But Bob Dole was better. The looming questions that have been weighing on my mind concerning the Republican perspective on recent political events have all been answered. It was a shrewd move on someone's part to get a well-known political face who has been out of politics for 10 years to offer up his opinion on everything from his new book to his good-natured bitterness about not winning the 1996 presidential elections.
While Senator Dole may be past his prime as the rigid - I mean riveting - sex symbol of our Pepsi-loving youth, he proved that his entertainment value was worth its weight in Viagra. "If ya' miss anything, you probably didn't miss anything," he commented, probably knowing well what was to come.
Showing his comprehensive grasp of domestic and foreign affairs, Dole said that he does not, in fact, support building a wall around America to keep out immigrants. He praised the Bush administration's decision to democratize the Middle East, reminding us of Sept. 11 and the progress that has been made in Iraq and Afghanistan, the only two democracies other than "Israel, the only real democracy in the Middle East" (he forgot that Turkey and Palestine are democracies as well).
Referring to his fellow veterans as the Greatest Generation that fought for freedom and justice in World War II, Dole extended his praise to our troops abroad, "Generation X" that safeguards America's interests in world affairs. He labeled our soldiers the new Greatest Generation in an America that doesn't stand for anything, and doesn't make sacrifices. Great Generations are apparently to be defined by wars and the number of troops sent abroad.
"I hope we're not going to go to war with Iran," Senator Dole added. "But they've got this crazy president. I can't pronounce his name Bajabajabaja." I think he meant Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Though Dole appeared to be tiring after 30 minutes of continuous oratory, his speech was firm and supple, supported by limpid arguments that incited the crowd of gathered youths to a randy level of intellectual intoxication.
His shrewd political insights compelled students to ask such hard-hitting questions as: 1) Is there any way we can help to feed the world without pre-emptive strikes? 2) What would make more democracies in the Middle East? 3) What did you want to be when you grew up?
As if still running for office, Dole was careful not to answer questions in a direct or interesting way. In a moment of rare clarity, he did say that "the thing that disappoints me about my party is that they keep spending money," hinting that you can't cut taxes and keep spending at the same time.
Though I am poking fun at Dole and being very critical of his statements, it serves to emphasize the fact that he did not say anything of worth. The Political Awareness Committee brought in a recognizable, affable figure to talk to the students about his past, his book and World War II. None of that is politics.
If in the future we are going to invest large sums of money in speakers, they should be contemporary, interesting and informed. Now it's too late, and I didn't even get to see Britney.
Staff Writer Jared Wall is a senior from Sioux Falls, S.D. He majors in English with a concentration in Middle East studies.