Showing posts with label UGA. Show all posts
Showing posts with label UGA. Show all posts

Friday, November 12, 2010

2010 Midterm Election Wrap Up -- Political Science Perspective

If you're looking for answers to why what happened in last week's elections happened, the early political science perspective is beginning to emerge.

Eric McGhee, Brendan Nyhan and John Sides have a rundown of the elections up at the Boston Review.

And this morning University of Georgia professor of political science, Keith Poole, is hosting a conference with John Petrocik on the 2010 midterms. The event is streaming live here and you can find a program of the day-long event here. [Bob Erikson is speaking right now as a part of the Public Opinion and Elections panel.]

Are you following FHQ on Twitter and/or Facebook? Click on the links to join in.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Newt on 2012: "We'll See"

Well, at least someone on UGA's campus had the gumption to ask the question I would have had I not had a laptop on my lap in a cramped balcony seat miles away from the nearest microphone. If a group from the School of Public and International Affairs won't ask then someone from the law school will.

That's apparently what happened. Gingrich had to finish up the Getzen Lecture and reception and move on to a similar engagement at the law school.

...where he was asked about 2012 among other things.

Here's the exact answer from the AP: "We'll see," he said about a possible presidential bid. "I want to focus for another year or two on how many solutions can we develop that are real and powerful."

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Live Blog: UGA Getzen Lecture featuring Newt Gingrich

Wrap Up: A very interesting lecture from someone who is high on the FHQ Elite Eight list for 2012. Some things mentioned to me at the reception afterward:

"Where were the solutions?"

"He was more partisan than I thought he would be."

Both were true and aren't necessarily mutually exclusive. Several times Gingrich mentioned not getting into things because of time constraints. You can understand that, but when you're talking about such a fundamental restructuring of the federal government, people are generally going to want specifics. Of course, those were some of the same specifics people wanted from Obama throughout 2008. But that's life on the campaign trail.

Gingrich has a vision, but how compelling that story is -- in view of 2012 that is -- will depend on how Obama has been viewed. If Obama's version of change hasn't actually changed that much in Washington and across the country, that'll make a sweeping vision like Gingrich's much more palatable -- not that it isn't already. And this could be an interesting clash in 2012. Obama as the "government can work for you" candidate against Gingrich as the "government is inefficient if it is filtered through a broken bureaucratic system" candidate.

And what about that Jindal mention? Of course, that was couched after the fact as "Jindal won't be John McCain's age until after 2040." In other words, this guy's a future leader in the GOP.

I'll be back shortly with some more thoughts.

4:08pm: Ends on the Second Amendment.

4:04pm: Israel and Iran?
A: "Would not be shocked if Israel took pre-emptive action."

4:00pm: Government Shutdown?
A: It was healthy. "I have a different view on this than the media. We were the only Republican majority reelected when a Democratic president was being elected."

A: Again, back to the bureaucracy. "Show me a bureaucracy that operates like the Toyota mode of production."

3:57pm: Global warming?
A: Green Conservatism (Contract with the Earth): Unelected Supreme Court and an unelected bureaucracy making these decisions. Carbon tax is akin to helping fuel China.

3:55pm: de Tocqueville's soft tyranny in the US?
A: Paraphrasing: A government that can fire the head of GM is a government to be feared.

3:51pm: Future of the GOP?
A: Name-dropping: Bobby Jindal!
GOP has to: 1) Worry about the GOP and not America.
2) Solutions, solutions, solutions
3) Work to bring together those who are not committed to a hard left ideology.

3:47pm: How would you describe America to the rest of the world given Obama's statement about American having been arrogant on the world stage?
A: Yes, there has been some arrogance, but would tell Europe that we are "partners in freedom," that the Europeans have to provide some help and not just talk.

3:41pm: Obama's foreign policy?
A: "I think he had a bad trip [abroad]." The French and Germans didn't give anything. North Korea tests a missile just before Obama is set to deliver a speech on nuclear disarmament.

Obama is at a defining moment. He has a choice between being Jimmy Carter and learning nothing or being John Kennedy and learning that the world is a tough place.

3:40pm: Q&A!

3:39pm: Everything hinges on fundamentally changing the way in which the government works, especially the bureaucracy.

3:35pm: The bottom line here is that outcome-based implementation of metrics can work to fix the bureaucracy around foreign policy, education, etc. to prevent the failure of the American civilization. In this case, we're talking about the US as the top nation in a unipolar world.

3:32pm: Values --> Vision --> Metrics --> Strategy

3:30pm: Nate Silver may like this talk. Gingrich just cited Moneyball as a good use of metrics.

3:27pm: Real change takes will-power. In the New York case of implementing this metrics-based reworking of the law enforcement bureaucracy, it meant manipulating the bureaucracy; forcing the old school thought process and people out.

3:21pm: The metrics approach to the bureaucracy management is borrowed from Giuliani's New York model.
3:19pm: Problems in foreign policy are similar to what the US faces in terms of health care: The bureaucracy is broken.

3:15pm: Hints of responsible parties here. A cohesive national party message. Not in 1994 with the Contract with America, but in 1980 with what Gingrich calls the 5 Capitol Steps.

3:10pm: Two questions: What is it that America has to do to survive (as a civilization)? How do you convince the American people to go along with it?

3:05pm: Topic: Effective American Policy in an Increasingly Dangerous World

3:00pm: Alright, we're waiting through the introduction of Mr. Gingrich here live in the UGA Chapel. It is difficult for FHQ to approach anything like this without a view toward 2012, so we'll be covering this with an eye toward that election.

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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Debate Last Night

The debate that I moderated last night between the UGA College Republicans and Young Democrats was an interesting affair. We had the hall for 90 minutes and broke things down in to segments of about 8 minutes each (Well, they were supposed to have been 8 minutes each.). Both sides got two minutes to answer the question posed and that was followed up by about 2-4 minutes of cross talk. As I said yesterday, the intent was to split the event into equal parts foreign policy and domestic affairs. The guy who was moderating, though, was a bit liberal with the time allowed and let it get away from them more often than not. As a result most of the evening was spent discussing issues in the domestic sphere (...much to the chagrin of one of the College Republican panelists who also happened to be an international affairs major. All the moderator could say was, "What do you expect from an Americanist?").

I'll reproduce the question list below, but will tell you that we were able to cover immigration, candidate experience, redistribution of wealth, energy, education, the economy, Iran and checks and balances. I had planned to close by asking who each side thought would win nationally and in Georgia and why/how, but opted to close with the checks and balances question instead. The moderator in me overruled the political strategist on that final question as time waned. Plus, I was likely to have gotten partisan rather than thoughtful responses -- not that the two can't overlap -- which would have lacked any real entertainment value.

It was funny. As the crowd was filing in, I was sitting in the back of the hall going over my notes and got to hear some good lines. Two girls (I hate saying that, but saying college-aged women sounds kind of silly, though, perhaps more accurate.) were talking about how it was like a wedding, having to choose which side to sit on. I had already been thinking about this and, to me, there were more people opting for the left than the right. That seemed to be where the crowd was throughout the evening. Democratic one liners got a better response and edgy Republican comments were vocally derided. [I seriously considered jokingly leading off by revealing, in true moderator fashion, that the audience had been warned about vocal reactions, but thought better of it. There are only so many jokes you can fit in and I already had a Joe the Plumber reference.]

As to the debate itself, I'm sure everyone is interested in my opinion of who won. When my sister asked me this morning, I said me (...because I had not succumbed to stage fright beforehand. How like a politician: setting the bar low before an event.). In all seriousness, though, I think it is probably beyond my pay grade -- to borrow a phrase -- to call out students and critique them on their performances (I do enough of that already.). I thought both sides did well, but like any of the four debates we just witnessed, there was a fair amount of question dodging and reliance on stump speech material. But hey, if the people at the top do it, I can't begrudge any of the panelists for doing the same. [Heck, it wasn't like I was Jim Lehrer up there.] More than anything the night was about information and I'd like to think that the discussion that took place on stage helped to get some additional information out there to students at UGA.

But the evening was enjoyable and I appreciated the University Union contacting me and allowing me to participate.

Below are the questions I used (or would have used had we had more time or a more disciplined moderator). I was able to sneak Rob's socialism/liberalism and conservatism/libertarianism question into the discussion of redistribution. That one got set up better than I had hoped when one of the Republican panelists brought up not only socialism but went beyond that to invoke communism, even quoting Karl Marx. That led to a good exchange.

The only reason that I didn't get to use Daniel's was because it came in after I had already completed the set of questions for the night. That one is on me. I probably should have put a deadline in with the original call for questions.
Debate Questions
I Immigration
One issue that has been lost in the campaign this year is the issue of immigration. That is due in large part to the relative proximity of the two candidates on how to deal with it and McCain's divergence from some within the Republican Party. On the one side is the wall along the United States' southern border with Mexico and on the other is talk of granting amnesty to illegal immigrants. Where do John McCain and Barack Obama fit in on that spectrum and how will each deal with the issue over the course of the next four years?

II Experience
From some of the student questions I received, I saw that experience is still an issue that is on people's minds. Early on, this looked like a race that would potentially be shaped based on the age vs. experience question. Was McCain too old and did Obama lack the experience necessary to deal with the serious problems facing the nation. The Sarah Palin selection added a twist to this discussion, but is this still an issue and how will it affect each after January 20th?

III Redistribution/Socialism
This one comes to us from our good friend Joe the Plumber. Obviously, the McCain campaign has tried to make an issue – whether successful or not – of Obama's response about the idea of redistribution of wealth. At the heart of this is the divide between the two parties on how much and in what ways the federal government should intervene on economic issues. But what does this mean, a redistribution of wealth? What wealth and where will it be redistributed?

Since we're talking government intervention, I'd like to take a step back and talk a little about basic questions of ideology. I often run my 1101 students through the paces on ideology, but I think it would be instructive to give that discussion a potential real world application. To my friends on the right, what is the difference between a conservative and a libertarian? And to the folks on the left, what is the difference between a liberal and a socialist?

IV Energy
Whether its drill baby drill or adding new green collar jobs to our economy, alternative forms of energy are high on the lists of priorities of both John McCain and Barack Obama. What is the most cost-effective combination of these various ideas to deal with the United States' current energy problems.

V Education
I wanted to talk about something related to education. We are at an institution of higher learning after all. And I'd like to confine our discussion to that area. At least some of the folks in this room are facing student loan repayments when they are done at UGA and among the others there are HOPE scholarship recipients whose scholarships – and this may be something faced by future students more than those here in the hall tonight – may be threatened because of the rising cost of higher education. What are each of the major candidate's doing to address the issue of college affordability?

VI Economy
This question was posed to the candidates in all four debates this year and I don't know that the American people got a solid answer to it at any point during any of those affairs. However, I think that we may be able to come up with some ideas tonight. There's always a lot of promises in political campaigns, but in light of the current economic situation, what are some of the things that are most likely going to be on the cutting room floor once one of these two gentlemen assumes the office of the presidency?

VII Iran
Iran. Diplomacy or military intervention? There's been a lot of talk about conditions and pre-conditions for sitting down with certain world leaders, but obviously, the Islamic Republic's development of nuclear technology is a huge consideration in dealing with Iran. But what is the point of no return? At what point in that nation's nuclear development does it become necessary for military intervention to be seriously considered?

VIII Israel
I'm glad Israel came up in that last exchange/I'm surprised Israel didn't come up in that exchange because that is where I'd like to turn now. The Iran question is very much intertwined with the Israel question simply because of their ties to the Palestinians opposite the Israelis on the dispute over the territory in the Holy Land. What should the US role be in the Israeli/Palestinian dispute and how should that approach be tempered by the question of Iran's interest in the issue as well?

IX Trade
Charges of protectionism and unfair trade have been bandied about throughout this campaign – even stretching back to the primary contests in the winter and spring. What can be done to alter the trade regimes currently in place so that they successfully tread the line between the two extremes represented by the charges levied in this contest – protectionism and unfair trade?

X Humanitarian Intervention
The US military is stretched pretty much to its limit currently. Given that reality and its intersection with the economic downturn has the United States' ability to deal with current humanitarian crises and those that may arise in the future been compromised? Like a lot of things, this is a question of degrees. Under what circumstances is it necessary for the US to intervene to create some solution to humanitarian issues?

XI Checks and Balances
I wanted to end on a bit of a broad note. No matter who wins next week, the next president will have to deal with what is projected to be an overwhelming Democratic majority in both houses of Congress. 250 seats in the House and possibly a filibuster-proof majority of 60 in the Senate. If McCain wins how will he be able to govern effectively without a wholesale shift toward the left? And if Obama wins, what will he have to do to keep the various factions of the Democratic majority on the same page when dealing with the issues that face the nation?

XII Closing Question
Who is going to win both nationally and here in Georgia and why?

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Monday, October 27, 2008

Debate Tonight

No, not that kind of debate. Obama's Wednesday night primetime affair is the only [scheduled] high-profile campaign event this week.

However, tonight FHQ is moderating a debate between the College Republicans and Young Democrats on campus here at UGA. [It isn't on the level of the Colbert Report, et al. but it is monumental enough that I taken to using the third person when describing my participation in it.] Anyway, I don't want to totally outsource the resposibility*, but I'd like to open it up here and see what kind of questions our readers and frequent contributors would like to see asked in such a context. If you're like me you submitted at least one hundred questions on MySpace in the hopes that one would be chosen for the town hall debate in Nashville earlier this month. But also like me, you were likely disappointed when one wasn't chosen. Well, now you have the opportunity to submit questions to a panel of partisans from each side of the aisle who aren't even "officially" representing either campaign. [Oh, I'm supposed to be convincing you to actually post questions.]

Here are the rules for submission:
1) There are two broad topic areas, foreign and domestic.
2) We are steering clear of social issues in an effort to tamp down the number of fist fights outside the hall this evening.
Other than that, everything else is fair game. But I will add one additional rule since our contributors tend to lean toward the left (though our readers may come from a broader range on the ideological spectrum):
3) No gotcha questions.
Though there won't be a live blog of the festivities, I'll have a wrap up post up in the morning (so you can see if your question was chosen.).

*I should note that there are student-submitted questions as well.

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