Conservative pundit Jonah Goldberg spoke to the AU College Republicans last night about foreign and domestic policy, as well as the future of the Republican Party.
The speech, which came on the same night as the State of the Union address, often drew laughter from the crowd of roughly 60 people in the University Center.
When Goldberg approached the podium, he said, “If I knew there was going to be a podium, I wouldn’t have worn any pants.” He then proceeded to tell a series of jokes for the next 10 minutes, confessing that although he was booked to talk about President George W. Bush’s State of the Union address, he didn’t want to talk about something that hadn’t happened yet.
Instead, he talked about the differences between conservatives and Republicans. Republicans “are a party,” while being a conservative is to believe “in a philosophy,” Goldberg said. He also took a contrary position on former presidential candidate and Vermont governor Howard Dean, saying that his selection as Democratic National Committee chair would be a bad thing for Republicans.
“When the Democratic Party gets whacked out and moves to the left, that means that the Republican Party also has to move to the left, and while that may be good for Republicans, it’s bad for conservatives,” he said.
Goldberg said he disliked the term “compassionate conservative,” coined in 2000 by then-presidential candidate Bush, and said that he wanted conservatives to be unapologetic about their beliefs. Nonetheless, he predicted that Bush would be seen as an even bigger event-maker than President Ronald Reagan.
“The elections in Iraq were the most important event since the fall of the Berlin Wall,” he said.
In the question-and-answer session, Goldberg fielded questions about media bias, the Iraq war and the death penalty. He said he was tired about talking about media bias because as a media critic, there wasn’t much to debate.
“It’s like being in a room with an 800-pound gorilla eating children, and everyone is looking around saying, ‘I don’t see anything,’” he said. “It’s there and I don’t want to talk about it anymore.”
While he criticized the planning of the Iraq war, saying it was “royally screwed up,” he remained a defender of the decision to overthrow Saddam Hussein. “The left has this weird, unbelievable push that there could only be one reason for going to war. ... It’s like going to a car dealer and buying a car only because it’s red.”
Goldberg ended his speech minutes before the start of the State of the Union address and was immediately swarmed by guests eager to ask him questions.
College Republican President Mike Inganamort called the event a success.
“I thought it was great,” he said. “He was really funny, he gave us some good pointers, and I thought it was an all-around fun time.”