On a night when a principal convention theme was education, the campus of the University of Colorado in Boulder was as good a place as any to gauge reaction. And the students who made up the NPR focus group were forthcoming:
"This is a small snippet of my views on the third day of the Republican
Convention. Mud will never fly, no matter how hard it is slung. Dick
Cheney was slinging pretty hard last night though. His speech was
rousing, and he has wonderful political ability. Yet if the Republican
party wants the new face only a plastic surgeon could give, he needs to
stop slinging and let the Dems play the dirty game with their commercials.
The GOP has made it clear that they want to show themselves off as the
party who can stand up to the heat. The best way is not to tell the
female swing vote that they were wrong to elect the Clinton-Gore
administration (a horrible mistake) not once, but twice. The GOP should
show their new face and let people compare them to the stale
administration we have had for the last 8 years. Let the people decide
"Why make it 12?."
Tiffany Johnson, 20, Democrat: "The Republican National Convention tonight showed a little more of the "true
colors" of the party. Tonight was a lot more talk of defense and reminiscing
about the Republican presidents of the past. Bob Dole spoke of the decline
of enrollment in the armed forces, and some even suspected a lack of respect for our country as the reason our youth choose not to enlist. However, I believe the youth of America are cautious of war and all that it means, we have learned from those who fought for our freedom, that they also died and
left family behind...and that at times it left us, as a nation, baffled. The new generation of "fighters" would rather solve America's problems with our
minds rather than our fists and create peace with communication rather than
"Overall, the first night of the GOP Convention left a bad taste in my mouth. As the very few minorities and thousands of white males looked on as they paraded minorities on the stage I felt as though they were insulting my intelligence. Their focus on education was fairly middle of the road, up until Colin Powell’s closing speech where he wavered between Hillary Clinton’s ‘It Takes A Village’ theory and school vouchers as being the savior of public education. I was left wondering whether Republican politicians would ever address the issues concerning my generation."
Jennifer Martinez-Moore, 20, Independent: "With the exception of Gen. Powell’s speech, day one of the R.N.C. seemed an endless parade of ‘token minority’ speakers spouting New Republican catch phrases of ‘compassionate conservatism’, interspersed with entertainment of an amusement park nature. As a college student, it was discouraging that nothing was said about higher education, despite the fact education in general was tonight’s topic. In addition, Colin Powell’s dynamic presence overpowered a stiff George W. Bush. I, as a Latina, was both impressed and surprised with his pro-Affirmative Action stance."
Elizabeth Schamu, 21, Democrat:
"As the second night of the RNC came to a close a more familiar image of
the Republican party appeared. The topic of "better" defense was on the
tip of every speakers tongue. Seeing as there is no real threat on the
United States I see no reason why we need more in the area of defense.
From a liberal perspective I believe this is a waste of tax payers valuable money. After last night the Republican party is starting to show it's true colors."
"After the majority of the night was spent on the issue of Education, the first night of the RNC was off and running. While attempting to focus on the lighter side of the Republican image speakers spoke of the plusses of school vouchers. As a product of a public magnet school in San Diego, California, I do not agree that vouchers are the only way to foster greater education. I know first hand how beneficial public schools can be when the community, city and state work together to make a good school a reality. If vouchers were a reality when my magnet school began it would have never succeeded in becoming a driving force in the lives of so many students."
Dylan Wiersma-Green, 21: "Ah… if only Colin Powell was running as the Republican candidate. He appeals to both sides of the political spectrum. His push for affirmative action was unexpected and refreshing. I loved the baffled faces of GOP leaders during this part of Powell’s speech. His challenge to the Drug War intrigued me, but his falling back on the ineffective "Just Say No" campaign provided little answers. The rest of the RNC Monday was fluff. Laura Bush failed to say anything important except how wonderful her husband was. The promising pop culture tie-in of "Win Ben Stein’s Money," collapsed into a feeble promotion of George W. Every attempt to appeal to the youth was dismal and poorly executed."
Pete DeCamillis, 20, Democrat: "I was concerned with the lack of attention paid to higher education funding. With the focus of tonight on education it was disappointing to see that higher education was essentially passed over in favor of K-12 education. It may not be surprising when one looks at the voter turnout among college students as those opposed to the parents of K-12 students."
Anthony Goodman, 20, Democrat: "The GOP Convention is unfortunately a representation of the poor state of modern American politics, all show and no substance. The carefully scripted convention is nothing more than a rallying of the troops. Decisions are left to the elites and delegates have little power, i.e. the anti-abortion plank in the platform. Laura Bush reminded me of a 1950’s wife that stands behind her man.
"The only exciting part of the convention occurred at the end of the evening’s lineup with Gen. Colin Powell and his surprisingly moderate message. The GOP has become increasingly moderate in it portrayal to the public. In only four short years the Republican Platform went from advocating for the abolishing the Department of Education to highlighting it the first night of the convention. The evening was uneventful, superficial, and did not reach out to youth voters in the least."