Some people just don’t have a sense of humor these days, something that is especially sad when it’s an 18-year-old. When an article plopped into my email box on Wedneday from the University of Richmond Collegian, I noticed the title: “No, John Kasich, I don’t want Taylor Swift Tickets.” Curious, I began reading the words from Kayla Solsbak:
My hand was raised, my body half-way out of my back-row seat, when Gov. John Kasich finally acknowledged me.
“I’m sorry, I don’t have any Taylor Swift concert tickets,” he said, his eyes meeting mine.
The older members of the audience chuckled as my friends’ jaws dropped to the floor. It was astonishingly clear that Gov. Kasich did not come to Richmond for my vote.
Uh-oh. Everything good I had heard about John Kasich’s appearance Monday at the University of Richmond was in danger of being dashed in the first three paragraphs of the article. I continued reading a skewed version of his appearance as Ms. Solsbak made assumptions, pitted retired folks against college students, called Governor Kasich’s remarks “condescending lectures,” and generally down-played the event — even dissing the music. She didn’t have one good thing to say. The further I read, the more suspicious I became. Was the writer a student? A Democrat? Perhaps a plant?
I began a google search and quickly found her article featured on the University of Richmond College Democrats Facebook page where her fellow young Democrats urged others to read her “excellent article” about the Republican event. It was widely distributed by the Democratic National Committee.
And then my google search turned up a rebuttal.
As with most things, there is another side to this story, as reported in an excellent response from fellow UR student Dylan McAuley in the Collegian while countering Ms. Solsbak:
This article paints a delightful story in which a student, who is also the author of the article, raises her hand to ask a question and is ridiculed and belittled by Governor Kasich. This didn’t happen. It is a fallacy, plain and simple. Don’t believe me? I have the video to prove it.
Mr. McAuley, who was at the Kasich event, went on to describe what really happened:
In reality, the author rose up and waved her arm back and forth to get attention. The Governor eloquently responded to her by joking, “I don’t have Taylor Swift tickets” because the level of excitement being exuded by the author was that of a teen Taylor Swift fan trying to get tickets to a concert. This was an accurate comparison. The response by Governor Kasich was a lighthearted jab at the author’s inappropriate hand waving for attention, which he handled with grace. He then proceeded to allow her to ask her question.
Her question was poorly constructed and she then proceeded to badger the candidate and to put words in his mouth. In total she asked three questions which contributed heavily to a problem posed in the article: that some people didn’t get to ask questions. They didn’t get to ask them, because she took that opportunity. He answered those questions, and every other question, in a very genuine, friendly way, which is more impressive considering the fact that, although the author disagrees, none of the questions were softballs. Explaining why you expanded Medicaid to a room full of Virginia Republicans is no easy task.
After explaining more about the event, he concluded by noting:
The article is untrue and should be taken down. For too long, conservative groups have been targeted by this publication with baseless accusations and it is time for it to stop. It’s easy to sit behind a computer and tear apart the character of others, but it’s hard to stand by your values. I am ready to take that stand.
I dare say Ms. Solsbak was not looking to find anything positive about the event because she actually was not attending as “an informed voter,” as she wrote in her article, but as a College Democrat and writer for the school paper who probably was not going to highlight anything positive about a GOP rally for a 2016 presidential nominee.
To Ms. Solsbak I say, “Lighten up. It was a joke!”
Photo from Richmond Times-Dispatch