Mason in the News

Posted: October 31, 2008 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

Following are highlights of national news coverage Mason recently received.

Sunday, Oct. 19, CTV (Canada)

Colin Powell Endorses Obama

Solon Simmons, assistant professor at the Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution, appeared on CTV to discuss the significance of Secretary of State Colin Powell’s public endorsement of Barack Obama and how it addresses those moderates who were questioning Obama’s identity.

Friday, Oct. 24, New York Times

Pompeii Style, B.C.E. (Before Catastrophic Eruption)

“Many [things] come to mind when wandering through ‘Pompeii and the Roman Villa: Art and Culture Around the Bay of Naples,’ at the National Gallery here. The villas of the richest and most powerful Romans had private theaters, sports arenas and spa facilities ? antecedents of the hedge-fund palaces with private skating rinks and museums that define present-day Greenwich, Conn. Pompeii was destroyed by seismic activity rather than credit-default swaps, but there are some eerie parallels between its frozen-in-time culture of excess and our own staggering economy. Organized by Carol C. Mattusch, a professor of art history at George Mason University, the exhibition includes recent discoveries on view in the United States for the first time, as well as finds from excavations dating to the mid-18th century.”

Saturday, Oct. 25, Las Vegas Sun

2 Palin Crowds, 2 Differing Sign-of-the-Times Moments

“The mood at September’s rally for Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin was electric, near fervent. Palin’s rally in Reno this week, just over a month since her first Northern Nevada visit, was different. ‘Whenever someone new hits the political scene, there’s an initial burst of interest and excitement,’ said Michael McDonald, an associate professor who specializes in elections and voting at George Mason University. McDonald argues that when a new person emerges on the national stage, voters project themselves onto him or her. ‘We take all our hopes and aspirations and think the politician shares them,’ McDonald said. ‘It’s inevitable we’ll be disappointed when we find out there’s only one person just like you. It’s you. As people get to know her, expectations and enthusiasm come down.’”

Sunday, Oct. 26, Chicago Tribune

Meltdown Will Hobble Next President’s 100-day Sprint: Economy Will Dictate Next Leader’s Moves

“Ever since Franklin Roosevelt took office with the passage of a torrent of historic legislation, the first 100 days of a new presidency have taken on a mythic significance as a moment to set the tone for a new White House and enact signature laws. But with the huge cost of the Wall Street bailout and a ballooning budget deficit that could be worsened by recession, resources will be sharply constrained this time. ‘Both [McCain and Obama] have promised many policy initiatives,’ said James Pfiffner, a public policy professor at George Mason University and author of a book on presidential transitions. ‘But it’s highly unlikely either one of them could get a lot of important legislation through Congress in the first year, particularly when Congress is so polarized.’”

Sunday, Oct. 26, New York Times

At Pundit School, Learning to Smile and Interrupt

“Journalists once had to achieve a certain gravitas before appearing on television as a political expert, but not anymore. Thanks to the 24-hour news cycle, a riveting presidential election and the proliferation of cable channels, [younger reporters] are finding themselves in hot demand. This election cycle has been particularly good to new political reporters: The youth vote is a hot topic, one of the candidates is under 50 and the Internet has given newcomers, particularly bloggers, a powerful forum. Cable news has always lusted after young viewers and on-air talent, but this year bookers are looking for talking heads who are positively baby-faced. Trevor Butterworth, a senior fellow at the Center for Media and Public Affairs at George Mason University, coined the term ‘premature pundits’ to refer to the young journalists now appearing on television. ‘The combination of ambition and naïveté allows them to say things that with slightly more age and wisdom you’d be embarrassed to say,’ he said.”

Tuesday, Oct. 28, New York Times

McCain Campaign Cites Comments in 2001 on Courts in Attack on Obama

“The McCain campaign and Republicans on Monday seized on a seven-year-old interview that Senator Barack Obama gave about the courts and civil rights, contending it provided further evidence of Mr. Obama’s extremist economic positions. David E. Bernstein, a law professor at George Mason University who has been critical of Mr. Obama in the past, noted that Mr. Obama’s comments amounted to a criticism of ‘the strategy pursued by the elite lawyers of the 1960s to constitutionalize welfare rights.’ However, he said it was typical of Mr. Obama to be so vague as to leave open to interpretation whether the critique was philosophical or pragmatic.”

Tuesday, Oct. 28, Washington Post

Obama Win Wouldn’t End Racism but It Could Be Beginning of Its End

“There’s utter amazement at the prospect of Barack Obama becoming president, the son of an African father and white mother from Kansas who seems divinely favored with temperament, talent and timing. There is also apprehension over reports that blacks are being unjustly stricken from voter registration rolls across the country ? an unsavory reminder that election outcomes can be manipulated. ‘If Obama loses, there will be great disappointment in black America unlike anything we have seen before,’ Roger Wilkins, professor emeritus of American history at George Mason University, told me recently. ‘We would be crushed and we would be walking around in circles on Wednesday morning.’”

Wednesday, Oct. 29, New York Times

Early Voting and Exit Polls

“At this point, predicting how big a portion early voting will represent in the final turnout (or in the exit polls) remains difficult. Michael McDonald, an associate professor at George Mason University who will be working with the exit poll organization on Election Day, likened the historical early voting trend to turning on a spigot that would start off as a trickle and then increase. ‘What we don’t know in this election is if that faucet analogy is really great here,’ he said, noting the eye-popping numbers earlier this week. ‘There could’ve been a backup of pressure in the pipe and as soon as we turned on the spigot, we had a flood.’”

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