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4 - Friday, March 22, 2013

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

4- Friday, March 22, 2013 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom

Mhe Midigan 3allm

A Republican critique

Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
tothedaily@michigandaily.com
MELANIE KRUVELIS
and ADRIENNE ROBERTS MATT SLOVIN
EDITORIAL PAGE EDITORS MANAGING EDITOR

ANDREW WEINER
EDITOR IN CHIEF

Unsigned editorials reflect the official position of the Daily's editorial board.
All other signed articles and illustrations represent solely the views of their authors.
Give students asay
Selecting commencement speakers should be more inclusive
Trending news on campus is the announcement of the 2013
commencement speaker, Twitter CEO Dick Costolo. A gradu-
ate of the University with a degree in computer science, Cos-
tolo was invited to speak on May 4 by University President Mary Sue
Coleman. The selection of a new commencement speaker during Cen-
tral Student Government election season brings an important issue to
light: Students don't have an adequate say in deciding who the com-
mencement speaker will be. Regardless of the method it chooses, the
University should give students a more active role in choosing their

n Monday, a breath of fresh
air was blown into the
Republican Party with the
release of a new
mandate call-
ing for dramatic
reforms. The
Growth and
Opportunity
Project provided
a harsh, but
realistic, critique TIMOTHY
ofmanyissues BURROUGHS
that led to Mitt
Romney's failed
presidential cam-
paign. It focused on effective com-
munication of the party's platform
while avoiding any serious discus-
sion of changes in policy. When I
spoke with Ari Fleischer, co-author
of the report and press secretary
under former President George W.
Bush, said, "If you are goingto be a
growing, vibrant party, you need to
be able to learnfrom your mistakes."
The Democrats met the 2008
election with an open mind and pio-
neered social media campaigning. In
contrast, Republicans have consis-
tently been playing catch-up - using
Reagan-era rhetoric and appealing
to a consistently shrinking audience.
The report points out that Republi-
cans have lost five of the last six pres-
idential popular elections.
"The numbers speak for them-
selves," said Fleischer. "Republi-
cans need to be more inviting and
inclusive about what it means to be
a conservative."
The report stresses the impor-
tance of establishing a much stron-
ger youth base for future success.
Fleischer explained, "You get the
sense that young people think the
Republican Party is too old, too white
and too wealthy and that it is not a
home for them. Republicans need to
listen and welcome young people into
the party."
Getting this group engaged clearly
needs to be the party's top priority.

By motivating students, Republicans
create the next generation of party
members while bringing energy and
innovation to current campaigns.
Tea Party leaders have already
condemned the report. Jenny Beth
Martin, a co-founder of the Tea
Party Patriots, released a statement
saying we "don't need an 'autopsy'
report from RNC to know they
failed to promote our principles and
lost because of it." Other far-right
conservatives, such as radio host
Rush Limbaugh, have criticized the
report for making the party appear
weak and calling for unnecessary
reforms of Republican protocols.
This arrogance and resistance to
change has led to the major decline
in the Republican Party's influence
at the federal level. Its stubbornness
has caused voters to see Republicans
as outdated and unable to evolve.
Fleischer explained, "America is
changing. It's less white than it used
to be and more diverse than it used to
be. Republicans have to have policies
that are conservative and appeal to a
growingslice of the electorate."
Following the November cam-
paign, many criticized Republican
candidates' single-minded policy
approach. However, Fleischer said,
"We say here (within the commit-
tee) that our standards should not
be ideological purity, but invite
conservatism that recognizes if
someone disagrees with us on 20
percent of the issues, that doesn't
make them a 100-percent enemy, it
makes them an 80-percent friend."
A positive step came recently
when Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio)
announced that he supported gay
marriage after reevaluating his
views. The true strength of party
was apparent as many claimed,
that while they might not agree
with Portman, they respected him
and testified that he's still a good
Republican. Fleischer commented
that this is an example of how the
party really is a "big tent," where

many can feel welcome.
While the report outlines a stra-
tegic path to grow and strengthen
the GOP, the party is still far from
the White House. Following a presi-
dential term filled with unfulfilled
promises and continued economic
woes, noconservative candidate was
able to separate himself through the
primary process and defeat Barack
Obama. Additionally, many Republi-
cans, ranging from Tea Party mem-
bers to moderates, lost Senate and
House races that appeared to be
locks. Fleischer and the committee's
plan only works as well as its imple-
mentation, which will take signifi-
cant effort and funds. However, the
message and ideas are clearly there
to rejuvenate the party - its success
just depends on the party's willing-
ness to join the 21st century.
Their success just
depends on their
willingness to join
the 21st century.
With party leaders such as House
Majority Leader Eric Cantor and
former House speaker Newt Gin-
grich applauding the report as a
great first step, the future is bright
for the Republican Party. Clearly,
there are significantissues that need
addressing, but the platform and
principles appear as strong as ever.
Inclusivity and innovation could be
just the kick-starts the party needs.
If the party can become one of a
broader base by preaching accep-
tance, the Republicans will gain the
added boost they need to retake the
White House in 2016.
- Timothy Burroughs can be
reached at timburr@umich.edu.

commencement speaker.
Commencementspeakers are chosen by the
Honorary Degree Committee. The commit-
tee is led by Coleman, and only two students
serve on the committee. There's an online
selection form that students can fill out and
send into the committee, but ultimately, the
committee makes the final decision. Also, the
speaker must be eligible to receive an honor-
ary degree from the University. Recent com-
mencement speakers include Sanjay Gupta,
Governor Rick Snyder and President Barack
Obama. There are, however, several faults
with this process. The option to submit a
request for a speaker isn't publicized well
enough, so students don't even know they can
influence the decision. The two students who
do get on the committee can't possibly speak
for the entire student body. Plus, one student
submitting a form has much less influence
than deans or higher-level officials. The com-
mittee must allow students to participate ina
broader and more unified way.
The lack of a student voice can lead to
conflict over the speaker. In 2011, when Sny-
der was selected to give the commencement
address, students protested the choice by
signing a petition and protesting a Board of
Regents' meeting. Students were upset that
he had recently cut 15 percent of the state's
higher-education funding, yet they barely had

a voice to choose someone else whom they
preferred. The Honorary Degree Commit-
tee must concede its power over choosing the
speakers, and students should be able to have a
strong influence on the process.
Finally, CSG candidates must have a stance
on this issue. Past CSG Presidents have prom-
ised to secure more student involvement in the
selection process, but they've failed to keep
those promises. CSG candidates can look to
other schools for ideas. For example, Syracuse
University has an online form open a year in
advance. An all-student committee organizes
every student submission, trimming it down
to a short list they send to the chancellor, who
makes the final decision based on availabil-
ity and cost, but overall, students are more
involved in the process.
The selection of commencement speakers
must be expanded to include the student voice.
The speech, after all, is meant for the students,
and the speaker is there to deliver an inspiring
message to the graduating class. The Univer-
sity needs to publicize the process of selecting
a speaker, and it could even create a shortlist
of eligible speakers for the students to vote
on. By making students valuable participants
in this process, the University can ensure that
the speaker, in some sense, is the voice of the
student body.

EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBERS
Kaan Avdan, Sharik Bashir, Barry Belmont, Eli Cahan, Jesse Klein, Melanie Kruvelis, Maura Levine,
Patrick Maillet, Aarica Marsh, Megan McDonald, Jasmine McNenny, Harsha Nahata,
Adrienne Roberts, Paul ShermanSarah Skaluba,Michael Spaeth, Luchen Wang, Derek Wolfe
Out o touch and outdated

LAURA HOBBSI D
Sustainable divestment

On Wednesday, representatives of the LSA
Student Government voted overwhelmingly
in favor of a resolution supporting divestment
from fossil-fuel-industry financial assets.
Unfortunately, just one day earlier, the Cen-
tral Student Government failed to pass the
same resolution.
This failure highlights a serious contra-
diction here at our University. Michigan is a
leader in climate change research and sus-
tainability. Yet, the University directly invests
in the industry most responsible for the rapid
rate at which our climate is changing. Stu-
dents can't stand for this.
"If it's wrong to wreck the climate, it's
wrong to profit from that wreckage," as Bill
McKibben, an environmentalist and journal-
ist, has said. Divestment from fossil fuels is
a concrete step toward moving beyond fossil
fuels both here and on Capitol Hill. It sends a
clear message that we will not be passive sup-
porters of the status quo any longer.
The University is at the forefront of climate
science research, with 667 faculty members
across 13 schools and colleges all focusing on
sustainability. Furthermore, the administra-
tion has increased its funding for sustainabil-
ity research by 200 percent since 2003.
Student organizations are also at the fore-
front of campaigning for change. Histori-
cally, CSG has played an important role in the
sustainability movement on campus. They
have supported a number of issues for public
transportation and water-bottle refill sta-
tions. However, these steps are not enough.
The students here at the University want to
see systemic changes in the way we produce
and consume energy and a resolution in favor

of divestment.
A tentative analysis of university invest-
ments (pending further disclosure) shows at
least $900 million invested in the fossil fuel
industry. This nearly billion-dollar invest-
ment completely contradicts the University's
commitment to climate science. Let's use our
University's endowment, and the endow-
ments of other universities, to support solu-
tions to the crisis, and not add to the problem.
As a first step, the University must disclose all
current investments in the fossil fuel industry,
then move to divest. It's imperative that both
the University administration and CSG take a
stand for this. Furthermore, they should sup-
port more investment in sustainable sciences,
technologies and economic ventures.
As students and faculty members of this
great university, we cannot stand idly by and
indirectly support fossil fuel investments.
Our campaign asks that you get informed
on the issue, start a dialogue and show your
representatives how you feel about the issue.
Let's work to align our University's invest-
ments with its core values.
This is the time to speak up. These student
leaders represent us. Show your support for
divestment by visiting our website (dives-
tUM.org), signing the petition, volunteer-
ing with the campaign, signing your student
organization as a coalition partner and/or
voting next week for CSG candidates who
strongly support sustainability and want to
move forward with divestment, such many
candidates running on the forUM platform.
Take a stand, Michigan.
Laura Hobbs is an LSA freshman.

f I were a Republican, I would
be very concerned for the
future of my party. I would
question how
my party has
forgotten the
core elements b
that once made
it so appealing.
Presently, being
conservative and
being Republi-
can can mean PATRICK
two entirely dif- MAILLET
ferent things.
What hap-
pened to the party that stood firmly
upon the one core concept that the
government should stay out of peo-
ple's lives as much as possible?
This core concept has been com-
pletely disregarded by the GOP in
their vehement opposition to gay
marriage. Beyond party platform,
opposition to gay marriage has
become a reckless political agenda.
A 2012 Gallup Poll shows that 53
percent of Americans support the
legalization of same-sex marriage.
More alarming to the GOP though,
is that 73 percent of members of the
18- to 29-year-old demographic sup-
port same-sex marriage. Aside from
the complete hypocrisy of a "conser-
vative" believing that the govern-
ment can tell someone whom they
are allowed to love, the GOP's anti-
gay stance is one that will hurt them
in coming elections.
If I were a Republican, I would
question why a party founded
on staying out of people's lives is
obsessed with controlling the repro-
ductive rights of women. When will
the GOP realize that their war on
women is one that women will inev-
itably win? As we saw in this last
election cycle, it turns out women
actually get upset when prominent
Republicans mention "legitimate
rape," refer to women who defend
their right to take contraception as
"sluts," or promise that, if they were
elected president, they would only
nominate U.S. Supreme Court Jus-
tices who advocate on overturning
Roe v. Wade. Who knew? It's almost

like women actually took a stand to
the concept of a bunch of men tell-
ing them what's best for them and
their uteruses.
Maybe this has something to do
with the gender voting gap in the
presidential election rising from a
12-point difference between men
and women in the 2008 presidential
election to a staggering 18-point dif-
ference in 2012. As if that statistic
wasn't enough, swing states such
as Ohio, New Hampshire and Penn-
sylvania - all states that ensured
Obama's electoral victory - were
the states where the gender gap
was strongest. After all, when the
most well-known female members
of the GOP are Sarah Palin and Rep.
Michelle Bachman, can you really
blame women for running desper-
ately to the left?
The worst part about the GOP's
complete disregard for women in
the 2012 election is that they haven't
done anything to reverse this sui-
cidal trend. Along with countless
Republicans still opposing equal
pay for equal work - and when I say
"countless," I actually mean Repub-
lican senators voted unanimously
against the Paycheck Fairness Act in
2012 - many prominent Republicans
opposed the reauthorization of the
"Violence Against Women Act" last
month. Those Republicans included
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Sen.
Rand Paul (R-Ky.). These men are
widely considered the "rising stars"
of the GOP, and Rubio was even cho-
sen to give the Republican response
to this year's State of the Union. If
one of these men is on the presiden-
tial ticket in 2016, does the GOP real-
lythink womenwillsimplyforgetthe
egregious stances these men possess?
From suppressing voters to pro-
tecting tax cuts for the wealthy,
it's not surprising that the GOP has
gained the reputation of being the
party of rich, white men. Obviously,
this stereotype isn't entirely true,
but can you really blame the Ameri-
can people for giving Republicans
this typecast? After all, when men
like the Koch Brothers and Sheldon
Adelson - the three mega-donors of

the GOP - are treated like royalty
within the party, aren't the aver-
age Americans eventually going
to question where the GOP's alle-
giance lies?
Moderate
Republicans don't
stand a chance in
the GOP primary.
Unfortunately, the solution to
the GOP's grim and outdated future
doesn't seem very attainable. The
problem lies mostly in the ridicu-
lousness of the GOP's primary sys-
tem. As we saw in this past election,
any candidate who can even be con-
sidered for the Republican nomina-
tion has to throw him or herself so
far to the right that once the gener-
al election begins, most moderates
are turned off by the candidate's
radical views. Although candidates
certainly have to prove their liberal
credentials in the Democratic pri-
mary, it's not nearly as damaging as
the Republican counterpart. Due to
this extreme weeding-out process,
any socially moderate Republican
is kept far from ever gaining the
Republican nomination. Repub-
licans such as Jon Huntsman or
New York City Mayor Michael
Bloomberg - two men that would
probably bring in many moder-
ate voters - don't stand a chance
at surviving the grueling process
because Republican primary voters
will chastise any of their socially-
lenient stances.
The RepublicanPartyhasbecome
out of touch and outdated. It needs
to rethink what its core ideals are or
it will continue to lose presidential
elections. Unless it begins to ree-
ognize its faults, the GOP will con-
tinue to ostracize more and more
American voters.
- Patrick Maillet can be
reached at maillet@umich.edu.

L ETTER 1 0 I'L E T O R SEND LETTERS TO: TOTHEDAILY@MICHIGANDAILY.COM

Women don't need special
consideration for to be
commementment speaker

attitude is dang
As a studentc
I have chosen, n
excited to heari
would be comic
demonstrates ei

TO THE DAILY: ceed in leaders
I found Anjali Bisht and Chelsea Jedele's President Mary
viewpoint ( "Where are all the women?", from the next
3/19/13) extremely frustrating. I fundamental- University of I
ly disagree with the idea that, in the year 2013, Ora Pescovitz s
the committee that chooses commencement campus. Ignorir
speakers should take immutable characteris- the world in ter
tics into consideration when making its deci- fications will do
sion. Were the selection committee to choose ments women h
a woman based on statistics, the implicit mes- will to further t
sage would be that women are not worthy
based on their achievements alone. This isn't Nicole Miller
true, and adopting such a backward-looking LSA senior

erous.
of economics - a characteristic
rot one that I can't help - I was
that a successful entrepreneur
ng to campus. Our University
very day that women can suc-
hip. In addition to University
Sue Coleman, female leaders
provost, Martha Pollack, to
Michigan Health System CEO
erve in important roles across
rng this and continuing to view
ms of gender and other classi-
more to set back the advance-
ave made over the years than it
heir cause.

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