Thursday, November 5, 2009
Walker’s love affair with tax cuts won’t save state
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A year after historic election, students stay involved in politics
Nov. 3, 2009
A year ago, Crystal Lee recalls running around Madison in a John McCain T-shirt, reminding people to vote and handing out campaign door hangers.
Meanwhile, Molly Rivera was among the hundreds of University of Wisconsin-Madison students volunteering in the State Street campaign office for Barack Obama, knocking on doors and making phone calls to get out the vote.
"On election day, it was 12 straight hours of work," says Rivera, a junior and now chairwoman of the UW-Madison College Democrats.
“Whether it’s seeing their car insurance rates go up, or rises in tuition ... they’re starting to question how that works and getting involved in campaigns and at the state Capitol.”
Kristen Wall, UW-Madison senior and vice chairwoman of the Wisconsin Federation of College Republicans
It's hard to match the energy of election day — and the weeks leading up to the end of a campaign — but one year after young voters like Lee and Rivera surged to the polls, the historic 2008 campaign has sparked an ongoing interest in politics among students.
Still, the number of students getting involved isn't as high as it was in 2008, and campus political leaders say their biggest challenge is motivating students to debate and advocate for issues.
"You have more impact on foot, on the ground," says Lee, a senior and chairwoman of the UW-Madison College Republicans. "It's harder to get people to come and listen to someone talk."
Doing that involves adding some elements of fun, they say.
"Political involvement isn't dead just because it isn't an election year," says Sean Becker, a sophomore who coordinates monthly "speed debating" nights at the Memorial Union.
On the anniversary of his election Wednesday, Obama will be in Madison for a visit to a local school and a talk about education.
The 2008 results represented a high-water mark for participation by young voters. More than 22 million people under age 30 cast ballots in 2008, making turnout among young voters in 2008 one of the highest ever recorded, according to the Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning & Engagement. That was 2 million more votes than the nation's youngest voters cast in 2004, making them the age group with the greatest increase in turnout last year.
In Wisconsin, turnout among voters under age 30 was 57.5 percent, compared with nearly 75 percent of adults over age 30.
Younger voters engage in issues in different ways than older adults, talking about issues on Facebook and Twitter, and getting Jon Stewart's take on political events, says UW-Madison political science professor Katherine Cramer Walsh. They've also come of age in an era marked by wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, high partisanship and severe economic downturn, Walsh says.
"It can turn people off, but it can also be very engaging. For the most part, it definitely has created interest," Walsh says. "It's been a time when public affairs has been a hot topic...there's always been something in the news."
Much of the interest among young people in last year's election was launched first on energy from the Obama campaign, which was a special draw to young voters, and then driven by candidates' use of social networking, student leaders on both sides of the political aisle say.
Wisconsin's Election Day registration law also makes it easy for the highly transient student population to vote.
A year later, Obama stickers still adorn students' water bottles and coffee mugs, Walsh says. But leaders of the College Democrats and College Republicans report that about 30 to 50 members turn up for regular meetings, and each has an e-mail list with thousands of students who want to receive updates on activities.
Rivera says she thinks students are just as interested in politics and President Obama as they were last year, but "the difference is when a student signs up to work on a campaign, they can really see the results of their work."
Kristen Wall, a senior and vice chairwoman of the Wisconsin Federation of College Republicans, says students are starting to see how actions by lawmakers, especially at the state level, can affect their lives.
"Whether it's seeing their car insurance rates go up, or rises in tuition ... they're starting to question how that works and getting involved in campaigns and at the state Capitol," Wall says.
This fall, health care is the hot topic among students.
Last month, the College Republicans hosted a Halloween party where members ate candy and wrote letters to their congressional representatives arguing for a more measured approach to health care reform than is being proposed by Democratic leaders, Lee says.
Their counterparts in the College Democrats sponsored a health care action week with events that ranged from a panel of experts discussing reform to a viewing of the Michael Moore movie, "Sicko," says Jamie Stark, a sophomore from Green Bay and vice chairman of the College Democrats.
At the Union's speed debating nights, organizers write questions about a certain topic — say, foreign policy — and put them in cups on tables. A group of about five or six people sits down at a table to choose a slip and debate that question for about 15 minutes, Becker says. When time is up, people switch to a new table with people they haven't debated yet.
"It's a mix of a social fun thing and a way that people can really address some of these issues," he says. "People are educated and know about these things, but sometimes they don't have the forum to speak their minds."
Campus political activity isn't limited to the two major parties. Young Americans for Liberty is a spinoff of the 2008 presidential campaign of U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, who built a network of support from young voters during last year's primaries.
That network has morphed into about 150 chapters of the Young Americans for Liberty, says Shawn Kuhn, a junior and director of public relations for Young Americans for Liberty. About 30 UW-Madison students meet regularly to talk about their push for fiscal conservatism, and the group hosted a protest over the national debt on Library Mall last month, he says.
Next year's midterm elections loom, and campus political leaders are starting to put together the framework for students to work on campaigns next year.
Some candidates are already courting student voters. Republican Scott Walker, the Milwaukee County executive running for governor, will visit campus Tuesday, and his opponent, former U.S. Rep. Mark Neumann, is taking steps to form a group of supporters on campus, Lee says. College Democrats are preparing to help U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin, a Madison Democrat, defend her seat.
"People realize were only a year out from the election cycle and it's time to get involved," Wall says.
Read the article here.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
This sparked major controversy among many of the news anchors, specifically Fox News Sunday anchor Chris Wallace, who recently was snubbed by the Obama administration when the president appeared on all major Sunday shows, but failed to appear on Fox News Sunday.
For the White House to declare that a news network is not a news network is unprecedented. Of course there is going to be friction between any White House and the press, but to publicly single out one network for their reporting is unnecessary and uncalled for.
This begs the question, why is the White House so concerned with Fox News? A favorite tactic among liberals, the White House is attempting to marginalize Fox News in order to undermine any legitimate news stories that come out against the administration. While it is a valiant attempt by all those involved, from Anita Dunn to David Axelrod, it appears the attempt has been in vain. As cited by the Huffington Post, not exactly a conservative news outlet, Fox News has dominated the cable news rating since Obama has taken office.
The statistics do not lie. Though the White House might try to convince themselves that Fox News is just a phony news organization made up of fringe ideologues, they are utterly mistaken.
Of course, the White House is having some self-image problems. With no major accomplishments nine months into his term, Obama must look to shift attention off of his own shortcomings in hope of gaining back public approval, which has fallen drastically over the last few months.
So the blame game begins, but is it hurting Americans? The healthcare debate rages on, the unemployment rate is approaching 10%, and the war in Afghanistan is in dire need of attention. Does the average American really care about the childish game the White House is playing with Fox News? I don’t think so.
So I offer you a sincere request Mr. President. Fulfill your promise of “change” and transcend partisan politics. Focus on the interests of the nation rather than your own political interests. It will be better for you and will surely be better for the country.
For more click here.
-- Written by Freshman CR Tommy Loduca, member of the CR Public Relations Committee
Monday, September 14, 2009
Our executive board as a whole has agreed, as Stephen Duerst - PR chair - has outlined in an article for the Daily Cardinal:
"The College Republicans have also agreed to shift the political focus away from social issues that were predominantly highlighted in the past by the organization to an agenda that generates more awareness about the current economic issues facing the U.S. The Executive Board has agreed that now, more than ever, students need to be aware of fiscally responsible ideas and why they are a better fit for the nation." View the full article here
I know I speak for more than myself in saying that we are all very excited for the new direction the College Republicans are taking. This is going to be a great year for all conservatives, as well as republicans on this campus!
"Using the recent trend of advocating “change” in government, the UW College Republicans support a complete change of administration at the state Capitol. Without a Democratic incumbent in the 2010 race, the race is wide-open for qualified Republican candidates to inherit and remedy Doyle’s tradition of fiscal irresponsibility and lack of accountability. Republicans will bring transparency and responsible spending back to the state while improving the quality of governance in Wisconsin."
Read the rest of the article here http://badgerherald.com/oped/2009/09/03/republicans_ready_fo.php