CNN’s political reporter discusses capital’s gridlock
Published: Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Updated: Tuesday, September 20, 2011 04:09
CNN senior political reporter Candy Crowley spoke about the effect of political rhetoric on the national conversation and her hopes for the American political future during a speech Monday in Mitchell Hall.
Crowley, who kicked off the Center for Political Communication's 2011 National Agenda lecture series, said the current gridlock in Washington, D.C. is caused by a lack of commonality between
Democrats and Republicans, the 24-hour news cycle and the anonymity of the Internet as causes of political gridlock.
"In terms of pure vitriol, this is the worst I've ever seen," Crowley said.
The absence of understanding between Washington politicians leads to less compromise and more frustrations for the American people, Crowley said. She said politicians rarely come together in a truly bipartisan manner anymore.
"I think what we have in Washington is a failure to understand," Crowley said. "No one gets where the other guy is coming from, nor do they want to get it."
According to Crowley, the continuous news cycle also puts significant pressure on politicians to be the first to make a statement about a particular hot-button issue, one that is quick and colorful enough to get the media's attention.
"The first guy to get to the camera wins," she said. "In a city that revolves around power, I think every day is a violation of your mother's rule to think before you speak."
Crowley also discussed how anonymous comments on Internet webpages have coarsened American language and allowed people to be easily manipulated. Although Crowley's speech focused on many negative aspects of American politics, she said people should still have hope for the country, and that Congress is trying to improve the country.
"The parts are better than the whole," she said. "By and large, these are people who come to Washington wanting to help."
Crowley said she understood that some Americans are dissatisfied with the Obama administration but believes the president could win reelection because many voters want him to succeed and he inspires hope in some of the electorate.
"He is still a strong motivator. There's a lot vested in this president, more so than any president in the past," Crowley said "It carries him to a certain point."
However, she said his reelection will depend heavily on the country's economic condition this time next year. Although she said she cannot predict who will win the Republican primary or the general election in 2012, she promised the audience she would come back in a year and tell them exactly who was going to win.
Some students, such as freshman Lauren Mick, said Crowley was very down-to-earth and her talk felt more like a conversation than a speech.
"I loved her speech," Mick said. "It was really insightful into how our political system works and how there is still hope for us yet."
Freshman Zack Baum said he found Crowley to be rational and easily approachable, and took a picture with her following her speech. He did, however, say that part of her talk seemed hypocritical.
"I do think there's a little hypocrisy there because some of the problems she talks about come mainly from her industry, though not necessarily from her," Baum said. "Many would cite the news networks like Fox, MSNBC and maybe even CNN as leading to the divide she talked about."