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Caleb Slinkard Journalism 214 Fred Stewart

A&M-Commerce Political Profile
Texas A&M University-Commerce is home to a diverse group of people, each with their own unique political view. For the majority of students, 2008 was the first time for them to vote for in a presidential election. The policy decisions made by this president and his cabinet will directly affect these students once they graduate and begin to search for jobs and places to live. What will the economy be like in a year, or four? How hard will it be to get a loan for a car or a home once they graduate? What about social security or health insurance? As first-time voters, these students are entering a political world torn apart by controversy. Throughout the most recent presidential campaigns, candidates addressed what they thought the key issues were? But what issues do people really care about? If you were to stop an A&M-Commerce student on the sidewalk and ask them about their political beliefs, what would they say? I've interviewed four faculty and three students to get a taste of A&M-Commerce politics. Their opinions reflect a wide variety of backgrounds, religious, and political views.

Here are the two questions I asked: 1. What are the biggest issues facing president-elect Barack Obama? 2. How should he go about facing them?

Participants: 1. Elisha Hollis, Senior, Politcal Science Major, Republican 2. Dr. Ray Green, Director of Honors College, Liberal 3. Ashley Johnson, publications writer, A&M-Commerce, Republican

4. Anonymous A&M-Commerce faculty 5. Anonymous, Senior, Social Work Major, Republican 6. Dr. John Smith, History Professor, Independent Liberal 7. Joel Auringer, Freshman Music Performance Major, Libertarian

The participants went into great detail with the questions, so I've decided to list their responses to several of the issues that came up.

The War on Terror
Hollis: I think the biggest issues facing president elect Barack Obama would probably be what direction to pursue in Iraq and Afghanistan... In Iraq, I think if he wants to pull troops out he needs to take longer then he has been talking. Pulling troops out is possible but I think he shouldn't just yank them out and let the country fall back into bad hands.

Smith: Clearly the biggest issue is the failing economy, with the "War on Terror" being a close second...As for the War on Terror, Obama should step up our withdrawal from Iraq, refocus on Afghanistan, and put more effort into intelligence-gathering and diplomacy.

Hollis: On the economy, I think he should stay away from socializing medicine, especially with the terrible state of our economy it would only lead the nation into deeper national debt. Maybe some other method might be possible where the poor can receive aid but still leave most people on private insurance. I think his best bet is not to make rash decisions in the process of bringing "change". Its a nice idea but it can lead to very dangerous problems in the future.

Anonymous student: I really don't know how he should go about changing the economy, since the presidency is not my job, because it's his job since he's the "professional". We'll see if he knows what he's really doing, since he's been all talk and had NO chance to walk. His walk is already too loud that I can't hear him talk!

Green: His biggest problem is the economy and its spiral toward oblivion. I do think that it is an opportunity though to fix another issue - our decayed infrastructure. A number of reports have come out in the last year concerning the sad state of our highways and bridges. We don't need a public works initiative the size of FDR, but here is a way to employ people during a downturn and get something back for the money.

Smith: I think that Congress should approve an alternate bailout plan that would basically pay off all mortgages going back to 2000 and are for original amounts no greater than $250,000, as well as all federal student loans going back to 1990. The money could go straight to banks and lending institutions, which would clear all relevant accounts as "paid in full," and the banks would still have money to lend out. The extra income households would then have could go toward paying off credit cards (which sends more money to the banks) or other debts, or could go toward purchasing a new car, durable goods, and leisure/luxury items (I'd bet this would boost travel and tourism, as folks would go on vacations and spend lots of money in the service sector, thus maintaining as well as creating jobs). People with paid-off mortgages could opt to buy a new home, which would probably stimulate the housing sector again.

Johnson: He needs to start day one with a game plan that breathes life into the economy, or outlines the specific steps required to do so.

Auringer: The economy, most certainly, is the biggest problem he faces, but it's not Obama's constitutional right to handle much more than signing or vetoing bills. His attempts to expand our government are unwelcome. Government couldn't and shouldn't save the economy. He should sign legislation that he supports but otherwise leave us alone.

Johnson: While the defense of marriage act and abortion rights are not the most pressing concerns, they could prove to be the most polarizing issues, taking away many of the conservative votes Obama will need in 2012.

Anonymous faculty: The biggest issue facing Barack Obama is the issue facing our country....the moral decline of our country and the breakdown of strong families. Families form the backbone of our society and as they go, so goes our country. I do not believe that Obama recognizes this as a problem. His definition of family is quite loose; he will not make efforts to strengthen traditional families or support them. Children being raised by parents who do support traditional Christian values will be challenged even more as morals are defined in relative terms instead of "right" and "wrong" absolutes.

Hollis: I think he is going to have a reality check when he gets to office. I don't think he actually has the ability to make all the changes he says he is going to make. I also don't think there is any one perfect way for him to work on the issues.

Anonymous Student: One of the (if not the biggest issues facing Obama is being the President. I don't think he can do it. He's just doing too many extreme things that he's not really going to focus on

the economy, which is his biggest issue. It's his problem now, not Bush's problem. So, if he's going to pull us out of this mess, he better change his little agenda of raising taxes.

Johnson: He also needs to show that his lack of experience in foreign affairs will not hinder the U.S.'s relations with other, politically unsteady countries.

This is not a comprehensive poll of A&M-Commerce students. Rather, it was designed as a way to measure the political spectrum here at Commerce. The results demonstrate that despite the variety of world views, most people had similar opinions when it came to the major issues, or at least similar opinions on what