Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
Congressman Curt Weldon of PennsylvaniaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s 7th district (the district containing the College) came to Swarthmore yesterday. While he endorsed President Bush, he also spoke at length on the need for students to choose their candidate without being influenced by potentially biased professors.
WeldonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s arrival was delayed for about half an hour. Joe Conley, a member of his campaign staff, explained that “itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a very busy time of year for. His race is pretty secure, but heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s been doing a lot of work for Bush and the other candidates.” Once Weldon arrived, Maria Macia Ã¢â‚¬â„¢07, President of the College Republicans, made a brief introduction and Weldon took the floor.
He began by describing some of the work he does both as a member of Congress and as a teacher at Drexel University. In Congress, he mainly deals in foreign policy and has used his ability to speak Russian and interest in foreign affairs to become one of AmericaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s leading liaisons to Russia. Much of WeldonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s speech consisted of accounts of some of his 38 visits to Russia as well as representing America while visiting other countries. He often spoke of displeasure towards members of the executive branch. The current administration was blasted for trying to prevent Weldon from having a diplomatic meeting with some North Koreans, and the Clinton administration was criticized for failing to enforce the terms of disarmament treaties with Russia after it was shown that Russia was selling the technology that is now used to make weapons of mass destruction to terrorists.
Weldon stated near the end of his talk that national security was the most important issue of this election and his speech clearly bore that out. He spoke with passion on the key issues of foreign policy, asserting that the invasion of Iraq was justified because of the numerous ghastly human rights violations committed by Saddam Hussein and the refusal of Iraq to comply with 17 United Nations resolutions. The invasion of Iraq was compared to our bombing of Serbia during the Clinton administration and found to be much more justifiable on all grounds. Throughout his speech, Weldon took great care to note the bipartisan nature of his overseas efforts, noting that he has worked extensively with Dennis Kucinich and always brings Democrats on his diplomatic missions.
To close, Weldon restated his main thesis and endorsed our sitting president. “George Bush may not be a great debater or speaker,” he said, “but he knows who he is.” He also noted that while he may not agree with Bush on all issues, he believes that national security is the most important issue and Bush is the best man to keep our country safe. A spirited question-and-answer period followed, as the Swarthmore Democrat majority disputed some of WeldonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s assertions and tried to turn the discussion towards domestic issues such as the economy and gay rights.
For more information on Curt Weldon, visit www.curtweldon.org