I went to the Romney victory centre in State College this evening, to make a few calls and watch the convention on their C-Span link. The calls didn't go so great - they're still knocking the bugs out of the hookup for the phone survey system, and I'm just terrible at the scripted phone calling system. I'm just not a salesman, and I'm not good at scripts. More interestingly, there was a journalism professor who thought it meet to send her students into the victory centre to pester the volunteers on convention week & find the less well-coached, well-prepared volunteers in order to harass them into silly arguments.
After the phone system crashed in early-days bug teething - typical for this time of year - I heard the professor baiting the least-prepared and most-voluble volunteer into all sorts of silly statements. He's young, and unprepared, and pugnacious, and silly as all hell. So I intervened. I made the argument for limited government, Hayekian or even Burkean limitations upon government policy swagger, and quoted A Man for All Seasons, which the professora either had never heard of, or was willing to let me go toddling over the edge of the precipice. Admittedly, I let myself riff randomly on my old, personal theory about Obama being a physical and moral coward, but towards the end, I managed to touch on the idea that the democrats are too fond of absolutist abuse of "Imperial Presidency" renunciation of small-R republican checks and balances, talking about the Obama administration abuse of executive orders in re: the workfare cancellation and the DREAM Act enactment via executive order. Since I had a copy of Remini's third volume of his long-ass Andrew Jackson biography, I talked about his tendency towards direct-democracy pretensions and how that turned into a species of tyranny despite his claims to constitutionality and adherence to classic Jeffersonian limited-government constitutional piety.
I \dunno if I changed any minds there. Most of her students had already left by that point, the only one listening was the young girl who had interviewed me earlier, whom I hadn't given really any thing of value. The hard-shell ideologue who had baited the youngblood fool into jabbering about gay marriage and birth out of wedlock seems to have left long before I started debating her professor. Which is a shame, because these were all journalism students, except for the professor, and really, somebody should have burned into their psyche the understanding that baiting some random young fool into a response you were looking for is in no way a valid goal for honest, objective journalists. The idea is to bring forth the basic ideas of the organization under investigation, not to torment the young and foolish until they provide a hook for your partisan distortion of what you think they're about.