David Horowitz vs. Ward Churchill

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That question lingered above all others for some academics upon learning that David Horowitz, a conservative writer and social activist, would debate Ward Churchill, a professor of ethnic studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder, on Thursday night in Washington about whether politics belong in the classroom.

And many observers were still asking the same question after the relatively substance-free debate ended. “I think they both would have gotten a failing grade in a high school debate class,” said Jamie Horwitz, a spokesman for the American Federation of Teachers.

The debate, which lasted for just under two hours, was sponsored by Young America’s Foundation, a conservative national student group. The organization seeks “to expose students to conservative principles and bring balance to the campus debate through [its] conferences, seminars, posters, and lecture programs.” Churchill said that he was not paid to participate in the debate.

Horowitz said that the initial idea was Churchill’s. “He had heckled me some years ago when I gave a speech at his campus,” recalled Horowitz. “Then one day, he called me up and said, let’s do this.”

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Vernon Clayson - 4/7/2006

"Why" does seem to be the operative word here, as in why would a discussion between two white men be of interest, nobody would have ever heard of Churchill if he hadn't parlayed an alleged Native American ancestry into his work, hell, he might not even have found work without the pretense. Horowtiz should have gone to the debate wearing the regalia of an Indian Chief, he would have as much right to that as the phony Churchill.