Cantor’s Wharton Speech Derailed

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor abruptly canceled a long-scheduled speech to the Wharton Business School after school officials changed the guest list.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor abruptly canceled a long-scheduled speech to the Wharton Business School after school officials changed the guest list.

The Daily Pennsylvanian (“Protesters storm campus after Cantor cancels visit“):

Amid Occupy Philadelphia protesters and discrepancies in the attendance policy, United States House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) canceled his Wharton Leadership Lecture slated for Friday, Oct. 21 at 4:30 p.m. Cantor had planned to speak at Huntsman Hall about income inequality.

“The Office of the Majority Leader was informed last night by Capitol Police that the University of Pennsylvania was unable to ensure that the attendance policy previously agreed to could be met,” Cantor spokeswoman Laena Fallon wrote in an email. “Wharton is a educational leader in innovation and entrepreneurship, and the Majority Leader appreciated the invitation to speak with the students, faculty, alumni, and other members of the UPENN community.”

His absence didn’t deter activists, however, who assembled inside and outside Huntsman. “It appears [Cantor] doesn’t want to talk to the 99 percent,” said Jamie Mondics of advocacy group Keystone Progress, after learning of the canceled speech.

Vice President for Public Safety Maureen Rush said the Division of Public Safety increased security efforts around the site of the protests and continued to monitor and adjust its presence throughout the day. DPS spokesman Stef Karp estimated that about 500 demonstrators were at the protest. Protesters entered Huntsman by force through Au Bon Pain and occupied the lobby, shouting chants such as “Eric Cantor, come out, come out wherever you are” and “We are the 99 percent.”

The Hill (“Wall Street protests force Cantor to cancel economic speech“):

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) abruptly canceled a planned economic address Friday at the University of Pennsylvania after learning the event could be flooded with protesters aligned with the Occupy Wall Street movement.

Cantor was to deliver a speech titled, “A Fair Shot at the American Dream and Economic Growth” at the university’s elite Wharton School of Business, but the school announced the event was off about three-and-a-half hours before Cantor’s scheduled 4:30 p.m. start time.

[…]

Cantor’s office said it scheduled the speech several months ago with the understanding that the audience would be composed of about 250 “members of the Wharton community,” including students, faculty and invited guests. But on Friday morning, the university’s student newspaper, The Daily Pennsylvanian, reported that between 500 and 1,000 protesters affiliated with Occupy Philadelphia planned to rally outside the hall where Cantor was to speak.

The majority leader’s office also said it learned Thursday night that university security planned to open the speech to the public and allow the first 300 people in line to attend the speech, regardless of affiliation, raising the possibility that Cantor would be addressing a room full of protesters.

Instead,Cantor published his planned remarks in an op/ed on the website of The Daily Pennsylvanian on Friday afternoon.

The prepared remarks are available here.

This is weirdly ironic in at least two ways. First, Cantor drew substantial fire for referring to the Occupy movement as “an angry mob” a few days back; he would seem vindicated. Second, Cantor countenanced such tactics on the behalf of the Tea Party movement when it was flooding town hall meetings and shouting down elected representatives attempting to have a civil discussion with their constituents.

Certainly, I don’t blame Cantor at all for canceling the speech. He came to have a dialog with the students and faculty of the nation’s most prestigious business school, not to serve as a prop for angry rabble to scream at. Not only is there nothing to be gained by such a confrontation but, frankly, these aren’t his constituents and he doesn’t have to answer to them.

Some spokesmen for the protestors and commenters on the linked stories are crowing about Cantor’s lack of courage and running and hiding; that’s just silly. Had a spokesman for the group attended the speech and asked an insightful question during the Q&A, I’d have expected Cantor to take it on. That’s the deal one makes when accepting an invitation to speak at a university. Being drowned out by protesters–let alone those unaffiliated with the school–is not supposed to be part of the package.

I’m frankly surprised that the University of Pennsylvania, having invited Cantor, didn’t manage this better. He’s a controversial figure coming to address a controversial subject–indeed, the Occupy protests are at the heart of it–so protestors showing up was a given. Indeed, reports indicate that they had been in planning for more than a week and students knew all about them. So, the protestors should have been given an assembly area to get their message out.  Cantor should have been given a safe, non-confrontational escort into the lecture hall–which should have been packed by Wharton faculty, students, and administration. The Q&A would naturally have had questions challenging Cantor’s message. Useful, educational dialog would have thus ensued.

In my undergraduate days, we had controversial Reagan interior secretary James Watt in shortly after he was fired. When I was in graduate school, we had Los Angeles police chief Daryl Gates in shortly after the LA riots. There were no angry mobs or attempts to shout down the speakers. They were treated as the invited guests they were, given a respectful listen, and then challenged by questioner after questioner, often quite pointedly. That’s how these things are supposed to work.

FILED UNDER: Congress, US Politics,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. john personna says:

    First, Cantor drew substantial fire for referring to the Occupy movement as “an angry mob” a few days back; he would seem vindicated.

    No. This relies on that flexible (though dishonest) definition of “angry mob.” That is, “peaceful protesters with which I do not agree.”

  2. john personna says:

    (As I understand it, Wharton set up seating for 300 walk-ins. Wharton was fine with it. Did not consider them “an angry mob,” etc.)

  3. john personna says:

    “a prop for angry rabble to scream at”

    Dude. Seriously?

    I think you have a problem with meat-space democracy.

  4. James Joyner says:

    @john personna: Democracy is civil discussion and voting. Shouting down speakers is mob rule, the antithesis of democracy.

    An invited speaker is given the floor and the opportunity to speak uninterrupted. That’s especially true in a scholarly setting. Every speech isn’t an invitation for the mob to voice their view.

  5. john personna says:

    Dude. If American protesters were sending people to the hospital, or even burning cars, you might have a point.

    As it is, your perspective seems overblown.

    (I betcha these protests are mild by US 18th century standards.)

  6. john personna says:

    I’m OK with Cantor canceling, I guess, but I do remember that Ronald Reagan made his bones facing (much more unruly) Berkeley protesters.

  7. Rick Almeida says:

    House Majority Leader Eric Cantor abruptly canceled a long-scheduled speech to the Wharton Business School after school officials changed the guest list.

    This is incorrect.

    In a statement, university spokesman Ron Ozio said the “Wharton speaker series is typically open to the general public and that is how the event with Majority Leader Cantor was billed.”

    I’m disappointed, James, that you simply passed along Rep. Cantor’s excuse without any checking and then tried to use it as yet another hippie-punching exercise.

  8. James Joyner says:

    @Rick Almeida: Rather clearly, Cantor was given to believe that he was coming to Wharton to speak to Wharton students and faculty, not to Occupy Wall Street protestors. Indeed, it’s simply bizarre that a university would host a very small gathering for a very prominent speaker and then open the doors on a first come, first served basis.

    And recall that I had precisely the same reaction the the Tea Party people shouting down town hall meetings. And at least those are expected to be constituent bitch sessions; this is an elite college setting.

  9. john personna says:

    @James Joyner:

    1. You are really saying Wharton should have put in special rules to insulate Cantor

    2. You are presupposing events in the future.

    Even if there was heckling, do you really think it would not have been illustrative of the issues at hand?

    Ye gods. You are suggesting that sitting representatives of the people be insulated from their questions, whenever those questions become “angry.”

  10. john personna says:

    (From my memory, I never thought Teas should be excluded from Town Halls. No, I was shocked by what they said. I’d think opponents of OWS would want them to similarly hoist themselves, if they cannot ask rational questions.)

  11. john personna says:

    Indeed, one of the worst political innovations in recent years has been the invitational, pseudo, town hall meeting.

  12. Rick Almeida says:

    @James Joyner:

    Indeed, it’s simply bizarre that a university would host a very small gathering for a very prominent speaker and then open the doors on a first come, first served basis.

    And yet, that’s exactly what “open to the public” means.

  13. John Peabody says:

    “Constitueunt bitch sessions”! That’s EXACTLY what they are! Very good point. No worries, this will pass.

  14. john personna says:

    Let’s propose a compromise. The OWS can come to the public event, but they can’t bring their assault rifles.

  15. Hey Norm says:

    There’s a lot of he said she said here….so let’s focus on the important issue and not the sideshow.
    In Cantors prepared remarks about Income Inequality he did not mention Income or Inequality once. Cantor belongs to the political party that has been attacking, and continues to attack, the middle class for 30 years. He talks in his remarks about a hand up for the less-lucky in society…but the actions of his party are aimed at pulling up the ladder behind the very luckiest. Actions speak louder than the words that Cantor was afraid to deliver.

  16. JKB says:

    We appear to be at a time of change. These types of speeches had their value in the past but now, besides the cash for the speaker and the status-good for the organization, they really are past their prime since the content can be more easily exposed by other methods today. It was a matter of civic bragging that such speeches were open to the public indicating an intellectual society for the locale.

    But the public, like the faculty and students were expected to behave as adults seeking intellectual exposition. Now, these events are being overrun by unruly toddlers with poor impulse control and an inability to use their inside voice. One wonders how long such forums will last when any speaker of controversy is certain to be confronted by children sorely in need of a nap. I dare say, Cantor has probably gotten more exposure for his speech by canceling than would have occurred had it been given unmolested or if the protestors had been able to become the story through misbehavior.

  17. john personna says:

    @JKB:

    First of all, I’m sure that is not historically accurate. Richard Brookhiser discussed James Madison’s impact on American politics on The Daily Show on 10/20/11. He talked about the coarseness of 18th century politics.

    Second, what’s wrong with “open to the public but eject the unruly” model? It has worked, probably for a couple hundred years. It can become a bit of a Kabuki, but it certainly does not exclude anyone or their ideas.

    (I think we are seeing Authoritarian strains, when people and ideas are to be excluded, when questions become crimes.)

  18. James Joyner says:

    @Rick Almeida: Rather clearly, that’s not what Cantor believed he was getting. Nor would it be reasonable to expect that. I’ve spent quite a lot of time on college campuses and that’s not how speaker series–especially those for controversial figures–are typically handled. The whole point of inviting speakers to campus is to expose the students and faculty–not yahoos at large–to ideas.

  19. jpe says:

    If American protesters were sending people to the hospital, or even burning cars, you might have a point.

    What they do in these settings – and we’ve seen it time and time again – is disrupt speech and try to shut it down. If you don’t want to call that an angry mob, fine, but whatever term we settle on doesn’t make it any less creepy.

  20. James Joyner says:

    @john personna: I saw that and fully agree that things were more raucous once upon a time. Rules and expectations have changed, though.

    Additionally, Cantor is not “a representative of the people” writ large. He’s a representative of one Congressional District in Virginia. He was several states away on a college campus.

  21. jpe says:

    I think we are seeing Authoritarian strains, when people and ideas are to be excluded, when questions become crimes

    I assume you’re referring to the protesters’ views on Cantor’s ideas, which they seem to believe should be shouted down and excluded.

  22. Nikki says:

    Let’s propose a compromise. The OWS can come to the public event, but they can’t bring their assault rifles

    A thousand times this. Cantor defends the rights of angry tea partiers bringing loaded weapons to the nation’s town squares, but he retires to his fainting couch from a gathering of angry-smelly-hippy protesters and we’re supposed to understand that he shouldn’t have to deal with the nuisance?

  23. Nikki says:

    Rules and expectations have changed, though.

    Yes, because they are protesters from the LEFT side of opinion. Having your “Marie Antoinette” moment, too, James? How dare you try to defend the rights of one type of citizen over the rights of another.

  24. PogueMahone says:

    Certainly, I don’t blame Cantor at all for canceling the speech. He came to have a dialog with the students and faculty of the nation’s most prestigious business school, not to serve as a prop for angry rabble to scream at.

    “Rabble”!?! ‘Nuff said out of Mr. Joyner, I guess.

    And what a sniveling little twerp Cantor is. He can’t handle a few heckles? (presuming that’s what would have happened – We don’t know) It’s funny to think that any two-bit comedian at the Improv might be a better statesman than Eric Cantor.

    Not only is there nothing to be gained by such a confrontation but, frankly, these aren’t his constituents and he doesn’t have to answer to them.

    I call bullsh*t. Eric Cantor is not just some random congressman X from district nowhere, he is the House Majority Leader. (keyword there being “leader”)
    You take on that job, your responsibility goes beyond your district. Your responsibility, and accountability, is to the American people as a whole.

    Cheers.

  25. Hey Norm says:

    In Cantors remarks he talks about his Grandmother working her fingers to the bone. Now, if her Grandson has his way, her taxes will go up and her Medicare will be abolished… so that the rich can pay lower taxes than at any point in post-depression history. If I was Cantor I would not want to face the general public either.

  26. Scott F. says:

    @James Joyner:

    This is awfully presumptuous isn’t it?

    As the speech was cancelled, we have no idea how the 300 walk-ins might have behaved. It would be different if he started his speech and was shouted down, but he didn’t even enter the hall.

  27. James Joyner says:

    @Nikki: I said almost exactly the same thing about Tea Partiers disrupting town hall meetings two years ago. And they were actually more justified in terms of forum selection, since the whole point of a town hall is a give-and-take. The main point of a speech at a university is the speech, with a Q&A customarily following it.

  28. george says:

    Got to admit, I don’t see why this matters one way or another. One more political speech isn’t going to add much of benefit to anyone, or subtract much if its missed. What he was about to say is extremely predictable, and would have been something he’s already said hundreds (or most likely thousands) of times before. Which I suspect everyone involved (including himself) realizes – if he felt he had something new to add I suspect he would have gone ahead with it despite protests. For for a run of the mill speech, he probably didn’t think it was worth the hassle.

    Can’t say I blame him – or the protesters for promising to show up anyway. What he actually said would have been secondary (or tertiary) in any case.

  29. Nikki says:

    Now, if her Grandson has his way, her taxes will go up and her Medicare will be abolished… so that the rich can pay lower taxes than at any point in post-depression history.

    No, no, no. Cantor’s grandmother would be fine, because her rich son is there to ensure her comfort. It’s YOUR grandmother you’d have to watch die in the streets. Because….you know, as Herman Cain said, it’s your fault you’re not rich.

  30. Nikki says:

    @James Joyner: Weasel words, James. What you said was the rules and expectations have changed now. Meaning right at this moment. Nothing you said in the past matters. The rules are different right now.

  31. Nikki says:

    The main point of a speech at a university is the speech, with a Q&A customarily following it.

    And, really, you are just making it worse. Aren’t you a lawyer?

  32. JKB says:

    @john personna:

    The James Madison time period observation would be an argument that the Town Halls are still comparably sedate. However, the university symposium has at least since the turn of the 20th century been a polite, intellectual forum where true debate is encouraged following the speakers remarks. Biting, pointed questions are encouraged whereas the chanting, rushing the stage and general disruptive behavior is not.

    Based on recent history, the protesters were not seeking to offer serious debate to Mr. Cantor’s remarks but rather they would seek to disrupt his very speech and generally make things unpleasant for the interested attendees. Given that universities have been reluctant to support their speaker’s right to speak by ejecting the disruptive, controversial speakers are seeking to have the audience limited or they simply use their time more productively than wasting it on some failed university symposium.

    I would support the use of raucous behavior if during the Q&A uncomfortable on-topic questions were being suppressed as we saw in many of the Town Halls when the politician sought not to engage in debate but to suppress dissent.

  33. James in LA says:

    @James Joyner says “An invited speaker is given the floor and the opportunity to speak uninterrupted. That’s especially true in a scholarly setting. Every speech isn’t an invitation for the mob to voice their view.”

    Except this is not what happened. We will never know if that was going to happen. No one was interrupted because no one spoke. You assume some disruption that had not yet occurred.

    From where I sit, Cantor looks like a complete coward. And you are his enabler. Truth must be faced, even if it has the form of a crowd of people; their concerns always trump the concerns of those they elect.

  34. Nikki says:

    I would support the use of raucous behavior if during the Q&A uncomfortable on-topic questions were being suppressed as we saw in many of the Town Halls when the politician sought not to engage in debate but to suppress dissent.

    BWAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! Sorry, that brought tears to my eyes. The tea party has set the standard. You conservatives cheered as they let their freak flags fly, to the point of bringing guns to townhall meetings. And now you expect to rein in OWS behavior? The OWS crowd has MILES to go before they reach the level of outrageous behavior the tea party displayed. So save your pretentious sniffs for another day.

  35. john personna says:

    @jpe:

    I assume you’re referring to the protesters’ views on Cantor’s ideas, which they seem to believe should be shouted down and excluded.

    I guess you skipped “what’s wrong with ‘open to the public but eject the unruly’ model? ”

    It seems pretty basic to American democracy that we give people a chance to behave, and do not pre-judge our political opponents.

  36. James in LA says:

    @James Joyner “Additionally, Cantor is not “a representative of the people” writ large. He’s a representative of one Congressional District in Virginia. He was several states away on a college campus.”

    Boy you will say anything to invalidate the opinions of those with whom you disagree. Cantor is the majority leader of the whole House, not just Virginia. Your defense of him grows weaker by the hour, James. It’s really tedious.

  37. WR says:

    @James Joyner: “Additionally, Cantor is not “a representative of the people” writ large”

    Cantor is the House majority leader and one of the key architects behind the Republican strategy of destroying Obama by hurting the economy. To say that he merely represents a single district is disingenuous. And his fear, like that of all the other Rs behind this loathesome scheme, to face the people whose lives he is blithely destroying merely shows that he is a coward as well as a bully.

  38. john personna says:

    @JKB:

    Based on recent history, the protesters were not seeking to offer serious debate to Mr. Cantor’s remarks but rather they would seek to disrupt his very speech and generally make things unpleasant for the interested attendees. Given that universities have been reluctant to support their speaker’s right to speak by ejecting the disruptive, controversial speakers are seeking to have the audience limited or they simply use their time more productively than wasting it on some failed university symposium.

    Please cite OWS interactions at other universities.

  39. JKB says:

    @john personna: Please cite OWS interactions at other universities.

    Really, that is what you are going with? Out here in the real world, you make decisions on probabilities. And the probability of those who make up the occupy movement have changed or will behave differently from those of their ilk who’ve protested before is nil. But perhaps this group want to engage in intellectual? They’re going to have to change their look and approach to be taken seriously.

    I offer these two comments to Ann Althouse’s post on this matter:

    rcommal said…
    So, the people who were mad that Cantor was scheduled to speak are now mad that they won’t have the opportunity to shout?

    10/21/11 7:19 PM
    Dr Weevil said…
    THis reminds me of something that Milton Friedman said years ago (1975-76, I think) at the University of Chicago. He was signing books in the university bookstore while some local leftist stood a few feet away screaming about “Fascist repression in Chile”. When someone asked him what he thought about that, he said it didn’t bother him because it provided such a clear illustration of one of the principles of economics: when your product is so repulsive that no one wants to buy it in the open market, you have to somehow find a way to borrow the market for someone else’s more attractive product. That’s exactly what the OWS was trying to do with Cantor, so of course they’re disappointed.

    10/21/11 7:25 PM

  40. anjin-san says:

    Indeed, it’s simply bizarre that a university would host a very small gathering for a very prominent speaker and then open the doors on a first come, first served basis.

    Yes, who knows what kind of peons might make their way in. Good Lord, you could end up with an off duty sky waiter in attendance. Those people should be mowing your lawn or something like that, right James?

    Clearly only the right sort of people should be allowed into Cantor’s august presence. Let the rabble be dammed.

  41. john personna says:

    @JKB:

    And the probability of those who make up the occupy movement have changed or will behave differently from those of their ilk who’ve protested before is nil.

    Well you see, I gave you the chance to say that, and you did.

    You judged some subset of Americans by their “ilk” rather than giving the change to peaceably attend and ask questions.

  42. anjin-san says:

    Ye gods. You are suggesting that sitting representatives of the people be insulated from their questions, whenever those questions become “angry.”

    It’s just an extension of the GOP’s “boy in a bubble” strategy for keeping Bush insulated from anything but adoring sycophants with checkbooks in hand.

    Meanwhile, American citizens were herded off to “free speech zones” where they would not offend the delicate sensibilities of the ruling class.

    Silly me, I always thought America was a free speech zone.

  43. anjin-san says:

    They’re going to have to change their look and approach to be taken seriously.

    What will it take to earn you seal of approval? A crisply pressed Brooks Brothers shirt?

  44. PD Shaw says:

    @JKB: I think you’re right in the sense that speeches were more valued historically, both by the speaker and the audience.

    Before the creation of police forces though, if someone disrupted a speech, “the mob” would most likely be the other audience members, who would escort the person with rough hands from the gathering, perhaps with a few broken things in the process.

  45. Liberty60 says:

    It is true that this swings both ways- I didn’t like it when a bunch of slovenly teabillies were shouting down townhalls in 2009.

    But there is a matter of degree- “civil discourse” does NOT mean a complete absence of heckles and angry questions. No one should be guaranteed a friendly audience in order to speak.

    But as others have pointed out, this doesn’t fit either category- Cantor didn’t speak, and was not shouted down. Would the protestors have respectfully asked only germane but pointed questions, or would they have thrown eggs?

    We will never know, because what this really demonstrated was Cantor’s unwillingness to even risk it- he does seem thin-skinned and cowardly, based on his actions.

  46. ponce says:

    Cantor the treasonous weasel turn out to be a coward, too.

    What a surprise.

    Yglesias this morning is laughing at Cantor’s speech skipping over his millionaire daddy and hiding behind his hard working grandmother’s skirts to defend his leg humping of the rich.

    http://thinkprogress.org/yglesias/2011/10/21/350590/who-cares-if-eric-cantors-grandmother-was-poor/

  47. Nikki says:

    What will it take to earn you seal of approval? A crisply pressed Brooks Brothers shirt?

    I’m sure a simple hat festooned with tea bags will do.

  48. JKB says:

    @john personna: You judged some subset of Americans by their “ilk” rather than giving the change to peaceably attend and ask questions.

    I tell you what, you run down to some of NYC’s poorer neighborhoods and ask if the residents judge the cops by their ilk or if they feel they should give them a chance to plant drugs on them so the detective can make his quota for the month and avoid being busted down to uniform?

    You are judged by the company you keep, your dress and your manner. You are painted with the tarnish of others who are members of your voluntary associations. It is wrong to judge people by traits the cannot control (race, sex, etc.) but those traits they choose to assume, are fair game.

    And if not, then how can the OWS judge those who’ve obtained success without giving them a chance to earn their wealth without exploiting their political connections?

  49. Nikki says:

    You are judged by the company you keep, your dress and your manner. You are painted with the tarnish of others who are members of your voluntary associations.

    Oh, but the Tea Partiers are in no way, shape or form racists, right, JKB? That was only a few malcontents.

  50. Nikki says:

    And if not, then how can the OWS judge those who’ve obtained success without giving them a chance to earn their wealth without exploiting their political connections?

    Dear gawd, are these really the arguments to which we have been reduced? Is it really all about who can best display their oral skills for the wealthy?

  51. ponce says:

    I’m frankly surprised that the University of Pennsylvania, having invited Cantor, didn’t manage this better.

    Is this really a surprise considering how many of the lousy American CEOs currently running their companies into the ground (while collecting multi-million dollar salaries) oozed out of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of business?

  52. john personna says:
  53. Scott O. says:

    Was he afraid someone might shout out “You lie!”?

  54. Lomax says:

    Here is what I would love to see and this would be an ideal solution: let the OWS choose one of their group to participate in a one hour debate with Cantor at Wharton.
    When I go to a concert, movie, or speech, I do not want someone hollaring out and disrupting my right to hear and enjoy.

  55. de stijl says:

    @anjin-san:

    What will it take to earn you seal of approval? A crisply pressed Brooks Brothers shirt?

    Well, if you’re sporting a Brooks Brothers suit and a Hermes tie, you’re obviously not a mob and you couldn’t have a riot and disrupt democracy or anything.

    People of THAT ilk certainly wouldn’t try to “Shut it down!” ; – )

  56. c.red says:

    I have had a very low opinion of this guy for a while; he is the biggest weasel of the bunch and I think his tenure as House Majority Leader has been borderline criminal.

    That being said, to me this shows again what a cowardly person he is. The forum was never misrepresented to him and he was not going to have to face an unruly mob (no matter what some here suggest), at most a few tough questions and a few minutes of people behaving foolishly before they were removed. For him to avoid this chance to meet and respond to critics, and the fact that he would rather hide from it like a dog, says a lot about him.

    It also shows me a lot of his opinion of his agenda when he would rather risk hiding, and all the attendant commentary, than actually have a discussion on it. It is fairly clear he knows how morally bankrupt his current agenda is and does not want that confronted.

  57. Loviatar says:

    I have a question for the regular comment contributors to this blog:

    Has James or Doug ever apologized? Has either one ever come back to a post and said after reviewing the facts, my post and the comments I was wrong.

  58. @Loviatar:

    You can disagree with someone’s opinion, that doesn’t make it wrong.

  59. george says:

    @Lomax:

    Kind of sums up my feeling – if I go to hear someone speak, I really don’t want that person drowned out by a lot of chanting. Same thing as if I go to a movie, or the theatre, or take a class (and yes, back at university there were a few times when people would try protesting in class, perhaps because they felt quantum mechanics and general relativity were responsible for the problems in society) … venues which I note tend to be quite prompt about removing anyone creating a disturbance.

    Protesting outside on the other hand I have no problem with, that’s their right.

    A debate sounds much more useful; shouting someone down usually means you have no real counter argument, and I think it generally turns people off because most people recognise that not letting someone speak means you’re afraid you can’t match their reasoning (and I’d add that matching Cantor’s reasoning should be trivial).

  60. john personna says:

    @Loviatar:

    Sometimes they are right, and sometimes they give everyone a good, healthy, SIWOTI moment.

    When you think about it, both are service to the community.

  61. Jay says:

    I know this is off-topic, but anyone else find it annoying that some of the Penn protestors are claiming to be part of the 99%? I thinks that’s a stretch

  62. ponce says:

    most people recognise that not letting someone speak means you’re afraid you can’t match their reasoning

    There are few instances in America these days where politicians have to debate their political views with people who have opposing views..

  63. john personna says:

    @Jay:

    I know this is off-topic, but anyone else find it annoying that some of the Penn protestors are claiming to be part of the 99%? I thinks that’s a stretch

    Um, don’t they have 99 chances in 100 of being right? 😉

    (assuming they randomly make the claim)

  64. Loviatar says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    You can disagree with someone’s opinion, that doesn’t make it wrong.

    But that wasn’t my question., my question was have you ever apologized for being wrong?

    Everyone can have an opinion, but everyone can’t have their own facts. In this post John has staked his opinion on statements which are just not true, they are factually incorrect, yet he refuses to apologize and say he was wrong.

    Unfortunately I’ve seen you do the same numerous times.
    .

    – – – – –
    .

    @john personna:

    When you think about it, both are service to the community.

    No, I’m going to have to disagree with you on that statement. When you continuously choose to base your opinion on inaccuracies, you go from being a service to the community to being a disservice to the community. Those comments and opinions no longer have validity and are lost to the discussion (i.e. Limbaugh, Breitbart, etc.) thereby reducing the community’s strength.

  65. matt says:

    @James Joyner: That’s true but I’m having a hard time finding where Cantor was shouted down like you keep declaring..

  66. Dazedandconfused says:

    I’m afraid I agree with Matt here, James. They were not given a chance to behave rudely towards Cantor. I can understand why Cantor would be apprehensive, but the crowd must be given a chance to be disruptive before they can be called a disruptive crowd.

  67. MarkedMan says:

    James, although like you I don’t think Cantor is obligated to stand up in front of a bunch of screaming mouth-frothers (ala the Tea Bag Town Halls), I think your acceptance of Cantor’s narrative is generous to the point of naive. Cantor set this up month’s ago. Whether it was a stand alone event or part of a series, Wharton says such speeches are open to the public. In the instance though, we’ve had a month of increasingly rancorous protests and Cantor thinks it might be a TBTH scenario. So be it. He dropped out. But to turn around and blame it on Wharton is classless. If he’s got proof they reneged, bring it on. But I suspect Cantor decided it was more expedient to burn his hosts than to simply acknowledge that times have changed since he accepted.

  68. An Interested Party says:

    Cantor might have even helped his own cause if he had gone ahead with his speech and a bunch of overzealous OWS types disrupted him…he could have said something like, “See, I told you about these people.” Instead, with this move, he comes off as a hypocritical pu$$y…especially because of all the nice things that he had to say about the Tea Party crowd and the fact that he is the House Majority Leader rather than just one of 435 representatives…

  69. Moosebreath says:

    James,

    This post goes hand in hand with McMegan’s famed preemptive use of 2 by 4’s as wonderful examples of persons assuming the worst of their opponents and using that assumption as a basis to shut down protest before the protestors ever actually did anything objectionable. And neither of you have crystal balls to be able to come anywhere near showing that the protestors would actually have lived up to your expectations.

  70. matt says:

    @An Interested Party: Apparently he wasn’t totally confident that he would be disrupted or he hadn’t thought of that. I would of set a media “trap” for the OWS people.

  71. ponce says:

    And neither of you have crystal balls to be able to come anywhere near showing that the protestors would actually have lived up to your expectations.

    It is disappointing.

    Just when you start to think James is smarter than your average Republican…he gets on his high horse and shows his true feelings towards his fellow Americans: They are “angry rabble.”

  72. ponce says:

    In fact, it looks like it’s the Republicans who are behaving poorly:

    “Albuquerque police tasered a man who lunged at four Occupy Albuquerque protesters while swinging a knife and later told police that their presence was disrespectful to a state university, police said on Saturday.”

    http://news.yahoo.com/police-taser-man-swings-knife-near-albuquerque-protesters-235159066.html

  73. Chefmarty says:

    He came to have a dialog with the students and faculty of the nation’s most prestigious business school

    bullshit. That sanctimonious douche bag thought he had a bully pulpit to rant on fact-free crap. The second he thought he’d have to actually face some people who might actually have a counter-argument, he bolted.

  74. Rob in CT says:

    @An Interested Party:

    Exactly. If he had shown up, he could have spun it as: a) brave on his part; and b) if disrupted, he could have labeled the OWS people as unruly, with some justification.

    But he didn’t.

    I approve of this move. Well done, Eric. Thanks.

  75. arthropod says:

    Not buying this complaint. It seems that this event was billed as open to the public from the beginning, and, contra Joyner, it’s not uncommon for university lecture series to be open to the public. I know that Johns Hopkins’ annual symposium series is open to the community. If Cantor doesn’t want to speak to OWS, fine, but it’s his fault for not reading the fine print before he signed up.

  76. Moderate Mom says:

    “Protesters entered Huntsman by force through Au Bon Pain and occupied the lobby, shouting chants….”

    I think the sentence above from The Daily Pennsylvanian is a pretty good indication of how it would have gone, had Cantor given his speech. Frankly, I get pretty sick of protesters, left or right, shutting down speakers. If I go to the trouble of attending a lecture at a university, I’d really like to hear what I came to listen to. I don’t blame Cantor for canceling.

  77. An Interested Party says:

    I don’t blame Cantor for canceling.

    No, of course you don’t…because you’re so supposedly “moderate”…

  78. john personna says:

    @An Interested Party:

    Heh. That makes me chuckle.

    FWIW, I only meant that he can play them as he see’s them. Obviously canceling had a downside, which he accepted.