Mason in the News

Posted: September 19, 2008 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

Following are highlights of national news coverage Mason recently received.

Thursday, Sept. 11, CBS “The Early Show”

Verbal Sparring and Palin’s Impact on Campaign

Michael Fauntroy, associate professor in the School of Public Policy, was interviewed on “The Early Show” about the amount of attention Gov. Sarah Palin has received since becoming the Republican vice presidential candidate. “Part of the reason for [the large amount of attention she has received] is she’s the new kid in school. You know, we know about Barack Obama, John McCain and Joe Biden, and then out of nowhere, seemingly, comes someone who brings a fresh face, is attractive to voters. And I think for that reason she’s riding a wave of attention right now. And so for the McCain campaign, the trick will be to keep the good feelings going through November. We are a celebrity-driven society. Just as Barack Obama in 2004 became an instant celebrity, you know, the same thing is happing right now with Sarah Palin. And so rather than resisting, McCain is saying, ‘Well, wait a second, I may be able to make this work for me.’”

Sunday, Sept. 14, Las Vegas Sun

It’s Not the Issues that Likely Make Up Many Minds

“Roughly 80 percent of voters who lean toward one party or the other and will generally go that way, assuming the candidate meets a reasonable threshold. This is not meant to be an insult. They’re busy. They hate politics. Can’t blame them. ‘The decisive bloc of voters may indeed be people who don’t follow issues, so character may matter quite a bit,’ said Michael McDonald, an expert on voter behavior at the Brookings Institution and George Mason University.”

Sunday, Sept. 14, The Toronto Star

In Complex Times, a Craving for Simplicity

“In an era in which information is progressively more available, and its points of access, through digital technology, exponentially greater, the old chestnuts get as much play as ever. Kissing babies and shaking hands — mainstays of what we’d kindly refer to as a simpler time — remain primary tactics in the repertoire. ‘Among more technically inclined political scientists, there’s a giant literature that tries to explain why the world works as it does, on the assumption that people, on average, understand exactly how things work,’ says Bryan Caplan, a professor of political theory at George Mason University near Washington, D.C., who, in his book ‘The Myth of the Rational Voter,’ argues against exactly that. ‘The view that I think is much more common is, “If most people want something, it must be good,”’ he says. ‘A lot of it is emotion.’”

Monday, Sept. 15, PBS “Newshour”

Political Watchers Answered Your Questions on Battleground Virginia

Mark Rozell, professor of public policy, was interviewed on PBS “Newshour” about recent changes within the state of Virginia and their influence on the presidential election. “I think it’s important to point out that although the Democrats have done well in statewide elections in Virginia in recent election cycles, the party has not won at the presidential level here since 1964. So Virginians are able to break their habit of voting Republican when it comes to a U.S. Senate campaign or a gubernatorial campaign, but they haven’t quite broken the habit of Republican voting at the presidential level. So for the most part, I think that Democratic candidates who have been successful in Virginia have generally run more to the political center and sometimes have positioned themselves as conservatives on social and economic issues, in particular.”

Thursday, Sept. 18, The New York Times

Both Parties Set Sights on Virginia in November

“Eight years ago, Sen. John McCain outraged religious conservatives with a speech here in which he called the evangelical leaders Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson ‘agents of intolerance,’ and described them as exerting an ‘evil influence’ on the Republican Party. This year, as Mr. McCain seeks the presidency as the Republican nominee, memories of that speech threatened to undermine his appeal in Hampton Roads, as this politically pivotal corner of southeastern Virginia is known, despite his strength among veterans and members of the military who make up a large voting bloc here. But all that changed when Mr. McCain, of Arizona, selected Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska, an evangelical Christian, as his running mate. Mark J. Rozell, a political science professor at George Mason University in Fairfax and an expert on the role of the religious right in politics, said he had watched the reaction to Ms. Palin from Christian conservatives in the state on their e-mail groups and blogs. ‘They were thrilled,’ Professor Rozell said. ‘They were grudgingly willing to vote for McCain before, but after the announcement they started saying they were going to start working for the campaign.’”

Write to at