McCain’s speech centers on media, not CMU

Many Americans, both Democrat and Republican, took great interest in Senator John McCain’s (R–Ariz.) speech last Tuesday in Wiegand Gymnasium. Unfortunately, most of them weren’t in the room.

In his speech, McCain detailed his economic plan, suggesting tax cuts, relief for businesses, and — most surprisingly — recommending that Congress lift the federal gas taxes over the summer.

For reporters and analysts, McCain’s talk provided an opportunity to pour over his every word, promise, and speculation. Will the Senator’s vision for the economy send us “trillions of dollars into the red” (as predicted by the Democratic National Committee, according to The New York Times), or, as The Washington Post suggested, might it offer just the right compromise between satisfying companies and helping out workers?

For students, though, McCain’s speech was a chance to daydream, send text messages, or decide which Carnival parties to attend. The problem wasn’t that we weren’t listening — it’s that we weren’t being talked to.

McCain chose Carnegie Mellon as the venue for the unveiling of his economic plan. On the surface, that’s great for us — students of all parties had a chance to ooh and ah before a man that may lead the country, and the name of our university showed up in countless newspaper articles, which is always nice.

Still, we have to wonder what McCain’s speech even had to do with Carnegie Mellon. Planning to discuss his economic plan, McCain was obviously attracted to the Tepper School of Business. But was he attracted to its students — or just its reputation?

The text of McCain’s speech hit media sources Friday, and, since then, those interested have had plenty of opportunities to read the transcript, watch clips, or digest articles and commentary on the Senator’s economic intentions. It seems McCain’s speech was mostly for these people — the ones who weren’t even in the room — and that makes us feel a little used. We know we’re not the first campus to host a speech of this nature, but that doesn’t mean we approve of the practice. We wish McCain would have not merely spoken from Carnegie Mellon but to Carnegie Mellon and its students.