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Union University Department of Political Science
Department of Political Science

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PSC Profs Discuss the Obama Administration

Nov 7, 2008

Last night, Union's political science professors discussed the election results and what an Obama Administration would look like. Dr. Evans began by commenting on the historic nature of Obama's victory and that only in America could someone from a group denied the right 50 years ago, be elected president today.

Dr. Evans then discussed the election results and said that the election was a rejection of Bush and the Republicans. 71% of the public disapproved of Bush and they voted more than 2 to 1 for Obama. And even though McCain kept the race close, the financial crisis in mid September was the tipping point as the public blamed Republicans and Bush for all the country's problem. And since the economy was the most important issue to 63% of the public, there was no way that Republicans could overcome that. Moreover, the GOP lost double digit seats in Congress for the first time since the Great Depression as they have lost 55 House seats and at least 12 Senate seats the past two years.

From there Dr. Evans discussed the problems facing the GOP as it is an older, more rural, more white, and more Southern party while the country is moving in the opposite direction. From there, he discussed generally how Obama would govern. While Obama's inclinations are liberal and the congressional party is liberal and will push him in that direction, Obama will most likley to pursue a more pragmatic course as seen in the choice of Congressman Rahm Emmanuel as Chief of Staff.

Next, Dr. Cooney discussed how foreign policy will change under Obama. He said that Obama and the Democrats will own Iraq on Jan. 21 and that he may have to revise his plans for a pull out within 16 months based on the security situation because he does not want to see Iraq fall into more trouble. He also mentioned that while Obama would like to shift more troops to Afghanistan that it would be difficult to locate Osama bin Laden. He then discussed how ties to Europe would be closer since Democrats have a more a natural affinity with Europe's social democratic ideals. However, Cooney suggested that Asia views Obama as weak and may be inclined to challenge him. Next, Cooney discussed how his plans to renegotiate treaties like NAFTA with allies may not go over well and if he persists, that could lead to trouble.

Next, Dr. Watson talked about the direction of an Obama Administration in domestic politics. Watson noted that Obama ran as a centrist by promising tax cuts and took that issue from the Republicans. He then discussed how Obama's economic policies tend to reflect John Rawls difference principle from his Theory of Justice. Next, Watson discussed how Democrats might pursue the Freedom of Choice Act which would lift all restrictions on abortion, cut money to pregnancy crisis centers, repeal the Hyde Admendment, and appoint judges who are liekly to empathize with the poor, gays, blackss, and other disadvantaged when interpreting the constitution. From here, he discussed how Obama will probably get to appoint several Supreme Court Justices but just as importantly many lower court judges who may still serve on the bench twenty years from now.

After making their presentations, the professors then took questions from the audience on Obama's priorities, problems facing the GOP bouncing back, energy independence, and other questions.