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Center for Policy Studies

Public Affairs Discussion Group

SARKOBAMA: Two Presidential Elections in a Time of Crisis

Joseph White, Ph.D. - Chair, Department of Political Science, Luxenberg Family Professor of Public Policy, Professor of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, and the Director of the Center for Policy Studies at Case Western Reserve University
Friday April 20, 2012
12:30-1:30 p.m.
Dampeer Room
Kelvin Smith Library
Case Western Reserve University

Dear Colleagues:

The second of 2012's three major election contests will see its first voting on Sunday, April 22, as the French go to the polls for the first round of their presidential election. Current polls project that incumbent Nicholas Sarkozy of the center-right UMP party, and Socialist Party challenger Francois Hollande, will progress to the second round on May 6. Hollande is favored to win the run-off. But questions about turnout - as many as a third of the voters might not show up - and deep voter skepticism about all candidates suggest that one should not dismiss the possibility of a surprise.

Both the French and U.S. elections feature incumbents who are not viewed as successes, in a context of economic crisis that ought to provoke deep debate about how their countries can fit into the current world economy. In his personal life Hollande is quite different from Mitt Romney, and that shows some of the differences between France and the United States. But he is widely seen as no more inspiring than the presumptive Republican nominee, and in both cases the election is looking largely like a referendum on the incumbent, who must respond by trying to scare the voters about the challenger.

For this Friday's discussion, therefore, I will start a discussion on what the French and U.S. elections, both featuring incumbents who are not viewed as successes and challengers who excite hardly anyone, might tell us about the broader challenges of governing during the economic crisis, and the peculiarities of both the French and U.S. political scenes.

Very best regards,
Joe White
Luxenberg Family Professor of Public Policy and Director, Center for Policy Studies

About Our Guest...

Joe White will not claim to be a credentialed scholar of French politics, but did spend 2010-11 on sabbatical in Paris, does work on how advanced industrial countries seek to govern their economies, and hopes he can at least start a good discussion. His work on French health policy gives him some perspective on some of the ways that the French think about government, such as the ways in which Sarkozy's identification as "American" in style can be both a weakness and strength. He hopes that members of the community who know more about French politics will join in the speculation.

White's research focuses on U.S. budget politics and policy, U.S. health care reform; politics and policy choices involving Social Security and Medicare; and health care politics and policy in other rich democracies. His most recent publication is a chapter on health care reform for Le Bilan d'Obama (The Obama Balance Sheet), edited by Olivier Richomme and Vincent Michelot, Les Presses de Sciences Po (Paris: 2012).

Where We Meet

The Friday Public Affairs Lunch convene each Friday when classes are in session in the Dampeer Room of Kelvin Smith Library from 12:30 pm to 1:30 pm. The Dampeer Room is on the second floor of the library. If you get off the elevators, turn right, pass the first bank of tables, and turn right again. Occasionally we need to use a different room; that will always be announced in the weekly e-mails.

Parking Possibilities

The most convenient parking is the lot underneath Severance Hall. We regret that it is not free. From that lot there is an elevator up to street level (labeled as for the Thwing Center); it is less than 50 yards from that exit to the library entrance. You can get from the Severance garage to the library without going outside. Near the entry gates - just to the right if you were driving out - there is a door into a corridor. Walk down the corridor and there will be another door. Beyond that door you'll find the entrance to an elevator which goes up to an entrance right inside the doors to Kelvin Smith Library.

Friday Lunch Upcoming Topics and Speakers:

April 27: Obama and Alinsky, or: What Happens When a President Thinks Like a Community Organizer. Justin Vaughn, Assistant Professor of Political Science, Cleveland State University
April 17, 2012

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Upcoming Events

Party and Ideology

John Zaller, Professor of Political Science at UCLA, Tuesday April 17, 2012, 4:30-6pm, Room 309, Clark Hall, Case Western Reserve University. Free and Open to the Public. Sponsored by the Center for Policy Studies at Case Western Reserve University.

Anyone who has watched the bitter competition between the Democrats and Republicans in Congress in recent years, or the fight to win the Republican nomination for President this year, might be wondering how to explain the current political party system in the United States. It looks like a period of deep ideological cleavages between the parties, and pretty strict enforcement of some form of ideological correctness at least in one of them. Yet for decades or even centuries scholars of politics have argued that ideological divisions were relatively weak in our elections and legislative process. What is happening, and what has happened?

This may be the central question for understanding the current state of American politics. So it will be a special pleasure to welcome to campus, on April 17, one of the leading and most original scholars of both parties and public opinion in the country, John Zaller.

Political Activities of Exempt Organizations: Dos and Don’ts During an Election Cycle

John E. Anderson Chair in Tax Law at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, Thursday April 19, 2012, 4:30-5:30pm, Room 157, Case Western Reserve University School of Law. Free and Open to the Public. A reception will follow the lecture. The Norman A. Sugarman Memorial Lecture is sponosred by the Mandel Center for Nonprofit Organizations and the CWRU School of Law.

Professor Anderson will evaluate the controversy surrounding PACs, Super PACs and section 501(c)(4) organizations in the current presidential campaign. After describing the rules that now govern the political activities of section 527 organizations and section 501(c)(4) organizations as well as other section 501(c) organizations, she will describe the activities of some specific organizations, to the extent public information is available, and evaluate proposed changes to the law.

April 2012






































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