Coolidge Call For Civility Steers Economic Debate Competition

Hanover's Bill Mitchell Poses with C-Span Founder Brian Lamb at Plymouth Notch Coolidge Foundation Gala

Hanover’s Bill Mitchell Poses with C-Span Founder Brian Lamb at Plymouth Notch Coolidge Foundation Gala

C-Span Founder Brian Lamb did what he does best last night as guest speaker at the President Calvin Coolidge Memorial Foundation Gala dinner: He interviewed guests.

The honored guests were some 100 quick-thinking high school kids from across the U-S  (Texas, Oklahoma, Virginia, Illinois, Pennsylvania) who are attending Dartmouth’s “Debate Institute”, a month-long camp for those who want to hone their competitive abilities —  through excellent research and presentation — to argue logically, persuasively, and in a civil manner, to win over others with their point of view.

The event last night was supported by and presented in partnership with the George W. Bush Institute. The chosen theme for the final debate concerned “Protectionism vs. Free Trade in Plymouth Notch”. Eggheads and non-eggheads alike got a good chance, outside on a delightful Vermont country evening, to consider whether the U.S. might benefit or not benefit from tariffs on sugar cane, rare-earth minerals or goods produced in China. We heard from one of the observing judges this morning (who was not involved in the final decision) that he thinks the young men from New York City/The Bronx who won, won points for their point-by-point organization, confidence, presentation and quick and accurate comebacks versus their less well-prepared competitors. Having spent just a few hours with these young people, who, in answer to Mr. Lamb’s questions said they wanted be able to argue better,  Woodstock Early Bird is of the hope that some or many will become national leaders.

Woodstock's Mimi Baird welcomed visitors to the Coolidge Foundation Gala

Woodstock’s Mimi Baird welcomed visitors to the Coolidge Foundation Gala

Commenting on the gathering of young people at Plymouth Notch who have been learning the art of the civil argument, The Coolidge Foundation’s Mimi Baird said, “Now THIS is what is important!”

The event also featured a rather hilarious send-off to Kate Bradley  (known to many as the way over-educated and under-employed former hostess at Bentleys) who was outfitted with all things Floridian as she leaves The Coolidge Memorial Foundation and Woodstock to take a prestigious position , where she can make use of her education and training, with the Flagler Museum.

Kate Bradley and Amity Shlaes Share the Podium

Kate Bradley and Amity Shlaes Share the Podium

New Coolidge Memorial Foundation Director, economic historian Amity Shlaes, made the rounds of tables introducing herself to visitors and thanking students for participating in the event.

Mr. Lamb noted that C-Span has already come to the Coolidge Historic site on several occasions and that an interview with Ms. Shlaes about Grace Coolidge will be featured during a C-Span program in October.

The event was recorded for Woodstock public access television by Macy Lawrence and will be available online in a day or so at

Added local notes: Wine, cheese,  dinner for some 250 people at the Gala were catered by Occasions Catering of Rochester, Vermont. We also appreciated the presence on scene throughout the day and evening of local Woodstock volunteer EMTs, Jen Hutchins and Shari White,  ready to assist if needed. (Although we believe that Officer/Mechanic Jen conveniently left before the discovery of a flat tire…) 

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