s College Republican Chairman Scott Wacholtz filled in for President Bush, and UM Young Democrats President Luke Kosar represented challenger John Kerry. The subject of the proxy debate was “Bush. Kerry. Is There a Difference?”

“The focus of the event, like all Council for Democracy events, is to try and get the students intimately involved with the political events on campus,” said Council for Democracy President Edward Martos, who moderated the event.

The debaters were initially given four questions chosen by the council and were each allowed to share their candidate’s views on the issue. The questions dealt with the current preoccupation with the candidates’ service during the Vietnam War, funding for college tuition, the national deficit, and the war in Iraq.

The spectators occupied all available seating in the I-Lounge and got to submit their own questions as well. Their questions addressed a wide range of issues from hot topics like gay marriage to less talked about issues like aid to Africa.

Most of the students who attended were members of either Wacholtz’s or Kosar’s groups, and most had a healthy interest in politics.

“I’m pretty set in who I’m going to vote for, but you’re always learning,” Christy Matelis, freshman, said.

“I think many [spectators] were decided,” Martos said. “But I hope that events like these can change minds in either direction based on some solid facts.”

Both debaters knew their candidates’ positions well, especially when it came to the ongoing military actions in Iraq.

“The reason why we are in Iraq is because it’s a crucial front in the war on terror,” Wacholtz said.

He then called the Democrats the “Party of September 11,” and the Republicans the “Party of September 12.”

“There’s absolutely no reason for us being in Iraq,” Kosar said.

According to Kosar, war in Iraq is diverting funds and attention from more important steps to defeat terrorism, including dealing with North Korea.

Wacholtz and Kosar agreed it was easy to represent their candidates because for the most part they believe in their platforms.

“Most of the views of John Kerry are my personal views,” Kosar said.

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Kyle Munzenrieder can be contacted at