Two political science professors, Henry Nau and Vincent Stine, faced off Wednesday in a debate sponsored by the GW chapters of College Republicans and College Democrats.
Stine, who has taught on topics ranging from religion’s influence on politics to the nature of political parties, represented the Democratic side. Nau, who has been a professor of international affairs since 1973 and was a senior staff member on President Reagan’s National Security Council, represented the Republicans.
The debate featured very little back-and-forth banter reminiscent of last year’s presidential and Republican primary debates. Instead the professors answered questions from moderator and fellow GW professor Daniel Ericson, and once opinions were given, the discussion moved on to new topics.
On the question of the country’s fiscal situation, both professors agreed that deals should revolve around reforming entitlements and closing tax loopholes, with Nau taking a stand against “agricultural and industrial subsidies.”
The professors also agreed that the problematic implementation of The Affordable Care Act has reflected poorly on the Obama administration.
“I think it is a big embarrassment for the administration,” said the left-leaning Stine, “but I don’t think (Secretary of Health and Human Services) Sebelius should resign.”
Nau expressed his belief that many provisions of the ACA could have been worked out in the private sector, and that government only makes healthcare reform less efficient.
“Insurance companies easily could have solved the pre-existing condition problem on its own…don’t wait for government to solve your problem. Go out there and solve them.”
Ending the debate, Professor Ericson asked the participants to predict the Democratic and Republican presidential nominees in 2016. Nau and Stine were reluctant to give predictions, noting that there are no clear front runners.
Both agreed that in every election cycle, it is impossible to predict circumstances and events that lead to candidate nominations.