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Inside Politics

Penn brothers want Bush in frat, not the White House

Frat boys debate who they would trust to assist in a keg stand

By Spencer Willig
Special to CNN

Editor's Note: Campus Vibe is a feature that provides student perspectives on the 2004 election from selected colleges across the United States. This week's contributor is Spencer Willig, news director for WQHS, the University of Pennsylvania student radio station. The views expressed in this article are not necessarily those of CNN, its affiliates or the University of Pennsylvania.

Sigma Nu
Wesley Williams plays piano at the Sigma Nu frat house.

• Listen to Spencer Willig and his colleagues online at  WQHS student radioexternal link
Campus Vibe
University of Pennsylvania
America Votes 2004

PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania (CNN) -- Analysts predict there will be relatively few swing voters in the presidential election this November.

Many Americans have already chosen their candidate: the man who can be trusted to serve as commander in chief of the mightiest military; the man who can function under the fantastic pressure and scrutiny that will be applied to him; the man who can get the job done.

But is this man trustworthy enough to hold your legs during a keg stand?

"I think I would rather have Kerry hold my feet during a keg stand because, let's face it, you need... someone responsible to do something like that," Penn junior Patrick Carroll said.

"You wouldn't want to fall and chip your teeth on the keg or something, and I could just picture 'college-era' Bush seeing a hot girl across the room and dropping everything he was doing to go talk to her," the Kappa Alpha brother said.

"That's not the only reason I'm voting for Kerry, but it sure doesn't hurt," he added.

Others fraternity brothers at the University of Pennsylvania felt experience and physical hardiness trump character when it comes to the man keeping his head from suddenly meeting keg or floor.

"I'd trust that Bush has a lot more experience around kegs than Kerry," Pi Kappa Alpha brother Alex Brodsky said.

"Bush is a bit tougher," he continued. "I'm a big boy, 200-plus pounds, and I'd imagine that Kerry might have a hard time lifting me up."

Political spectrum

On the whole, fraternity brothers at Penn, known as the "Greek Ivy," are as politically diverse as any random sampling of college guys.

Just as Kerry and Bush were members of the same secret society -- Skull and Bones -- during their undergraduate days at Yale, Penn's Greek houses shelter a rainbow of political ideologies and voting preferences under the same roof.

"Brothers in 'Pike' cover all ranges of the spectrum, from a militant Republican Texan to a Jewish Democrat currently working on Kerry's campaign," Brodsky said.

Brodsky himself, despite a demonstrated commitment to the Republican Party through his work for a Republican state senator in Pittsburgh, does not intend to vote for Bush -- even though Bush is the only candidate to whom he'd offer a bid to join Pi Kappa Alpha.

"Nader wouldn't have a chance," Brodsky explained. "Kerry is cool because he has morals, something G.W. and Nader do not, but George Bush is the only one that I can see playing Beirut [aka Beer Pong] while shot-gunning a Natty Ice. So I guess I'd have to pick Bush."

Brodsky went on to say that Kerry might feel more at home in a "pretty boys' social club," naming other campus fraternities as possible matches for the Massachusetts senator.

Nader as sketchy

Although some brothers suggested that Nader might benefit through fraternity membership and "interaction with some sororities," the intensity of his campaign has turned off others.

"It kind of has me sketched out," Sigma Nu "Lieutenant Commander" Albert Lin said, explaining that he had received a Nader-endorsed pamphlet outlining "how the fate of religion lies in Nader's hands and how everything would go to hell if he wasn't elected."

"I found that to be a little scary, a little weird, a little 'What was this guy thinking?'" Lin said. "He seemed like the kind of person who would go around preaching all of this stuff that would probably frighten people. And in a fraternity, that's the last thing you want to happen."

Lin's Sigma Nu brother, Wharton student Wesley Williams, was eager to offer Bush a place in the fraternity.

"I would readily offer George W. a bid because he has shown to be the type of gentleman [who] would throw money around," Williams said. "Being an advocate for financial resource sharing, I would love to have the opportunity to take advantage of W's ineptness and squander his money."

Bush could benefit

But at Penn's newest fraternity, Bush might have to explain or abandon his stance on gay marriage before some brothers felt comfortable offering him a place as their brother.

"Our fraternity is for gay, bisexual and progressive men," Delta Lambda Phi brother Bradley Breuer explained. "George W. Bush is not gay, to my knowledge, nor is he progressive." Breuer went on to say that he would offer John Kerry a bid, citing Kerry's "progressive" character.

Asked which candidate might benefit the most from membership in DLP, however, Breuer chose the sitting president.

"Support of a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage is one example of how George W. Bush views the Constitution and by extension the government as a tool to oppress and take away rights.

"Joining our fraternity might open his eyes to the basic human rights his administration violates each day they support this amendment and other anti-gay government policies," Breuer said.

Breuer would not, however, countenance Bush suspending him over a keg. "I have never done a keg stand, I do not know what a keg stand is, but put it this way: I wouldn't want George Bush to shake my hand much less hold me doing a keg stand."

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