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Wa s h i n g to n Un i ve r s i t y

Political Review
Volume 13, Issue 2, October 2010

Inside the Midterm Elections
An Interview With Nicholas Kristof | The Crucifixion of Charlie Crist | A Nation Drowning | From

Professor to Politician: An Interview with Thomas Schweich | A Few Limericks for Your Reading Pleasure


“If I hear one more Republican tell me about balancing the budget, I am going to strangle them.” — Vice President Biden on matters of the economy and the opposition

61% 54%
Percentage of liberals that believe that a major third party is necessary Percentage of conservatives that believe that a major third part is necessary


9.6% 14
The overall unemployment rate for the month of September—the last month for which unemployment information will be available before the midterm elections

The number of consecutive months for which the jobless rate has equaled or exceeded 9.5%

“I’m not a witch… I’m you.” -Text from a recent Christine O’Donnell campaign ad meant to dispel concerns over whether or not she had once dabbled in witchcraft


26% 41%
The increase in the diagnosis of depression among residents of Gulf Coast-facing counties reported in the period after the oil spill Percentage of Americans that felt stress during September. September was the fourth consecutive month in which Gallup found America’s emotional health to be decreasing “Just this week, we learned that one of the largest groups paying for these ads regularly takes in money from foreign corporations. So groups that receive foreign money are spending huge sums to influence American elections. And they won’t tell you where the money (for) their ads comes from.” -President Obama expressing concerns over GOP ad funding in mid-October

WUPRites, It’s finally here. The silly season is in its last throes. The midterm elections are nearly -- so nearly -- upon us. And, as seems to consistently be the case, this election is being billed as the most important political event of a generation. It doesn’t take much to realize that as important as these elections may prove to be, the outcome can only change so much. The Republicans will probably win the House. It looks unlikely -- if not downright unfathomable -- that they will win the Senate as well. So, yes, there will no doubt be some congressional reshuffling. To equate a shift in congressional majority with real change, however, might be something of a stretch. We must remember that it was only two years ago that President Obama, electoral mandate in-hand, rode down Pennsylvania Avenue on a wave of anticipated change. And, as comprehensive as his policy proposals and charisma had been, even Obama has found fundamental change difficult to muster. So while November 2nd will no doubt be interesting, to call this year’s elections anything more than a future historical footnote appears naïve. Nevertheless, as the cliché goes, things are not always as they seem. Democrats currently face an amorphous movement known as the “Tea Party.” Although its precise nature -- and what exactly its hosts are serving -- remains something of a mystery, that the Tea Party is real is irrefutable. It seems to be pretty important as well. At this point, any straightforward analysis of the Tea Party’s impact is overplayed and, frankly, bound to be underwhelming -- so we’ll spare you. What does need to be said, however, is this: the Tea Party represents a fundamental demographic disparity at play in American politics. While the Tea Party itself has explicitly conservative undertones, its existence and probable success does not point to a heightened clash between the ideological right and the philosophical left. Nor does it indicate some brewing demographic class warfare. Rather, the Tea Party’s continued popularity highlights what Scott Rassmusen refers to as the distinction between the “political class” and “mainstream America,” or what Bill O’Reilly somewhat less technically phrases as the difference between the “elites” and the “folks.” The Tea Party, it seems, has as much to do with tapping into, and representing, a swath of America’s disenfranchised populace as it has to do with putting forth any sort of concrete policy platform. Of course, the Tea Party is a strictly conservative thing. The call to enfranchisement on which it is founded, though, is not. That much is clear. So while this fall’s elections might not, in and of themselves, change all that much, they may challenge America’s political status quo. There will no doubt be some congressional reshuffling and Democrats will be forced to respond. The midterm elections will undoubtedly be important. Will they be the most important political event of a generation? Only time will tell. Editors-In-Chief: Nick Wilbar Josh Truppman

1 3 Nostalgia for a Past Not There Mark Dally Potheads Rejoice California Set to Pass Proposition 19 Michael Cohen The Mosque and the Midterms Lauren Fine Health Care Headaches Corey Donahue Nuclear Renaissance Taka Yamaguchi From Professor to Politician: An Interview with Thomas Schweich Daniel Rubin, Hannah Shaffer 22 Just Listening Anna Applebaum 23 Feeding Frenzy Andrew Luskin 25 The Crucifixion of Charlie Crist Ben Lash 27 For Tea or For Jobs? Explaining the Rise of the Tea Party Steven Perlberg 5 6 7 9

28 A Nation Drowning Siddharth Krishnan 29 An Interview With Nicholas Kristof Anna Applebaum, Jannina Phi 32 L’Affaire Sarkogate Jacqueline Gunn 33 Mission Accomplished in Iraq? Dan Rebnord 35 More Than Just Cigars Alana Hauser 37 It Takes Two Mexico’s One-Sided Discussion Mariana Oliver 39 No Hope, No Peace The Impending Failure of Israeli-Palestinian Talks Emily Hecker 41 Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité...Pour Les Minorités? A Look at the Imminent Effects of France’s Veil Ban Katie Ayanian

11 For Change in the Presidency Alex Kaufman

12 The Tea Might Be Served, but the Party Won’t End Nick Wilbar 13 Why an Independent Matters Jay Evans 15 The Real Deal A Look at Tea Party Races Jake Lichtenfeld 17 A Few Limericks for Your Reading Pleasure Alex Tolkin 18 All Politics is Local Betel Ezaz 19 The Politics of Fear Neel Desai 21 The Forgotten Races Gavin Frisch

Board of Advisers Professor Asad Ahmed Rep Don Calloway Dean Ewan Harrison Robin Hattori Professor Bill Lowry Professor Andrew Rehfeld Editors-In-Chief Josh Truppman Nick Wilbar Director of Design Billy Roh Layout Team Jacqueline Gunn Laura Beckman Audrey Westcott Alana Hauser Louis Liss Carol Iskiwitch Director of Content Michael Brodsky Staff Editors Corey Donahue Hannah Shaffer Anna Applebaum Director of Research Daniel Rubin Art Coordinator Kelsey Eng Managing Copy Editors Cici Coquillette John Moynihan Copy Editors Puneet Kollipara Madeline Enright Mark Dally Sara Fichman-Klein Director of New Media Bryan Baird Taka Yamaguchi Web Editor Siddharth Krishnan Web Designer Will Johnson Treasurer Gavin Frisch Business Manager Amelia Franklin Staff Writers Jacqueline Gunn Neel Desai Jay Evans Matthew Lauer Lauren Fine Betel Ezaz Alex Kaufman Andrew Luskin Tripp Brockway Kirsten Miller Rachel Braun Lennox Mark Mariana Oliver Peter Birke Dan Rebnord Steven Perlberg Katie Ayanian Mark Dally Jannina Phi Alana Hauser Jake Lichtenfeld Michael Cohen Alex Tolkin Ari Sunshine Daniel Rubin Emily Hecker Brooke Yarrows Ben Lash Ben-Parker Goos Eve Herold Seth Einbinder Alison Neuwirth David Klayton Zack Moscowitz Molly McGreggor Front Cover Illustration Christine Stavridis Back Cover Illustration Amelia Fawcett Editorial Illustrators Chandler Ronchetti Christopher Hohl Collette LeMaire Gretchen Oldelm Holly Graham Kelsey Brod Katie Olson Anya Liao Michelle Nahmad Amelia Fawcett Christine Stavridis Stephanie Trimboli Mia Nicole Laura Beckman Hannah Shaffer Grace Preston Godiva Reisenbichler Audrey Westcott The Washington University Political Review is committed to encouraging and fostering awareness of political issues on the campus of Washington University in St. Louis. To do this, we shall remain dedicated to providing friendly and open avenues of discussion and debate both written and oral on the campus for any and all political ideas, regardless of the leanings of those ideas. Submissions


Mark Dally
On a warm afternoon at the National Mall this past August, Fox News anchor and radio host Glenn Beck could be heard bellowing across the reflecting pool toward the Washington Monument. “Something beyond imagination is happening. Something that is beyond man is happening. America today begins to turn back to God,” he said at the portentous ‘Restoring Honor’ rally. The event called for, among other things, a return to the Judeo-Christian values on which the nation is supposed to have been founded, but from which we have apparently fallen. And our porcine countryman was not alone.


In addition to a contested but undeniably large number of attendees of the rally, Beck can count many sympathizers among the balance of the populace. Indeed, a staggering 53% of respondents in a 2010 First Amendment Center survey agreed with the statement “The U.S. Constitution establishes a Christian nation.” This misapprehension is manifest in a great variety of political situations. Glen Urquhart, the current Delaware Republican candidate for Congress, asked at a June campaign event where the phrase ‘separation of church and state’ comes from. He went on to say that “it was not in Jefferson’s letter to the Danbury Baptists. […] The exact phrase ‘separation of church and state’ came out of Adolf Hitler’s mouth.” The most bizarre aspect of Urquhart’s assertion is his apparent awareness of the actual source of the phrase – incidentally, it was in Jefferson’s letter to the Baptists of Danbury, Connecticut, and it can be found nowhere in any of Hitler’s speeches or writings. Whether he was misinformed, mistaken, or simply lying is difficult to ascertain. His reasoning is opaque to me. But in any case, Urquhart went on to win the Republican primary three months later, and will face Democrat John Carney in the general election. Another fumbling attempt to be rid of Jefferson’s fairly clear stance on religion’s place in the United States was on display during the Texas Board of Education’s recent review of their social studies standards. Cynthia Dunbar, a conservative Christian member of the board, was able to convince her fellow members to cut Thomas Jefferson from the section of the curriculum concerning influential figures from the American Revolution, his having been the chief author of the Declaration of Independence notwithstanding. Choosing to emphasize the contributions of dubiously connected religious individuals instead, she had St. Thomas Aquinas, John Calvin, and William Blackstone inserted into the standards. Called to testify on the matter, Steven K. Green of Willamette University advised the board against adopting their proposed standards, arguing that they amounted to an unconstitutional promotion of a particular religion. He noted that many of the founding fathers were significantly influenced by the European Enlightenment, which in many cases directly conflicted with the prevailing Christian world view. He further informed the board that “the record is basically bereft” of legal cases that draw upon Biblical law for their decisions. His counsel was summarily ignored. But Thomas Jefferson is by no means the sole problem for those that wish to believe in America’s foundational Christianity. The Constitution contains no reference to God, let alone to a God of the Christian variety. When Alexander Hamilton was asked about the conspicuous absence, he is said to have replied flippantly, “We forgot.” The motto “In God We Trust” was not added to our currency until the Civil War, and “Under God” only became part of the Pledge of Allegiance during the McCarthy era, as a sort of assertion of cultural superiority over the Godless communists. The Treaty of Tripoli, which was approved unanimously by Congress in 1796 and signed by John Adams, sought to assuage the majority Muslim nation’s fears of potential religious conflict when it stated, “The Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on religious ones. At the time of its inception, a majority of America’s citizens certainly were Christian. And although the percentage has declined somewhat, Christianity, in its various forms, still claims the top slot in American society. But throughout our nation’s history, unlike in countless other times and places, most religious individuals have shown an admirable willingness to participate in a secular society and refrain from imposing their private beliefs on others. This reality forces one to reflect on two contradictions inherent to those individuals who think America is, or want it to return to being, a Christian nation. Often, they are among the harshest critics of Sharia and any attempts to allow Muslims in the United States and elsewhere to have independent courts for religious matters in their communities. They are also often convinced that they uniquely respect the Constitution and the founding fathers, in an age which fails to appreciate sufficiently their importance. In calling for America to return to being a Christian nation, they are made hypocrites on both accounts. They are thoroughly capable of pointing out the hazards, potential and actual, of basing government on religious texts and private convictions, yet fail to realize the same serious issues in the case of their own faith. In addition, their professed adoration for the Constitution and founding fathers is cheapened by their unwillingness to recognize and deal maturely with the founders’ actual beliefs and intentions. They don’t get to have it both ways. Ultimately, such individuals are nostalgic for a past that never was. It is understandable for devout Christians to feel somewhat threatened when their president has written, “Whatever we once were, we are no longer just a Christian nation; we are also a Jewish nation, a Muslim nation, a Buddhist nation, a Hindu nation, and a nation of nonbelievers.” But this does not entitle them to be cavalier with history. The belief that our country is a Christian nation, or must return to being one, is based on false folk-history and tarnishes the memory of America’s founding and of its architects. It thereby imperils the preservation of our secular society and ought to be rebutted at every opportunity. — Mark Dally is a freshman in the College of Arts and Sciences. He can be reached at 2

Beyond a desire for separation between church and state, many of the founding fathers demonstrated active disdain for Christianity.
the Christian religion.” Beyond a desire for separation between church and state, many of the founding fathers demonstrated active disdain for Christianity. Thomas Paine concluded in his essay, The Age of Reason, “Of all the systems of religion that ever were invented, there is none more derogatory to the Almighty, more unedifying to man, more repugnant to reason, and more contradictory in itself, than this thing called Christianity.” Benjamin Franklin said succinctly, “Lighthouses are more helpful than churches.” I bring up these facts not to denigrate Christianity, but because they belie the assertion that either America is, or its founders were, Christian. On the contrary, many – although not all – of the founding fathers were Deists, believing in an impersonal, non-intervening God. And our nation is a decidedly secular one, inspired by Enlightenment values, and not


“Whoa…” “What?” “Have you realized that our first time voting will be to legalize weed?” “Holy shit. You’re right. I’m definitely voting yes!” It might seem strange, but this kind of talk about marijuana has become common when talking about the upcoming November elections. What my friends were so eloquently discussing was California’s Proposition 19, the “Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010,” a highly contentious initiative on the November 2nd state ballot. The proposition has been hailed as the solution to the overcrowding of California’s jails, an end to the misallocation of law enforcement resources and, to some extent, an aid to California’s massive budget deficit. The opposition points out that legalization of marijuana would add another lawfully destructive substance to complement tobacco and alcohol, create further confusion between federal and local officials, and would not, in fact, decrease the deficit.

Illustration on opposite page by Laura Beckman

Of course, considering the pervasiveness of marijuana in California, it’s ironic that the Sunshine State was the first to explicitly prohibit it in 1913. Nonetheless, illicit marijuana has achieved mainstream status in a number of regional cultures, most notably the city of Oakland and Los Angeles County’s Venice Beach. Smokers scored a big victory in 1996 when voters passed Proposition 215, “The Compassionate Use Act,” which allowed “seriously ill Californians the right to obtain and use marijuana for medical purposes where that medical use has been deemed appropriate and has been recommended by a physician.” Proposition 215 has undoubtedly relieved the pain of many seriously ill Californians. However, a very large portion of “patients” suffer dubious illnesses and use prescriptions furnished by self-acclaimed “weed doctors.” These “patients” turned a law with good intentions into a farce, creating a widespread Californian weed market and spurring the birth of Proposition 19. Support: The primary purported advantage of Prop. 19 is the financial relief it would provide for California. Some estimates put the annual intake from taxes at $1.4 billion. In addition, supporters say that hundreds of millions more will be saved in law enforcement expenses. Police won’t have to concern themselves with insignificant amounts of marijuana and will instead be able to focus on violent criminal activity and other direct threats to society. Lawmakers hope that an extension of this policy would be a decrease in incarceration costs and the mitigation of California prison overcrowding. Another law enforcement benefit of Prop. 19 would be the effect on the Mexican drug war. In the border city of Tijuana alone, more than 1,500 people have been murdered in drug-related incidents in the past two years. Efforts to curb the supply side of the Mexican drug war have overwhelmingly failed, but Prop 19 would go a long way toward curbing the demand side — a strategy that, in economics terms, should be a lot more effective. Many supporters of Proposition 19 are members of the population who have previously and will continue to partake in marijuana use. Potheads rejoice…right? Not necessarily. Opposition: The opposition can be divided into two categories: those worried about the social and health effects of cannabis use and, unexpectedly, a large contingent of marijuana users themselves. A blog called “Stoners Against the Prop. 19 Tax Cannabis Initiative” is a representation of this substantial niche who would rather smoke medically or illegally than have their habit regulated. One main complaint is that Prop. 19 sets the industry on a path towards monopolization. Since Prop. 19 allows any level of government to stay clear of the proposition’s implications and maintain marijuana’s illegal status, hundreds of municipalities may opt out of Prop. 19 and cause an increase in price in those locations that have a license to sell legally. On top of all this, regardless of the election results, cannabis consumption remains illegal under federal law. Therefore, if President Obama or any subsequent president changes the current passive approach to possession and usage, there would be mass confusion which could result in a drawn out court battle. Another important opposition is that Prop. 19 would restrict the places one can smoke to a private place with no one under 21 present (an illogical statute for a prop that intends to regulate marijuana like alcohol). “Stoners Against” points out that “young adults taking bong hits in Golden Gate Park on a Sunday afternoon is just part of the San Francisco scenery. However, if this initiative passes, the freedom would disappear and we could see cops policing smoking areas to enforce this law.” Conclusion: A poll taken on September 30th has supporters at 52% and opponents at 41% — a sizable lead heading into the last month before the election. While that seems strong, it’s still an uphill battle for those advocating full legalization. An 11 percent lead…potheads rejoice…right? Maybe… — Michael Cohen is a freshman in the Business School. He can be reached at 4


Lauren Fine
Conventional wisdom maintains that the anticipated poor performance of Democrats in the upcoming midterm elections will result from the persistent bad economic conditions throughout the country. However, recent polls suggest that voters intend to use November 2nd as an occasion to express their opinions regarding President Obama. A Fox News poll released on September 30, 2010 found that 41% of the coveted independent voters will use their votes to express their opposition to Obama’s policies. On many hot-button issues, such as illegal immigration and health care reform, the administration has found itself on the wrong side of prevailing public opinion. Another controversy that many voters will not have forgotten by the time they enter the voting booth is the summer uproar over the proposed Ground Zero mosque. One would have thought that the building of a mosque in lower Manhattan would remain a local zoning issue; instead, it has captured both national and international attention and illustrates not only that the wound inflicted on the United States on 9/11 remains quite raw, but also the extent to which extremists on both the left and the right actively refuse to allow the facts to taint the purity of their ideological rants. Since December 2009, the selfproclaimed moderate Muslim, Imam Faisal Abdul Rauf and his wife, Daisy Kahn, have been pursuing the establishment of an Islamic community center, known as the Cordoba House, two blocks north of the World Trade Center site. The project attracted little public attention until May of this year, when the local zoning approval process began. After it was approved by a community board committee, Pamela Gellar, a right-wing blogger, announced a protest against the “9/11 mosque” and was interviewed by the usual suspects, such as Sean Hannity of Fox News. The controversy erupted over the summer and gave rise to much spewing of vitriol and obfuscation of the facts from both sides. To the left, any opposition to the project amounted to the worst kind of bigotry: racism and ignorance of the American constitutional principles of freedom of expression and religion. Conservatives suspected that the Cordoba 5 House would really be a monument to celebrate the victory of the 9/11 terrorists over the United States and accused mosque supporters of failing to see its potential as a platform for future terrorist attacks. Imam Rauf has consistently maintained that his intention was to see his community center as a vehicle for promoting peace and understanding between Americans and Muslims. As public scrutiny increased during the summer, it became clear that, while clearly not a radical Islamist or active supporter of terrorism, Rauf had made various statements regarding the United States’ complicity in 9/11 that supported conservatives’ doubts. He offered only vague responses to concerns raised regarding the source of funding for the $100 million project. Moreover, as the obvious anguish of the families of 9/11 victims regarding the mosque became apparent, the Imam’s stubborn refusal to consider any proposal to move the site made many observers suspicious of his stated intention to “build bridges.” In fact, it began to look as though Rauf ’s primary goal was to build his own public image. Throughout July and August, he made various appearances on local and national television, wrote op-eds, journeyed throughout the Middle East and appeared before the Council on Foreign Relations. His wife also made numerous appearances, proclaiming to Christiane Amanpour on ABC that opposition to the mosque amounted to “hatred of Muslims.” As the ninth anniversary of 9/11 approached, the mosque controversy began to attract national attention. Polls have consistently shown that two-thirds of Americans oppose the project, reflecting the widely-held view of Ground Zero as a national place of mourning, appropriate only as a site for memorials and commercial buildings representing a defiant response to the al-Qaeda terrorists. Most incumbent Democrats. Facing a very contentious midterm election season, they have either avoided the issue or made lukewarm statements of opposition to the mosque. They cannot have been pleased when President Obama, on at least two occasions, chose to comment on the controversy and stated it simply as a First Amendment issue, reminding Americans that builders

of mosques, churches and synagogues are entitled to equal treatment under the law. His statements were widely interpreted as supportive of the mosque, even though he attempted to step back, indicating that he did not intend to comment on the wisdom of the project. The President’s decision to address an issue on which public opinion is so strongly against him, with the midterm elections on the horizon, has mystified many commentators. Indeed, the president’s insistence that the only issue presented is freedom of religion has offended and annoyed those who oppose the mosque. Few dispute the legal right of the Imam to build the mosque; rather, it is the appropriateness of the mosque’s location that is in dispute. President Obama’s choice to take yet another stand on a controversial issue in opposition to popular opinion is either courageous or arrogant, depending on one’s point of view. In any event, he has ensured that the mosque will play a role in the national races, given that voters see them as a referendum on him and his policies. By lecturing Americans on the Constitution, rather than stressing his empathy with the national pain still caused by the 9/11 attacks, the President has contributed to many voters’ suspicions that he does not share their vision of the American nation and its future role in the world.

— Lauren Fine is a freshman in the College of Arts and Sciences. She can be reached at


Corey Donahue

Health care reform has arrived. New provisions have already started to go into effect, and while they have been a relief for many, they have proven to be problematic for the Obama administration, which is scrambling to ensure that the transition will go smoothly. But this transition has been met with resistance by insurers who have found the new regulations too arduous and costly. The Obama administration has its work cut out for it as insurers have threatened to drop coverage for millions and raise premiums for many more. On September 23rd, six months after President Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act into law, many of the initial health care provisions went into effect. The law was designed so that many of the consumer benefits would occur early with the costs of the bill following in the later years of implementation. Insurers offering childonly policies are now required to cover all children, even if they have pre-existing conditions. It is estimated that 72,000 children will become eligible due to this provision. Children will also be able to remain on their parents plan until they are 26. In addition, some preventive procedures such as colonoscopies, mammograms, and immunizations must be covered with copayments and insurers must begin offering free preventive services. While helpful for consumers, some of these new rules have been a significant problem for insurance agencies. Many insurers will be dropping child-only plans because the costs will be too high if they are forced to cover sick children. As a result,

the Obama administration has allowed insurers to charge sick children higher premiums than healthy children in order to cover the cost. One provision that insurers are finding especially difficult to cope with is the requirement that they spend at least 85% of their revenue from insurance policies on medical care, rather than administrative costs. Many insurance companies looking for savings have been forced to start either laying off employees or reducing wages in order to compensate. Others, such as Principal Financial Group, which offers insurance to over 800,000 people, have left the business entirely. While this specific provision has proven difficult for many, it is meant to reduce inefficiencies in the market in order to make the health care system better. Therefore, the loss of these insurance companies allows for a space that more efficient insurers can fill in order to make sure more money is being spent on medical care. However, it does raise doubts about Obama’s adamant promise throughout the debate over health care reform, that “if you like your plan, you can keep it.” Another disruptive policy has been the restrictions on annual limits for some health care plans. Limited benefit plans, or “mini-meds,” will not have a cap on their maximum benefits. For many employers, this has proven to be quite onerous. McDonalds, for instance, offers a plan in which employees pay $730 for a maximum of $2,000 in benefits. However, McDonalds has stated that with this new law, they would be forced to drop the plan, leaving

many uninsured. They requested that the Obama administration give them a oneyear waiver, which was granted. Dozens of such waivers have been given out, raising doubts about the administration’s ability to handle the significant changes in the health care law. While the Obama administration is struggling to meet new demands, Republicans plan on making the process as difficult as possible. Although their attempts at wholesale repeal will not be successful due to Obama’s veto power, their willingness to limit funding and block some provisions could create many problems for the administration. Republican governors also have significant power in making the process difficult. Republican Governor Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota has recently been accused of refusing to cooperate in discussions regarding some kinds of coverage and has also ordered state officials not to apply for federal funds for new health care provisions. Few thought that changing the entire health industry would be easy. Considering that one-sixth of U.S. GDP is spent on health services, significant reform will take time and will not be smooth. However, the problems that have arisen immediately after the first wave of implementations raise questions as to whether the Obama administration will be able to effectively manage the transition in the coming years. Despite the months of debate in Congress, the real reform has only just begun. — Corey Donahue is a junior in the College of Arts and Sciences. He can be reached at 6


Taka Yamaguchi
Illustration on opposite page by Kelsey Brod 7 People now face the increasingly urgent issue of how to stop climate change. Progress has certainly been made in the last twenty years or so, as public knowledge and concern about global warming is at an all time high. Yet this concern is not enough to effectively segregate continued human progress from the utter destruction of our only home. We need concrete plans for the future, and we need them now.

Coal, natural gas, and oil are not suitable energy sources for any sort of future, period. They produce massive amounts of pollution, which is unsustainable for the future of Earth. Unfortunately, the crown jewels of the clean energy movement, solar and wind energy, will continue to be incompatible with how electricity is supplied and consumed by Americans until significant scientific advances are made. Solar and wind energy are only available when the weather is sunny or windy. While batteries can be used, they are costly in terms of economic and environmental impact due to their relative technological primitiveness. Wind and solar power plants are ideal solutions for the far future, but require substantial development before they can replace fossil fuel plants as the main base-line sources of electricity. It seems that those politicians and activists who define carbon-free energy as wind or solar have forgotten that there is an option that has been in continuous use for 60 years, produces no carbon dioxide, and can work when it’s cloudy or when there is no wind. The taboo words here are, of course, nuclear fission. Do not yield to your preconceived notions of exploding reactors and apocalyptic meltdowns. Realize the enormous progress that has been made in this field since the United States halted the construction of new nuclear power plants after the 1979 Three Mile Island accident—which, incidentally, was not of the magnitude to warrant the resulting nuclear scare. And while the United States has stubbornly refused to add more nuclear power plants to its current crop of 1960s and 1970s era “Generation II” reactors, significantly safer and more advanced “Generation III” reactors have come online elsewhere. When I say safer, I mean it: Gen. III reactors are estimated to have one minor core accident (no release of radiation, no injuries, but just an interruption in power supply) per 350 million years, compared to Gen. II’s one in 100,000 years, and are less subject to human error. Nuclear power has become an effectively fool proof system that is as safe as any other clean energy source. Disposal of nuclear waste has been a continual thorn in the side of nuclear energy advocates. Scientists have substantial and convincing evidence from laboratory and field experimentation that radioactive spent fuel, carefully housed in specialized, sealed concrete and metal containers and stored deep underground in boreholes (holes drilled in thousands of feet of bedrock) are isolated from the environment and do not pose a threat to human society or the environment in general. We are not, as some antinuclear activists have framed it, haphazardly and carelessly burying our problems. Nuclear power plants are seen as costly--and rightly so--because their inherent complexity and exoticism require large amounts of start-up capital, typically around $5 billion. But while startup costs are high, once completed, the energy becomes much cheaper. Since an individual windmill or single solar power plant produces so little electrical energy compared to a single nuclear reactor once constructed, the price differences are stark: $0.04 per kilowatthour of electricity produced for nuclear power versus $0.08 per kWh for wind and $0.22 per kWh for solar. Thus, nuclear is significantly cheaper than either solar or wind energy once the initial startup costs are balanced against lifetime kWh costs. In addition, although startup costs are high, a windmill will last perhaps 15 to 20 years, whereas a nuclear power plant has an average lifespan of at least 80 years, making it a much more long lasting investment. In addition, it would take a 350 square mile wind farm to match the electricity generated by a single nuclear power plant. Nuclear power plants are not as costly as people imagine. The United States government must strongly push for nuclear power as the primary power source for America’s near future. Although America is headed in the right direction, with President Obama recently pledging an $8 billion loan for two of the first new reactors in the United States, it is not nearly enough. Loans and guarantees by the federal government will allow the private nuclear energy industry to build new reactors it could not finance by itself, providing energy security and thousands of new jobs. A surprising 59% of the American public favored nuclear energy in 2009. Washington regulars must not let the sentiment of a few anti-nuclear activists prevent them from pursuing an environmentally crucial agenda. Understandably, many are reluctant to increase further funding while the American economy continues to struggle and the federal government remains mired in debt. My short-term proposal requires no extra money. In the Obama administration’s 2011 fiscal budget, an allotted $54 billion in loan guarantees for new nuclear reactors is certainly a positive step, but another $28.4 billion of the Energy Department budget is distributed throughout various energy research programs such as wind, solar, hydrogen. Nuclear power cannot effectively help stop climate change if governmental funds are diverted to technologies still many years from widespread use. Thus, I propose that most of the budget go directly toward financing new nuclear power plants. Think of it as an environmental stimulus package, giving a muchneeded boost towards ensuring a carbon-free future. The United States government owes it to its citizens and to Earth to ensure a clean, reliable, safe, and realistic future energy source; only nuclear energy fully meets all four requirements. Nuclear is the only option that can realistically serve as a stopgap between the 20th century’s fossil fuels and the 22nd century, when fully sustainable, carbon-free energy sources such as wind or solar will be ready to take center stage. Without the wholesale embrace of nuclear energy as the replacement for fossil fuel power plants, the specter of climate change will irreversibly and inevitably become a very real threat. We must act drastically, confidently, and without delay.

— Taka Yamaguchi is a sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences. He can be reached at 8


Daniel Rubin, Hannah Shaffer
Hannah Shaffer and Daniel Rubin recently sat down with Thomas Schweich, former visiting Professor of Law and Ambassador in Residence at Washington University. He is currently running for the office of Missouri State Auditor. Below are some highlights from the interview. WUPR: Can you give our readers a little idea of your background? Schweich: Sure. I was born in Missouri. I am actually a fifth generation Missourian… Then I went to Yale undergraduate and Harvard Law School. Then I came back to St. Louis and began a 25year law practice with Bryan Cave Law Firm. It’s an old Missouri law school, a Missouri-based and international law firm. Then I was chief of staff to Jack Danforth when he was Waco Special Counsel, looking into whether the government was complicit in the deaths of the 84 Branch Davidians. I was chief of staff for that…



I have more skepticism. I think that is better for an auditor, someone who is more skeptical of government and wants to keep it as small as possible.
Then in 2004 I was sitting in my office at Bryan Cave, and Jack Danforth had just been appointed Ambassador to the United Nations. He called me from the car. He was in with John Negroponte, the outgoing Ambassador to the UN, in New York. He said, “Negroponte says I need a chief of staff I can trust. Would you like to be my chief of staff.” I kept telling him, “Well, I don’t know anything about diplomacy.” He said, “Neither do I, so let’s learn together.” …So I worked for Senator Danforth and then for Anne Patterson, who was the acting UN Ambassador after Danforth left, who is currently U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan…. Then John Bolton came in as U.S. Ambassador to the UN, and I was his Chief of Staff… Then I got the job… as the Deputy Director of the Law Enforcement Division at the State Department…Then I was made Acting Director of that Division…but they decided to change direction for me, and they decided to make me Ambassador for Counter-Narcotics and Justice Reform in Afghanistan, where I focused on helping to reduce the heroin trade there in strongholds of the Taliban and also helping them to build their rule-of-law…I worked the last 15 or 16 months of the Bush Administration doing that…Then I came back here and taught at Wash. U. for two years, and while I was here some local Republicans initially said, “Why don’t you run for office? You have a pretty good resume for it.” …I have been campaigning for 16 months. I won the primary in August, and now we are three weeks away from the general, and that’s where we are. I hope that’s enough. WUPR: Just for clarification for our readers, can you tell us exactly what the principle job of the State Auditor is? Also, why should they vote for you over the incumbent, Susan Montee? Schweich: The first question, the State Auditor, by statute, is an independent watchdog for the taxpayer…It has the job to go in, investigate, look at the money and where it’s being spent but also look at performance. They do performance audits. Is there efficient management here? Is the program being run well?...Fraud, waste, abuse, and corruption, that’s what the Auditor looks into. It’s nonpartisan in the sense that you are not allowed to take a political position, but it’s partisan in the sense that you run as a Republican or Democrat, and you are allowed to say that I bring certain views to the office that reflect my politics… In terms of the reason why I think I’d be a better candidate than my opponent is that we, first of all, have a different philosophy of government. She is a believer in big government, trust in government, and government is a good thing. I have more skepticism. I think that is better for an auditor, someone who is more skeptical of government and wants to keep it as small as possible. That is a fundamental philosophical difference that we have. She was a very strong supporter of the Obama agenda. She was the very first person in the state to endorse Barack Obama… Then there are also issues of partisanship. I will be a completely nonpartisan Auditor. People know I am a Republican but that I haven’t always had the nicest things to say about the Republican Party, although I still identify very strongly with that party… WUPR: Do you have any specific goals you want to accomplish? Is there a policy aspect to your campaign? Schweich: Definitely. It isn’t a political job, so there is no policy aspect in that sense, but there are priorities you can have, and one of them is the stimulus money. I have got two kids, the way I look at it is the only thing that has to be guarded more carefully then taxpayer money is borrowed money, which is what the stimulus is, and you better be sure it is being spent correctly. You can just look on the news, mainstream media organizations are constantly publishing things about wasted stimulus money. I am going to make that a high priority. That money is money that I would not have approved, had I been in Congress I would not have voted for it, but it’s here and ought to be used properly, so that will be a top priority… WUPR: You kind of touched on this before. I have heard you described as a moderate Republican, more in the mold of Senator Danforth. Given the rise and importance of the Tea Party within the Republican Party over this election cycle do you feel left out? Do you feel that there is room for Republicans like you going forward? Schweich: Well, first of all, I am not really a moderate Republican…I am not reactionary, but I am pretty conservative. The issue the Tea Party is most concerned with, if you look at the Tea Partiers, it’s fiscal conservatism and small government. Those are the two things they want, and I have been writing about that for ten years. I fall right in that mold…. WUPR: The Tea Party though seems very hostile in general to the idea of raising taxes in any way. Would you say that you share that general hostility? When you talk about fiscal conservatism one way to reach that goal would be to cut wasteful spending and things like that or to raise taxes. How would you balance that? Schweich: My focus has always been on living within your means. If you can’t afford it, don’t spend it …. I definitely fall on the side of making the tough decisions, the tough choices. Be lean, recognize there is some pain associated with that, people have to realize that. That is the approach I would use. My problem with raising taxes is historically, and based on my own limited research, is that it just doesn’t usually help. It stunts growth. So it doesn’t seem to me to be effective or sound economic policy. That’s my problem with it. To read the entire interview, please visit — Hannah Shaffer and Daniel Rubin are both juniors in the College of Arts and Sciences. They can be reached at hannahbec90@yahoo. com and at 10


Alex Kaufman

Illustration by Godiva Reisenbichler After two years of the Obama presidency, you may be asking yourself, “Where is that change we were promised?” Aside from a watered-down health-care bill, there’s not much change to champion. But there is one overlooked slice of America that Obama has had immeasurable success in changing: the presidency itself. In two years Obama has redefined “presidential” behavior and broken from past practices. Before you roll your eyes, mutter something cynical about politicians, and flip the page, at least stick around for a retrospective tour of presidential conduct; then, maybe, Obama’s “change” will be more obvious to you. Here’s a quick and dirty summary of past presidential behavior. Dubya: While he was in office, George W. Bush ignored an explicit U.N. resolution by sending troops to war in Iraq. His top aides (including Vice President Dick Cheney) suppressed evidence concerning the information his administration leaked as retribution—a topic he refuses to discuss to this day. Bush lied about his past military service and alcohol use, and he took almost a full year’s worth of vacation over his two terms. Bill Clinton (need I say more?) cheated on his wife, perjured himself to protect his own reputation, and lied about bombings in Serbia. That’s criminal and patently unethical. George Bush Sr. had the fiasco with Nurse Nayirah, the 15-year-old Kuwaiti girl who fabricated a story about Iraqi soldiers killing Kuwaiti babies in incubators, which was used to justify the invasion of Kuwait. More lies for political ends and perhaps even treason? Ronald Reagan had no qualms about literally making up facts and retelling history in a way that fit his own purposes. 11 “Trees cause more pollution than automobiles,” he once told the country. Add in the Iran-Contra Affair, and it would seem as if the man had no regard for rules or reality. Richard Nixon was obviously a crook, and, as presidents become older, the mountain of lies, deceit and personal misconduct grows exponentially. The enduring tradition of presidential sleaziness is precisely what Obama has managed to change. Just as past presidents’ indiscretions were products of their lack of personal integrity, Obama’s less controversial public image is due to his maturity and integrity. There are numerous examples of the sense of personal responsibility Obama brings to his high office. He released photos of American coffins that Bush withheld. When he increased the number of troops in Afghanistan, he stood for an entire night on the runway by the planes that were unloading bodies, saluting each time another casket was lowered. Some may be quick to dismiss these episodes as photo ops, but that’s beside the point. Publicity stunt or not, they still demonstrate an attitude profoundly different from anything that America has seen before. Bush’s visible moments captured the bravado and irresponsibility that have now come to characterize his life and presidency. Obama’s approach shows a deep, personal understanding of the gravity of his actions. Never has Obama’s ego impeded his ability to lead. He readily admitted to making a mistake last year, something that neither Bush nor Clinton managed to do in their combined 16 years in office, even when their missteps were shoved in their faces. When one of Obama’s staff was accused of inappropriate comments, he was quick to dismiss her. When it turned out that her comments were reported out of context, she was offered a new position. Obama can separate his ego from his job. The “beer summit”—in which Obama brought together Henry Louis Gates Jr. and James Crowley, the cop who had arrested him—is a perfect example of this new type of president. Obama recognized that his comments exacerbated the volatility of the circumstances, so he took responsibility and brought the two together. The Gates-Crowley beer summit also is representative of another fundamental way in which Obama is changing the presidency. He initiated conversation with the idea that discussion and compromise are valid problem-solving methods. Under the past presidents, there has always been a strict “good versus bad” narrative. Only two years ago, George W. Bush was condemning “the axis of evil.” Yet, with Obama, the world is not so rigidly black-and-white. We see this enlightened perspective in Obama’s attempts at bipartisanship. We see it when, instead of dismissing the Tea Party protesters, he implores them to tell him their ideas and promises to listen. Obama leads in a fundamentally new way. He is willing to discuss issues. He is open to all ideas. Why else would he have been willing to keep his predecessor’s Secretary of Defense or to commit more troops to Afghanistan despite vehement opposition from his own party? There is no contradiction between his policy, his presidential conduct, or his personal life. He governs and lives by the ideals he publicly articulates. — Alex Kaufman is a sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences. He can be reached at


Nick Wilbar
When Rick Santelli went on his now infamous diatribe on the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, essentially nobody predicted what was in store. Santelli ranted about dumping derivatives into Lake Michigan, and, at the time, it appeared as if he would. However, it seemed that regardless of what was said by Santelli—or anyone else for that matter— the anger would eventually pass and the frustration would ultimately subside. Clearly, this was not to be. As the midterm elections approach, the tea has been on the boil for a while, and it appears all but certain to be served in early November. Curiously, though, it doesn’t look as if the party is about to end. The loose conglomeration of grassroots groups and anti-establishment ideas that’s currently referred to as the Tea Party is a relatively new phenomenon. The social and political dynamics from which it was born, however, are not. Conceived of in the aftermath of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), the Tea Party ostensibly reflects the sentiments and concerns of marginalized America. As was captured by the title of one of the Tea Party Patriots’ recent events, the movement aspires to do nothing less than “take back” the country. A reflection of America writ large, however, the Tea Party most certainly is not. The current guests at America’s tea party are almost ubiquitously right of center. Thus, to be clear, the Tea Party is not an American movement—it is, beyond any reasonable doubt, a conservative one. The widespread marginalization that the Tea Party claims to combat, however, knows no ideological constraints. In mid-September, Gallup released a set of polls that aimed to measure the level of America’s political discontent. Somewhat surprisingly, Gallup’s numbers didn’t garner much coverage in the mainstream media. They should have. According to Gallup’s findings, “the desire for a third party is fairly similar across ideological groups, with 61% of liberals, 60% of moderates, and 54% of conservatives believing a third major party is needed.” As has been captured and expressed by way of the Tea Party, a wide swath of America’s more conservative elements do not feel as if the present political power structure adequately represents their interests. Gallup’s figures suggest that this sentiment is not limited to the ideological right, and, in fact, may be stronger at other points along the philosophical spectrum. To arrive at the conclusion that some Tea Partiers may win in early November requires no real mental gymnastics. It seems equally apparent, however, that this alone will not turn down the boil. Though its precise nature remains relatively elusive, the Tea Party is a real thing. This much is obvious. And while it seems fairly preposterous to think that the Tea Party might, in perpetuity, exist in its present form, the sentiments by which it is motivated will not go away by themselves. Again, the Tea Party is a conservative movement. The Gallup poll referenced above, however, reflects a national reality. What precisely will happen after November 2nd is anyone’s guess. But one thing is clear: regardless of how much tea is served this fall, the party is far from over. — Nick Wilbar is a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences. He can be reached at

attention. Glancing at our televisions, we see hardworking Americans struggling with debt. We feel sad. What kind of monster would subject those innocent people to such hardship? What’s that, you say? Harry Reid? A monochromatic and sinister-looking Reid stares at us from our screens, as the doomsday voice informs us of his immigrant-loving, American-hating ways. A rundown of Reid’s immigrant policy, several racist shots of immigrants and Americans, and a dozen melodramatic special effects later, the voice enthusiastically announces: “Harry Reid: the best friend an illegal alien ever had.” Does Harry Reid really hate American families? No. Do we have any insight into Sharron Angle’s stance on immigration? No. Do we feel slightly unsettled? Probably. Yet this exaggerated, scathing degradation of a fellow politician’s character is hardly uncommon; in fact, the use of political attack ads is the highest to date, accounting for close to half of all political advertisements, according to The Associated Press. Once we consider that Democrats are reluctant to remind the electorate

ADS ON THE ATTACK our The threatening music and menacing voiceover capture

of their achievements because of their unpopularity and that Republicans hardly have a party-wide, coherent set of ideals on which to run, we shouldn’t be surprised that candidates are emphasizing attacks over substantive issues. As Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post puts it, “The approach reflects a stark reality of this election cycle: going negative is the only way to turn the election from a referendum on Democratic control of Washington to a choice between two candidates. So, go negative — early, often and hard.” This approach might be effective in the short term, but it will have negative consequences, for country and candidate, in the long term. As the country suffers through crises—both foreign and domestic—voter awareness of the issues and of politicians’ stances on these issues is critical to alleviating rampant dissatisfaction and to solving civil problems. Attack ads, however, preclude rational discussion of these problems. Disillusionment is bound to develop in connection with candidates who are elected based wholly on the perception that they are less evil than their opponent, which will only heighten Americans’ dissatisfaction with government. — Brooke Yarrows is a freshman in the College of Arts and Sciences. She can be reached at 12


Jay Evans
Imagine that you are competing for a job, one that has come up 343 times since 1990. Now imagine that someone from your group has only gotten the job twice in those 343 times. Actually, only 28 have gotten more than a 5% approval in that same time span. Welcome to what Charlie Crist faces on November 2, 2010. Yes, he is an Independent, and is running for the U.S. Senate. I’m here to tell you why an Independent actually matters this time.


the Independent and Democratic voters to split between Meek and Crist, which is precisely what is happening. Now the question becomes whether or not the Democrats should put their support behind Crist. During the campaign, Crist has hinted that he would caucus with the Democrats if elected. However, with Meek gaining support and Crist losing some, it seems unlikely that voters or the Democratic Party will completely abandon Meek. The pragmatic solution would be for the Democratic Party to fully support Crist in order to prevent Rubio from winning, since a win by Rubio would be devastating for Democrats. But this won’t happen. Completely forsaking one of your own candidates creates a dangerous precedent. They do not want to have disillusioned voters, especially if Obama runs again in 2012 and needs to win Florida. The Democratic Party has even endorsed an advertisement by Meek that portrays Crist as actually being more conservative than he says now; this makes it even harder to give up on Meek. The supporters of Meek and Crist, if combined, can take down Rubio. Taking down Rubio would deliver a blow to the Tea Party’s influence in Florida, which if Rubio did win would solidify that influence. However, the supporters of Meek and Crist are not banding together, and it seems like the Tea Party candidate Marco Rubio will win, unless something drastic happens. Such is the nature of a real three-way race.

Illustration by Godiva Reisenbichler The scene is almost play-like. The lead role is played by former State Representative Marco Rubio, the up and coming Tea Partier. His public disgust with the status quo, especially the Wall Street bailouts, helped to catapult him to the forefront of the Florida Republican Party. He gained so much support that he muscled out Charlie Crist from the Republican Party Primary, making him run as an Independent. Crist plays the wise veteran. He’s the current governor and still retains a lot of his popularity among Floridians. In actuality, “centrist” fits him better as a label. He votes on both sides of the aisle on many issues, which is a big part of the reason he is popular. The final performer in this play is Kendrick Meek, the Representative from South Florida. He’s the kooky cousin, the one who has just enough pull to make things interesting. Amongst all three players in strong contention with each other, it has become a race to the plurality--40% seems to be the magic number to win the seat. As it stands now, Rubio holds 41of the vote, with Crist and Meek polling at 30 and 21 respectively, and with Meek having gained some ground in September. Such a three-way race brings up a vital question: will Meek spoil the chances of Crist winning, allowing Rubio to win? Or will the tides change and will Crist spoil Meek’s chances at contending with Rubio in the election? While Crist has a wide breath of support, Rubio has already locked down most of the Republican vote; a poll by Quinnipaic puts 83 percent of Republicans voting for Rubio. This forces

— Jay Evans is a sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences. He can be reached at

Such a three-way race brings up a vital question: will Meek spoil the chances of Crist winning, allowing Rubio to win? Or will the tides change and will Crist spoil Meek’s chances at contending with Rubio in the election?



A Look at Tea Party Races Jake Lichtenfeld
The Tea Party, having garnered the support of staunch conservatives such as former Governor Sarah Palin and Senator Jim DeMint (R-South Carolina), has proven its prestige within the Republican Party over the waning Republican establishment. But how will the Tea Party compete in the general elections? Listed below are three high-profile Tea Party races. Will the tea party become the status quo that Democrats must adapt to, or is it no more than a movement for angry 2010 voters without a future in sight? 15


Christine O’Donnell (R) v. Chris Coons (D) Real Clear Politics Poll Average: Coons +16.0 (10/3/10) The Delaware senate race was all but decided for nine-term US Congressman Mike Castle, a popular, moderate Republican who received support from both parties. However, Tea Party endorsed Christine O’Donnell who then pulled a huge upset in the Republican primary, which shocked to the Republican establishment. Ms. O’Donnell has several controversial positions that the media continuously reports on, such as her views regarding masturbation, separation of church and state and the theory of evolution. She has also suggested that the entire world stop having sexual relations and once “dabbled into witchcraft.” To her advantage, however, she raised $2.2 million in the two weeks after winning the Republican nomination. Christine O’Donnell, now with the support of most Republicans, will face off with Democrat Chris Coons in November. Chris Coons is a well-known county executive who has used Ms. O’Donnell’s extreme views to his advantage. Mr. Coons remains uncontroversial except for comments thirty years ago of being a “Bearded Marxist” that have been attacked by the GOP. Clearly, Chris Coons has the upper hand in this race and is likely to win the seat, but it won’t be without a strong battle with opponent Christine O’Donnell. Harry Reid (D) v. Sharron Angle (R) Real Clear Politics Poll Average: Angle +0.3 (10/5/10) The Nevada senate race seemed up for grabs by the victor of the Republican primary due to Harry Reid’s 33% approval rating. For months, it was believed that moderate Sue Lowden would prevail in the primary and replace Harry Reid as senator from the great state of Nevada. Following a campaign finance scandal and an unpopular health care reform idea from Lowden, the angry Republican electorate nominated Tea Party favorite Sharron Angle to face Harry Reid. Sharron Angle holds several views that many consider radical. Ms. Angle, a former state assemblywoman, believes that the size of the federal government should be decreased significantly by means of abolishing the departments of Energy and Education, the Environmental Protection Agency, privatizing Social Security and Medicare and by replacing the income tax with a flat tax. Socially,

Ms. Angle believes abortion should be outlawed even in cases of rape or incest. Although Ms. Angle’s extremist views have boosted Harry Reid’s poll numbers, Nevada’s Electorate think their senator has neglected them. Nevada’s unemployment rate is currently at over 14%, the most severe mortgage crisis in the United States and is one of the lowest recipients of stimulus money all under Harry Reid’s watch as majority leader. It seems Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will pull off a narrow victory against radical Sharron Angle, who is far too extremist for a state like Nevada. Andrew Cuomo (D) v. Carl Paladino (R) Real Clear Politics Poll Average: Cuomo +17.2 (10/5/10) Once incumbent governor David Paterson of New York announced that he would not seek election to a full term as governor, it was assumed that Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, son of former Governor Mario Cuomo, would take his father’s old job. But Cuomo didn’t take into account that even the bluest states can feel the rage of the Tea Party. During the September 14th primary, Tea Party candidate Carl Paladino won the Republican nomination for governor over Rick Lazio. Paladino is little known throughout the state outside of Buffalo. Most years, Paladino would be considered far too conservative for a State that voted for Obama by a 26-point margin, but anything can happen in 2010. Voters see weaknesses with both candidates. Cuomo is an Albany insider and despite high popularity, he is seen as too comfortable with the corrupt officials in the legislature and would be unable to “drain the swamp.” Paladino is a successful businessman, but has little experience in state politics and may not be ready to hold the highest state office. Also, Paladino doesn’t believe in abortion even in the cases of rape and incest. Additionally, Paladino has a bestiality scandal that he must explain to the electorate. Paladino has scared New York Democrats, but his only chance of taking Albany would be if no Democrats showed up on November 2nd in this blue state.

— Jake Lichtenfeld is a freshman in the College of Arts and Sciences. He can be reached at 16


Alex Tolkin
AFTER a week of furious defamation About my falsified Oxford education If elected I’ll dictate That one can’t research a candidate Then worry about banning masturbation —Christine O’Donnell ELECTIONS are coming up soon With timing inopportune To me voters will not be kind And the senate dems want to find A new leader who’s not a buffoon. —Harry Reid CONTROL of congress hasn’t been fun During our past two year run Our midterm chances are shot Because majority or not We never seem to get anything done —the Democrats AMERICA, there is no need to despair If elected, we will the economy repair By giving tax cuts to the wealthy And ignoring the poor and unhealthy It will work better than the last time, we swear! —the Republicans THE ECONOMY’S given everyone the blues And this election, it’s difficult to choose Democrats are a mess And Republicans don’t impress Why bother—whoever wins, I lose —Average voter FROM killing a frog on live TV To starting the whole Tea Party I’ve energized the base But with moderates displaced Am I helping or hurting the GOP? —Glenn Beck I MAY come across as a snob But every evening I want to sob With the economic stagnation I’m the only one in the nation Who wishes he did not have his job —Barack Obama Illustration by Audrey Westcott

— Alex Tolkin is a sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences. He can be reached at 17


Betel Ezaz
accessible and close to those they serve. Often, we fail to acknowledge the scope of local governments’ jurisdiction in our daily lives, even though the effects of local policy changes are direct and can be instantaneous. Local governments are not just recipients of top-down directions from the federal government, rather they have an already overwhelmed Public Defender’s Office. Perhaps these were necessary decisions, but they are a disservice to the 1.5 million uninsured Missourians, as well as to poor and resource-less communities because apathy towards local decision makers has limited accountability and progress. I am not arguing that local elections matter more than national ones, but I do want to bring to light the incongruity of attention paid to political discourse on a

Local governments are not just recipients of top-down directions from the federal government; rather they have an equal right and ability to initiate their own programs and policy reform.
an equal right and ability to initiate their own programs and policy reform. For example, while public schools receive federal funding and are held to national expectations, their curriculum, income and performance are determined by layers of local governments, from school board officials to the governor. So when Kansas City or St. Louis recently needed to redistribute funds, bus students and even close many schools, there was no guarantee that those in power were the best qualified because they were not given the same scrutiny as congressmen. The same applies to agencies dealing with healthcare, police protection or the county courts. In the past year, local elections in St. Louis ushered in Proposition C that repealed the recent healthcare reform law. In addition, some officials deemed it necessary to fire police officers due to budget constraints and freeze salaries and hiring opportunities for national level. Local governments have an interdependent relationship with the federal government, but are not capable of handling the macrocosmic problems of the United States. However, attitudes towards national issues are shaped by familiarity with local problems, meaning that how citizens view Obama and Congress is not based on the reforms or agreements passed but by how they experience the proposed changes in their immediate environment. Change does not happen in bulk, nor is it instantaneous. As we confront problems in the U.S., we must pay attention to local issues. Education, healthcare, as well as social and economic reform will be neither successful nor sustainable if citizens and politicians are not held accountable locally before moving on to apply their knowledge and experience to crafting large-scale national reforms. — Betel Ezaz is a junior in the College of Arts and Sciences. She can be reached at bezaz@ 18

As the November midterm election looms closer, pundits and politicians are attempting to forecast the temperament of the nation through congressional races. While this is one legitimate method, too many neglect the importance of local elections, casting them as low-tier and unassuming. When I speak of local elections, I refer to statewide and city or town contests, such as those for city aldermen, mayors or state legislators. Local government officials represent democracy in a truly basic way because they are


Neel Desai
In a remote laboratory somewhere in the foothills of Pakistan’s Hindu Kush mountains lies a deadly secret, one that has sat dormant for the past 20 years. In the years leading up to the dissolution of the Soviet Union, certain arms exchanges took place with virtually any interested parties, and while the exact circumstances are poorly understood, the silence of the Kremlin on the matter has all but confirmed these furtive deals. The goods transferred were not nuclear arms, as was once commonly believed, but biological weapons: the nuke’s oft-forgotten but equally vicious sister. While the original sale was made to the Pakistani government, a series of regime changes in the country led to the “disappearance” of these bioweapons from the Defence Ministry’s laboratories in Islamabad. Presently, it is not known who possesses the weapons nor where they have been stockpiled. All that is known is that the original sale to Pakistan almost certainly included the Soviets’ flagship creation, a highly potent, weaponized strain of smallpox capable of wiping out entire swaths of population with its near-100% mortality rate and exceedingly efficient airborne transmission. If nature’s unrefined smallpox strains slaughtered between 300 and 500 million people in the 20th century, imagine the weaponized strain in the hands of a hard-core jihadist, brainwashed over a lifetime about the inherent evils of the West — certain chaos, obliteration, and possibly the end of the human species. Scared yet? As you read the words of the last paragraph (largely a fabrication, for the record), one of the most primal and basic parts of your brain, the amygdala, was activated. On the evolutionary timeline, this part of the brain predates the portions capable of higher-order logical thought, and for good reason: those of our ancestors who could not respond immediately to potential threats would not have survived to register their contributions to the species’ progeny. Moreover, it is more logical from a survival standpoint to overreact to a potential danger than it is to fail to react to a legitimate problem. With that as the legacy of the human species, it is plain to see why fear plays such a prominent role in modern politics. It just works. 19

The Four Horsemen of the Politician’s Apocalypse. Illustration by Laura Beckman Fear in politics, fear by politics The current U.S. election cycle might be the most fear-driven we have seen in years, at least since the immediate aftermath of September 11th. The 2008 elections were marked by a degree of negativity with regard to the incessant decrying of “politics as usual,” but were tempered by a pervading theme of optimism: hope, change, mavericks and Main Street all dominated the airwaves. Just two years later, the debate has mostly been reduced to anger and fear, interspersed with outright lies. The Republicans are going to take away Social Security, Barack Hussein Obama is a socialist Muslim jihadist (and fascist Nazi, along with any other negative term you can think of), anchor babies are taking over the American South, homosexual couples are going to corrupt the minds of our children with their blasphemy, Muslims in our society seek to impose Sharia law in America with their evil day-cares and community centers — one could go on forever with the sort of inane yet widely held beliefs of certain segments of the American populace. And all of these appeals are centered around fear. Xenophobia, Islamophobia, and homophobia are, depressingly enough, the calling cards of this election cycle. But who’s to blame? Can we hold the media accountable? Perhaps the concerted efforts of 527 groups behind the scenes? How about the politicians themselves? The reality is that they are all very much responsible. Attack Ads Attack ads have been around for decades, and today’s are probably no better or worse than those 50 years ago — the topics are all that have changed. The archetype in this sphere is the “Daisy” ad from the 1964 presidential election, run by President Lyndon B. Johnson’s campaign. The ad depicts a young girl picking petals off a

flower and counting down in an endearing fashion: skipping some numbers, repeating others. The ad seems light-hearted until she reaches the number nine, when a grave voice begins a countdown. In an exaggerated fashion, the girl looks towards the camera in shock and the shot focuses in on her eyes until the screen turns black. An explosion roars and a mushroom cloud engulfs the screen. With the spectacle of fire and destruction still in view, Johnson’s voice bellows out, “These are the stakes!” He goes on to describe the need for a world in which “all of God’s children can live.” Another man somberly calls on the viewer to vote for Johnson, since “the stakes are too high for you to stay home.” The drift here is unmistakable: your children will die in man’s perverse rendition of hell unless you vote for Johnson. If nothing else, this ad effectively branded Goldwater with the image of a dangerous warmonger, and he never recovered from it. At the time, an ad of this sort was virtually unheard of and was widely criticized for using images of nuclear devastation to malign Goldwater’s image, but, today, edgy political ads are only standard procedure, and few topics are off limits. A recent development in this sphere is not to just say nothing, like in the Daisy ad, but rather to implore the viewer to “ask politician X about Y,” thereby establishing a connection between the two without making any clear accusations. A new ad in West Virginia run by supporters of the Republican candidate for U.S. Congress merely states that Nick Rahall, the Democratic incumbent, chaired “Arab Americans for Obama,” and then asks voters to “call Nick Rahall and tell him to stand with West Virginians.” While the ad explicitly says little, the clear message is that Rahall “stands” with Arabs and Obama, and not with West Virginians. A clear example of racial baiting if there ever was one. The Media The media might be the most potent culprit here, if only because its statements carry a sheen of legitimacy, whereas those of a political attack ad or politician might not. The media also represents the newest medium for fear mongering — in past years, the media took on a much more deferential role. Certain topics were not considered fair game; for example, today it is well accepted that both Eisenhower and Kennedy had extramarital affairs, but at the time, the public was completely unaware since the media never broached the issues. However, today, virtually no issue is off limits, let alone personal ones. This is part of a wider shift from hard news, or discussion of actual policy issues, to soft news, which has more of a commentary or “infotainment” slant. A great example of this infotainment gone especially awry is a 2006 episode of “Fox and Friends,” the flagship morning program on Fox News Channel. The focal point of the discussion revolves around Barack Obama’s supposed connections to Islam and radical madrassas, where they purportedly train terrorists. Mind you, various independent sources have confirmed all of these claims to be falsehoods, but Fox and Friends parades them as if they were common knowledge. Below is a segment widely panned for propagating the idea that Obama is a muslim: Doocy (Fox and Friends host): We should also point out that Barack Obama’s father is the one who gave him the middle name of Hussein. And the thing about the madrassa, and you know, let’s just be honest about this, in the last number of years, madrassas have been, we’ve learned a lot about them, financed by Saudis, they teach this Wahhabism which pretty much hates us. The big question is was that on the curriculum back then? Probably not, but it was a madrassa and the big question is whether or not any of these revelations about the fact that he was a Muslim — right now I understand he does go to the Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, although not a regular parishioner — but raised as a Muslim, went to a madrassa.” ... Doocy: Just the fact that his father was a Muslim, he was raised as a Muslim for a while, and went to a madrassa school in Jakarta? Caller: Right. I mean, you think that would possibly give him better insight on the enemy, maybe he doesn’t consider terrorists the enemy. Approximately 1 in 5 Americans now believe that Obama is a Muslim. The Pew Research Center reports that of those who believe Obama is a Muslim, 60% claim to have learned that from the media. This is more disconcerting if one delves a little deeper, because perceptions of Obama’s religion are very strongly tied to opinions of his job performance: “Those who say he is a Muslim overwhelmingly disapprove of his job performance, while the majority of those who think he is a Christian approve of the job Obama is doing.” Similar examples of fear mongering abound in the news media, especially on the 24-hour news networks, which have made the strongest shift towards soft news. The greater concern on the part of the conscientious political observer is as to whether the general public recognizes this shift, as the news networks have made zero effort to stop trumpeting themselves as “fair and balanced” or the “most trusted name in news.” Politicians have also made a point to use the cable news networks as advocacy platforms, since certain networks can be expected to play softball with candidates of similar political leanings. Sarah Palin, arguably one of the more astute students of the doctrine of fear mongering, made an appearance on Fox News to discuss “the rise of Tea Party candidates” like herself. Palin deftly created suspicion and fear in the minds of her viewers by asserting that “we are learning more about Christine O’Donnell and her college years and her teenage years and her financial dealings than anybody ever even bothered to ask about Barack Hussein Obama as a candidate and now as our president.” Someone should introduce Palin to the birthers. Any hope left? Fear has been, and will always remain a powerful tool in the hands of politicians. And as always, politicians will wield it to their advantage. This reality is inextricably tied to the human existence, and will likely never change. However, as with most things in life, fear mongering ebbs and flows — political and social circumstances are always changing, and the role of fear increases and subsides in the same fashion. If the news media shifts away from hard news, whether or not the public is consciously aware of it, it too will gradually move away from the news media as the source of truth. Distrust in the media is at an all-time high, and this statistic is unlikely to move anywhere but up. Ultimately, the trend will correct itself at some point. If nothing else, people will come to fear the fear mongering. Now who’s scared?

— Neel Desai is a sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences. He can be reached at 20


Gavin Frisch
It could be because of the projected GOP comeback similar to the one in 1994 or because that there isn’t such an election going on in Missouri, but it seems like that the nation’s 37 gubernatorial elections have gone seemingly unnoticed. Nineteen Democratic-governed states, seventeen Republican governed states, and one independently governed state will see voters punch tickets to elect a new governor. Gubernatorial races in other states may not seem important to students in Missouri. However, the importance of these races extends beyond state borders, as the new governors will have an effect on national politics for the next decade. Every ten years, the federal government is required to take a census of the American population. Information from the census is used to designate federal funding for a wide variety of causes, such as education, law enforcement, highways, and more. In addition to the allocation of funds, the government analyzes the population of the states to determine if they are represented in the federal government properly. For all citizens to be represented equally, one state may lose representation in the House of Representatives and the Electoral College, another state may gain representation. Representation is either added or taken away to maintain a 435-member House of Representatives and 538-vote Electoral College. The national effect of the governorship of a specific state and the census may seem completely unrelated, but there is a very important connection. Governors play a large role in redrawing district lines, which ensures that their constituents are represented in Congress. Since governors have the ability to veto unfavorable redistricting bills, they have considerable influence in the process. Thus if a state gets an additional representative, some current districts may need to be divided to form a new one. Projections show eight states gaining at least one seat but 10 expected to lose at least one. The act of redistricting is often done in the early part of the decade, so some of the new governors will have considerable influence over the next decade of national politics. Redistricting is the reason why the political party of other states’ governors actually matters. For example, the state of Texas is projected to gain four congressional seats after the 2010 census. Republican Gov. Rick Perry is favored in current polls for re-election against Democrat Bill White, so Perry would be able to approve new district lines that would likely add to the number of Republicans in Congress. Perry was once taken to the Supreme Court for gerrymandering, also known as partisan redistricting, but the Supreme Court overturned only one small part because of racial gerrymandering. The gerrymandering in Texas resulted in a Republican gain of six congressional seats between 2002 and 2004. Redistricting has shown to have a significant effect on the makeup of the House of Representatives. The governors in office immediately after the 2010 elections will have considerable influence over creating new districts that send more politicians of the same party to Washington, D.C. Luckily for the GOP, between six and seven states set to gain representation are likely to have a Republican governor, which would further strengthen Republican leadership in Washington for the next 10 years. What is certain, though, is that the political Washington The Democratic nominee in Washington is an incumbent, Patty Murray. Her challenger is Dino Rossi, a businessman who was a Washington State Senator and ran twice for governor. Before the first poll was even taken most pundits believed Washington would be a slam-dunk for the Democrats in the midterms. Yet the first two polls released in January and February of this year showed Rossi with a surprising 2-point lead over Murray. Since then the race has gone back and forth, although recently Murray has held a slight lead. Analysts at showed Murray with an average lead of just over 5 points at the end of September. The surprise bounce is attributed to her starting to spend money on TV campaign ads, but it remains to be seen whether her rise in the polls is anything more than a deadcat bounce. Unlike Connecticut, this Senate race is much closer and the dynamics of the state are far less blue. The most recent Rasmussen poll places Rossi ahead by just one point, but reveals that 45% of the state strongly disapproves of Obama. The anti-Obama vote is very strong and could push Rossi over the finish line if the election is close. Coupled with a possible win from McMahon, the Republicans would take control of the Senate and pick up a total of ten seats. — Matthew Lauer is a freshman in the College of Arts and Sciences. He can be reached at

Elbridge Gerry was born in 1744 in Marblehead, Massachusetts, and attended Harvard University. Gerry has an extensive political resume: the Democratic-Republican was a signer of the Declaration of Independence, the ninth governor of Massachusetts, and the fifth vice president of the United States. Known best as the namesake of gerrymandering, Elbridge Gerry redrew the district lines in Massachusetts to clump all the Federalists into one district. This resulted in Gerry’s party winning all the state’s remaining districts. His support over the redistricting bill cost him his governorship in 1812, but he was chosen to be James Madison’s vice president. Gerry died in office in 1814. 21

influence of some states will change while governors will attempt to create districts favorable to their party.

— Gavin Frisch is a sophomore in the Business School. He can be reached at


Anna Applebaum

Something changes when you talk on the phone with a stranger. Somewhere there is a face you will never see and a voice you can only connect to through a few wires for a few moments. There are constraints imposed on judging reactions and gathering information when on the phone with a stranger, yet the anonymity is also freeing. The form creates distance, the communication creates intimacy. You don’t know me, but listen. If you don’t know what I mean, try phone banking. There are few other opportunities that allow you to capitalize so well on potentially uncomfortable conversations. Whether you are calling in support of a cause or a candidate, the fact is that you are dialing a random group of people and intruding upon their lives, two or three minutes at a time. It’s perhaps not very surprising, then, that you are often told “No thanks,” or simply hung up on. So what’s the point of the experience? Not too long ago, I spent an evening calling Missouri voters for incumbent Democratic Congressman Russ Carnahan. The campaign was contacting people

in his district, asking, “If the election was tomorrow, who would you vote for: Russ Carnahan or Ed Martin?” A simple question, but I received complicated answers. Hang-ups were abundant, and the “I’m too busy-ers” had a strong showing that night. There were several rants about our current political system and, frankly, far too many people who didn’t know who was running. At the beginning, I was incredibly discouraged. Then I realized something important – this was one of best ways I could honestly appraise “real Missouri voters.” While I love that students at Washington University come from all across the country and the world, it would be absurd to claim that a student on our campus is representative of an average “Missourian.” When phone banking, then, I got to actually talk to Missouri voters – to get a sense of what they like, how they are feeling and what they want. Some liked hanging up on me, felt annoyed I was talking, and wanted to get off the phone. But so many more used the special anonymity of the phone to speak frankly. I called people to learn about their

political lives, and though constrained to vocal interaction, the phone allowed them to express themselves freely. They told me everything – how they didn’t care about candidates, didn’t want to care and didn’t want to vote in November. Being actively involved in politics, this wasn’t what I wanted to hear. Yet I got a clearer sense, a truer feel of the political pulse of this state than I could have in any other fashion. There is one phone call I made that night that stands out. A woman complained to me that she was too fed up with politics in general to vote in the midterm elections. Yet she was open to listening, and we spoke for several minutes about disenchantment, cynicism, and civic duty. By the end of the call, she told me she would vote– though I didn’t ask for which candidate. It was one of the most important conversations I’ve had since returning to school this year. I’ll return, and risk talking to strangers, to find that honesty again. — Anna Applebaum is a sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences. She can be reached at 22


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— Andrew Luskin is a sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences. He can be reached at 24


Ben Lash
When Florida and politics are mixed, the normal result seems to be abnormality. The state known for single-handedly making a mockery of the 2000 presidential election has also produced such esteemed public servants as former Rep. Mark Foley (R-FL), who resigned in 2006 after investigators unearthed sexually explicit e-mails he exchanged with teenage male aides, and Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL), who recently ran re-election ads comparing his opponent to a member of the Taliban.

Illustration by Michelle Nahmad 25

Stay tuned for Florida’s next political episode, Connecticut the 2010 Florida Senate race, which promises a The sitting senator, Christopher Dodd, opted not to run for reelection this year after facing scrutiny slightly tamer yet still over personal finances related to the subprime mortgage meltdown. Instead, the Democratic Party potentially interesting nominated Attorney General Richard Blumenthal to slug out 15 rounds against the Republican political subplot: a nominee, former CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) Linda McMahon. sitting governor who Over the last few months the race went from a blowout to a competitive toss-up. In early June, was shunned by his Rasmussen Reports, an independent polling agency, showed Blumenthal with a massive 23-point own party, a Latino lead. Four months later, the same polling agency showed McMahon behind by just 5 points. Despite candidate who supports Connecticut being a deeply blue state, the Rasmussen poll shows that only 27% of likely voters believe Arizona’s controversial that the current policies of the federal government put the country on the right course. immigration law, and This race is largely Blumenthal’s to lose, but underlying currents are making an upset increasingly a Democratic nominee likely. If McMahon continues to wage a strong campaign her chances to win will only get better. If she who, in some polls, ends up winning this race by anything more than 5 points on election night, the Democrats’ night does not lead among will be much worse than previously thought. — Matthew Lauer registered Democrats. When Republican Sen. Mel Martinez of Florida unexpectedly announced in August Initially, most Floridians embraced the The latest figures show Rubio leading of 2009 that he would step down, political move. Polling in early May indicated that Crist by 12 to 15 percentage points. observers immediately began speculating the newly independent Crist would beat Most pollsters who analyze the data have about the race for an open Senate seat in Rubio and Democratic candidate Kendrick concluded that barring a significant the country’s largest swing state. At the Meek in a three-way contest. change in circumstances, the rightoutset, the conventional wisdom held that But the transition from Republican wing Republican with no patience for incumbent Republican Gov. Charlie Crist to independent would prove to be more moderation or compromise will be the would win both his party’s nomination and difficult as Crist began to alter some of his next U.S. senator from Florida. Some on the vacated Senate seat. Some pundits even stances on the issues publicly. The candidate, the right will likely claim victory for the remarked that Crist’s Senate victory was a who during the GOP primary declared conservative agenda over the centrist one. foregone conclusion. himself to be “about as conservative as you But with his constant flip-flopping, Charlie But Crist faced a tougher-than-expected can get” and as a “pro-life, pro-gun, anti-tax Crist was not the right person to carry the challenge for the Republican nomination Republican,” now made the calculation to centrist mantle from the start. from Florida Speaker of the House move leftward on the political spectrum to Unfortunately, Floridians will not Marco Rubio. Rubio, whose political court Democrats and fellow independents. have the option to throw their weight philosophy aligns with the far-right wing The result was one of the more barefaced behind a candidate who firmly believes of the GOP, appealed to anti-incumbent acts of political “flip-flopping” in recent in a moderate approach to governance— sentiment within his party (and his policy memory, which included Crist reversing his one with a track record of independent platform resonated most with those who conservative positions on abortion rights, decision-making and a willingness to take particular issue with the increasing offshore drilling, and gay adoption. (I have prioritize public service over politics. federal budget deficit). As Rubio spread intentionally excluded Crist’s position on In an increasingly polarized political his message of limited government and President Obama’s health care legislation environment, and as bitter partisanship reduced spending, he became a favorite out of fear that it will change prior to the pushes Congress toward irresponsible of the Tea Party movement, and his publication of this article.) inaction on key issues, the time is ripe for candidacy exploded. His local popularity After his dizzying string of policy shifts, independent, centrist candidates to make a and national recognition increased, and Crist went from a sizeable lead in the polls mark on our democracy. he even appeared on the cover of The New to trailing by double digits. While Rubio The state of Florida, like the nation, York Times Magazine in January. As Rubio and some conservative commentators needs more candidates like Charlie surged in the polls, the two Republican have interpreted this shift in polling data Crist who articulate an open-minded, candidates waged a contentious battle for as a rejection of Crist’s new center-left evenhanded approach to governing. But party supremacy. Ultimately, conservative views, the change more likely reflects voter we also need candidates with stronger discontent with establishment politicians dissatisfaction with the transitory nature political backbones to carry the torch for and Crist’s support for Obama’s stimulus of the governor’s positions rather than the these ideals that will ultimately benefit our package were too much for Republican positions themselves. “It would work well country. voters to stomach. for somebody who wasn’t quite as overtly Just two days before the filing deadline, politically ambitious as he’s been,” Brad Crist (who by then was trailing Rubio by Coker, the managing director of Masonsignificant margins in the polls) declared Dixon Polling & Research, said of Crist’s — Ben Lash is a freshman in the College his intention to run as an independent to moderate approach in a recent Wall Street of Arts and Sciences. He can be reached at avoid a humiliating primary defeat. Journal article. 26


Steven Perlberg

Whether or not you agree that President Barack Obama could have remedied this statistic, the unemployment figures have cast a shadow of doubt over the Obama administration’s otherwise favorable policies.
As midterm season fast approaches, pundits are doing their best to diagnose what exactly is wrong with the Democrats. According to a recent FiveThirtyEight election forecast, Republicans have a staggering 72% chance of regaining the House. As Democrats appear exposed and muddled, the Tea Party movement has emerged as an “energized” force with which to be reckoned. This of course begs the question: what is the underlying appeal of the Tea Party? The answer is rooted in our lingering 10% rate of unemployment. Whether or not you agree that President Barack Obama could have remedied this statistic, the unemployment figures have cast a shadow of doubt over the Obama administration’s otherwise favorable policies. According to a recent Newsweek poll, Democrats trump Republicans in almost every major policy issue, leading on the war in Afghanistan by six points, health care by 12, Social Security by 12, financial reform by 14, and energy by 19. Still, the public is unconvinced that the Democrats should keep their majority. Although economic improvement has been slower than expected, the passage of key legislation has helped put the country back on the road to recovery. The media has labeled Republicans and the Tea Party as motivated forces. Yet, the Tea Party is not an action but merely a reaction. Its current appeal rests on the fact that the unemployment rate is so high—and not on any other issue. The Tea Party’s infamously zealous opposition to Obama’s policies, including health care, TARP, and the stimulus, ought to be seen through the murky lens of unemployment. 27 The Tea Party message would not resonate so well with the media and independents if unemployment were at 6% rather than 10%. When people are jobless or in poor financial shape, arguments concerning the failure of those in power ring truer. It is not all that different from students rating professors badly on course evaluations because they did poorly on the tests. So when a reactionary group like the Tea Party screams loudly on Fox News that the government spends too much and needs to cut taxes, that emotional argument makes much more sense when the economy is still so anemic. And while many Tea Party supporters are middle-class Americans who feel snubbed by Obama and Congress, their leaders are “people backing ultra rightwing corporate interests” who have been promoting the same agenda “for the last 30 years,” as Bill Clinton noted. Tea Party-like “movements” were around during Clinton’s own administration, but they lacked the vim and vigor of today’s Tea Party, likely because Americans back then were more or less content with the U.S.’s general economic performance. Even though taxes were higher during the Clinton years, the same “cut taxes and spending” argument did not receive such broad-based support in a bullish U.S. economy. On election night, if the GOP reclaims the House, the pundits will start to rationalize the results. They will claim that Obama’s disconnect with the American people, along with an ineffectual health care plan, has lead to the Democrats’ collapse. As you watch this, just remember how much

As the prospect of a Republican takeover in the House becomes more certain and a Republican takeover in the Senate becomes more viable, pundits have begun writing obituaries for the Obama presidency. Republicans will ride the wave of momentum they receive from the midterm elections all the way to the White House in 2012, so the pundits argue. However, a Republican-controlled House and/or Senate may actually improve President Obama’s chances at re-election. Obama could use President Clinton’s first term in office as a model. In what became known as the “Republican Revolution,” the GOP spanked the Democrats in the 1994 midterm elections, gaining control of both the House and Senate. In response, Clinton positioned himself as a fiscal centrist and worked with Republicans to cut discretionary spending. In 1996, voters rewarded Clinton with a landslide victory. If the Republicans do indeed take the House this November, Obama has the opportunity to perform “Clintonesque realignment.” Obama can team up with the Republicans to tackle the budget deficit. This way, when controversial decisions on spending cuts are made, both Democrats and Republicans will have yielded the scalpel; and, if economic conditions remain stagnant come 2012, the Republicans will have to bear some of the blame. During the 2008 presidential campaign, Obama portrayed himself as someone who is capable of transcending party lines to achieve some overlapping consensus. A Republican victory in November is the potential vehicle for Obama to build bridges across partisan lines and resurrect his re-election hopes in 2012. — Peter Birke better Obama’s other policies would look if they were not shrouded in a dark cloud of unemployment. — Steven Perlberg is a sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences. He can be reached at


“The infrastructure of this province was already destroyed by terrorism. Whatever was left was finished off by these floods.” Mian Iftikhar Hussain, the information minister of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa region in Pakistan, is not optimistic about the prospects of a region devastated by an unprecedented monsoon. His gloomy assessment is the reality faced by 21 million Pakistanis forced from their already precarious tightrope walk with terror into a misery even they didn’t think possible. The most recent estimates place the death toll at a little over 2,000. While even a single death is a tragedy, this is not a high number for a natural disaster of this magnitude. To put this in perspective, the 1931 flooding of the Yellow River in China claimed more than 3 million lives. One can argue, however, that the plight that millions of Pakistanis face is worse than death. A Breeding Ground for Disease, Poverty and Terror By June, it was clear that the monsoons were going to be far heavier than normal. The cause was later traced back to the effect of a natural weathercausing phenomenon called La Niña, something that many scientists believe is an explanation for irregular weather patterns observed around the world. By early August, the rain hadn’t stopped, and more was expected. In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 7.88 inches of rain fell in a single day, while Peshawar registered a staggering, world-record 10.7 inches over one 24-hour period.

Siddharth Krishnan

Illustration by Anya Liao The rivers of Punjab province, traditionally the cause of the land’s prosperity, overflowed their banks and submerged 226,000 homes in 4,600 villages. In many places, the water level was 18 feet, higher than most homes. At one point, it is estimated that one-fifth of the country was underwater. The stagnant water has formed a breeding ground for diseases like gastroenteritis, diarrhea and dengue fever. With nearly a million people inaccessible by land, and hospitals destroyed, their chances of finding medication were, and continue to be, slim. Submerged crops and destroyed homes have also meant mass starvation in the villages, or whatever is left of them. The estimated crop damage for wheat, the region’s staple, is $500 million. In regions of Sindh province, there has been a complete breakdown of law and order, with looters running rampant and authorities helpless to stop them with so many people in need. The total economic damages for the flood are on the order of $43 billion, over a fourth of a country’s gross domestic product. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called it the biggest humanitarian crisis he has seen. In short, Pakistan simply cannot afford the costs that this disaster has imposed on its people. What’s worse than the economic costs of the floods, however, is the possible political outcome of the collapse of law and order in so many regions. Pakistan has long been the key to a successful U.S. campaign in Afghanistan. Its importance to U.S. interests was apparent when one of Barack Obama’s first appointments as president was that of Richard Holbrooke as special envoy to Pakistan and Afghanistan. In recent years,

the remote, tribally administered northwestern part of the country has fallen prey to Taliban influence, and it took a massive military offensive from the Pakistani army to restore a level of order back to the region. The floods have put the hard-earned success of the military offensive at risk. Not only is the Taliban taking advantage of the general chaos, but it is are also using the disaster as a platform from which it can gain political support. The Taliban has offered to organize relief efforts in rural regions with the condition that the government refuse the aid of “the Christians and Jews.” The Pakistani army, already stretched thin under the massive strain of rescue and relief operations, is increasingly powerless to stop the growing influence of the Taliban in the hardest-hit regions. No Relief in Sight Nick Clegg, the leader of Britain’s Liberal Democrats, has called the aid response of the international community to the floods “absolutely pitiful.” The protracted nature of the disaster and the relatively low death toll have drawn a remarkably apathetic reaction from both Europe and the United States. This is not ideal for a country grappling with a calamity that has affected more people than the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, the 2010 Haitian earthquake and the 2005 Kashmir earthquake combined. What makes the situation even worse is the presence of corrupt ministers and feudal leaders who siphon aid funds to themselves and floodwater to villages to save their own land. More than ever before, this is Pakistan’s hour of need, and the international community must rise to the challenge of rebuilding a country devastated by floods and terrorism. Not only is it of strategic importance, but it is also the right the thing to do. The consequences of Mian Iftikhar Hussain’s statement are simply too dire to ponder.

Illustration of Pakistan by Anya Liao

— Siddharth Krishnan is a sophomore in the Engineering School. He can be reached at 28


On October 4, Nicholas Kristof came to Washington University to talk about his book, Half the Sky and to discuss general issues regarding the oppression of women worldwide. WUPR editor Anna Applebaum and I were fortunate enough to schedule a meeting with him. On the day he arrived, we met at the Brown School of Social Work for the interview. Nicholas Kristof has been a New York Times columnist for almost ten years. After graduating from Harvard University, he was a Rhodes Scholar and studied law at Oxford University. He clearly loves to travel – he learned Arabic in Cairo, Mandarin in Taipei, has visited over 150 countries and has been to all 50 states, all provinces in China and every single main Japanese island. He has also visited every country in the “Axis of Evil” – Iran, Iraq and North Korea – twice. These experiences have given him strong perspectives on a wide breadth of issues ranging from human trafficking to global health. 29 In 1990, he and his wife Sheryl WuDunn won a Pulitzer Prize for their coverage of the controversial Tiananmen Square movement in Beijing, China. In 2006 he was awarded another Pulitzer Prize for his reporting on the Darfur genocide. A documentary about him, “Reporter”, was shown on HBO earlier this year. Our first impressions of him were surprising. Though his columns are often fiery and passionate, he assumed a casual and friendly manner during our meeting. Despite his hectic schedule, he was very energetic and eager to share his experiences, and what we thought would be a formal interview quickly became an engaging conversation. Throughout our interview, he emphasized the importance of stepping out of one’s comfort zone, drawing from his numerous travels around the world in emphasizing the importance of firsthand experience. We hope the transcript of the interview will leave you just as inspired as it left us.


Anna Applebaum, Jannina Phi
WUPR: In America today, there seem to be many public figures of great sway and influence with the American people that are using their public platforms to inspire what seems to us to be negative sentiments and false ideas. How do you, as someone with a similar range of public influence, feel like you need to react? NK: I think some Americans have been surprised that I have written several columns that criticize what I have seen as Islamophobia. Part of the reason comes from one time when I was in Yemen – I was meeting a bunch of smart Yemeni middle class journalists and asking them why nobody was standing up to the fundamentalist mullahs who were saying all kinds of ridiculous things about the West, about Judaism, and so on…and I kind of thought that since I was pushing them to take a stand against their extremists, I should take a stand and do the same against our own. And at the end of the day what is really the fundamental question here has less to do with Islam and more to do with our own rights. NK: There are always going to be really wacky things that are said in the American public debate and I’m not going to try and name all of them. Sometimes you almost feel that you’re calling more attention to really wacky points of view. In general, I try to ignore them until they get a kind of critical mass. In the 2008 campaign, Glenn Beck raised the question, broadcast on CNN, on whether Obama was the anti-Christ. If it was a website raising that question, I would have left it alone, but CNN raising it just seemed a bit beyond the pale. I feel a professional obligation that when journalists do things to promote hatred, other journalists have some obligation to stand up to that. WUPR: You’re very well traveled and have been to places all over the world. Can you tell us about the experiences that have been the funniest, the worst, or made the biggest impact on you? 30

Photograph taken by Sarah Maurizi from Student Life

NK: Probably the most dramatic was in the [Democratic Republic of] Congo during the civil war there. It started with a plane crash getting into Congo. We crashed into a jungle, where the plane was clearly destroyed. When I finally reached Kisangani in the center of Congo, I thought, instead of trying to fly out, why don’t I just drive out? One of the rebel armies had recently built a road and I tried to drive out and almost immediately ran into a warlord who was busy killing ethnic Hutus. And he did not appreciate my presence there. So for the next week, a truckload of his soldiers chased me across Eastern Congo across the jungle. And over the course of that, I got the most lethal form of malaria. That was one trip… maybe the most difficult trip I’ve taken. China’s one of the places I find most fascinating because there is such uncertainty over what China’s future will be. There are tremendous variations between the capital, ethnic minority and rural areas and, of course, a very rich and complicated culture. China is one of the places I enjoy the most. WUPR: You have this program called “Win a Trip with Kristof.” In your column you’ve also described a program called Teach for the World, which is a kind of Teach for America program extended internationally. Why do you think this was so important, especially for young people to be traveling, and do you think the Teach the World program is a feasible reality? Would college students really be a demographic for that? NK: President Obama didn’t respond to my column by creating a Teach for the World. But there are other programs that do let people teach English, volunteer or intern abroad… A lot of students worry about the expense, but you can get by in India or China or Vietnam on remarkably little money and can also teach English, to some degree, to cover those expenses. New Zealanders and Australians, for example, will commonly take a couple of years and just travel around the world, especially Asia. When they run out of money, they stay in one place, and work for a couple months until they have a little more money and then go a little farther. The result is that they really learn a lot about the world. I think young women especially psych themselves out and think that, well, it’s the kind of thing that guys can do but girls can get in trouble with and so on. Obviously there are risks and one has to be careful, but in fact Australian women and New Zealand women are traveling more than men do, and most aid workers in the rough response areas are women. So I think if one has some common sense and travels with a friend, one is going to be just fine. It’s really a transformative experience. I’d love to see universities encourage more gap years both before college, and…make one after college. In particular, I’d say that any student today really should have very good Spanish…and it makes no sense to study that in St. Louis. The place to study that is in Mexico, or Peru, or Guatemala, or whatever. So if a student after graduation can go to such a place and really get a good command of Spanish, that would be a really important life-long skill….The back of Half the Sky lists places that people can go and have a remarkable experience, and I really encourage that. WUPR: You have frequently advanced the argument that empowering women and girls leads to increased economic success in developing countries. Can we start off with a general overview about what the basis for this understanding is? 31

Photograph taken by Sarah Maurizi from Student Life NK: There are a lot of reasons, but two important ones are that, first, that is where the unexploited resources are in poor countries. If you think about assets that poor countries have and are not utilizing, the most important is the other half of the female population. And the second is that you can’t really begin to make progress against global poverty or human conflict unless you reduce birth rates, [which is] just critical. If you educate a man, on average he’d have fewer children, but the effect is much stronger if you educate a girl. So bringing those educated women into the mainstream is an incredibly inventive way to reduce birth rates and empower countries to see them grow economically and become more peaceful. WUPR: Is there one specific approach to education that you’ve found to be most effective? NK: Not really. There’s no silver bullet, there’s no one way that works most effectively and in fact a lot of methods don’t work. Helping people really is hard and it’s important to be flexible. In a country like Afghanistan there is an argument that the best place to educate girls is in the mosques because the mosques are already there and the Taliban tends to be less suspicious of education of girls when they’re conducted in [a religious context] and it doesn’t require much investment. Even little things like de-worming kits – you just don’t think about it because St. Louis kids don’t have worms but most kids in the world do, and de-worming them helps them to attend school. WUPR: As young educated students, very fortunate to be in this university and country, what do you say to us and what is the best way for us to utilize our efforts to promote women’s education worldwide? NK: Students are not at a stage in life that they’re going to be writing big checks… In Half the Sky, we mostly emphasize needs abroad but there are also huge needs at home, and there are some kids whose needs really resonate with them [students]…I’ve met college kids who have done tutoring in prisons and that’s the best way to learn about the justice system – not to take a course about it but to tutor them. And human trafficking is an issue in St. Louis as well as in Cambodia. Where one does it is less important than going out and encountering problems and issues first hand, and then just getting together with some friends and figuring out what they’re going to do. — Anna Applebaum and Jannina Phi are both sophomores in the College of Arts and Sciences. They can be reached at and at


Jacqueline Gunn
Once again, the French capital has been rocked by a dynastic feud, which has snowballed into allegations of illegal campaign donations. This time, Le Monde, France’s most respected newspaper, announced its intent to sue the President Nicolas Sarkozy for violating freedom of the press. On September 13, Le Monde published a front-page article that claimed that the president ordered the DCRI, the French intelligence agency, to spy on one of its journalists. The newspaper alleged that the DCRI investigated sources involved in its July article that linked the ruling Union for a Popular Movement party to illegal party donations by Liliane Bettencourt, an heiress to the L’Oréal empire and France’s richest woman. The scandal began in 2007, when Ms. Bettencourt’s estranged daughter, Françoise BettencourtMeyers, filed a lawsuit to have her mother made a ward of the court. Ms. Bettencourt-Meyers claimed her mother’s associate FrancoisMarie Banier, took advantage of the 87-year-old heiress and had received gifts worth around €1 billion. The trial took a new turn this June, when Ms. Bettencourt’s former butler released secret tapes of more than 21 hours of conversation in the household. The transcripts hinted that the heiress hid a part of her fortune in a secret Swiss bank account in order to avoid taxes, and had also handed 150,000 euros in cash to Eric Woerth, the government minister to Mr. Sarkozy’s 2007 presidential campaign. French law strictly limits campaign contributions by individuals to 4,600 euros, or 150 in cases of cash contributions – making Ms. Bettencourt’s donation a thousand times over the legal limit. Further suspicions were cast on Mr. Woerth when Le Monde published an article in July that included excerpts from a police interview of one of the witnesses worthy of his name does not give his sources. Everyone must understand this, everyone must accept it.” He delivered his campaign promises this January when he strengthened the law that protects press freedom and privacy of media sources: the modified clause of the law, which dates back to 1881, reads “The secret of journalists’ sources is protected in the exercise of their public information.” To add insult to injury, Le Monde’s accusation comes only months after a revelation that the president enlisted the intelligence service to discover the culprit of the infidelity rumors about him and his wife, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy. If the allegation turns out to be true, this could deal a painful blow to Mr. Sarkozy’s centerright UMP party. Although the UMP party united other rightist parties under its alliance, many splinter parties have formed since 2007, including the United Republic party. The UR party leader Dominique de Villepin has been gaining momentum in the past year, and speculations grow as to whether Mr. Villepin would form an alliance of the rightleaning splinter groups to lead an opposition to Mr. Sarkozy’s 2012 presidential bid. The president has already resorted to desperate measures to cling to his waning domestic popularity by cracking down on illegal Roma immigrants, expelling nearly 1,000 Roma Gypsies to Bulgaria and Romania since late July. But following this media fiasco, magnified and exploited by the Socialist opposition, Mr. Sarkozy will need to do more than appeal to the anti-immigrant population if he wants to keep his approval rating from dipping any further. — Jacqueline Gunn is a freshman in the College of Arts and Sciences. She can be reached at 32

Illustration by Audrey Westcott involved in the affair. The paper alleged that the government had subsequently authorized the DCRI to identify the source and spy on one of its reporters. The DCRI identified David Sénat, an official of the Justice Ministry, as the source, whose telephone logs revealed correspondence with a Le Monde reporter. In early September, Mr. Sénat was demoted and sent on a mission to French Guyana, France’s infamous former penal colony, which translates to a thinly veiled political exile. Ironically, Mr. Sarkozy stated in his first press conference at the Elsyée Palace on January 8, 2008, that “A journalist


Dan Rebnord

“In the months and years following President Bush’s speech on the USS Abraham Lincoln, it became clear that the Bush administration had severely underestimated both the resilience of Iraqi insurgents, and the complex and intricate processes necessary to rebuild the state of Iraq.” On March 19, 2003, President George W. Bush revealed to the American people that he had initiated military operations against Saddam Hussein in order to accomplish three goals: “to disarm Iraq, to free its people and to defend the world from grave danger.” On May 1, 2003, President Bush declared on the USS Abraham Lincoln that major combat operations in Iraq had ended, and that the United States’ mission had been accomplished. In the months and years following President Bush’s speech on the USS Abraham Lincoln, it became clear that the Bush administration had severely underestimated both the resilience of Iraqi insurgents and the complex and intricate processes necessary to rebuild the state of Iraq. On August 19, 2010—exactly seven years and five months after the invasion— the remaining combat troops in Iraq 33

finally crossed the border into Kuwait. Within the 89 months that United States combat troops were stationed in Iraq, 4,421 servicemen and women were killed and almost 32,000 were wounded. It is estimated that anywhere between 97,461 and 106,348 Iraqi civilians lost their lives. Between 2006-2010, 1.6 million Iraqis had been displaced, and by the end of fiscal year 2011, the United States will have spent $802 billion on the war effort. Seven years after deploying military forces to Iraq, we are left with the question of whether the mission in Iraq was indeed a success, or whether it was simply an astonishing mismanagement of human life and capital resources. As stated earlier, President Bush told the American people that the United States had three primary objectives in invading Iraq; we can begin our analysis by determining the extent to which each of these objectives was accomplished. Mission 1: Disarm Iraq Certainly, we all remember the images streaming over the airways in the days immediately following the beginning of the United States’ invasion of Iraq. Smoke billowed and fires raged all across Baghdad

while American bombs and artillery shells pounded the city. Courtesy of Bush’s renowned shock and awe tactics, Iraq was disarmed within days of the American invasion. However, when President Bush referred to “disarming Iraq,” he meant removing Iraq’s supposed “weapons of mass destruction.” As of today, no nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons have been found in Iraq. Hans Blix, the 82-year-old former chief United Nations weapons inspector, claimed that those who were “100% certain there were weapons of mass destruction” in Iraq turned out to have “less than 0% knowledge” of where those weapons could be found. Critical judgments of faulty U.S. intelligence aside, it is fair to say that in the 89 months that the United States occupied Iraq, Iraq’s military capabilities were essentially neutralized. Mission 2: Free the Iraqi People To say the least, the conceptual structure of this mission is precarious. In what regard did President Bush mean “freedom”? If he meant freedom in terms of eliminating the tyranny of Saddam Hussein, then yes, Operation Iraqi Freedom was a success. However, such a conception of freedom is incongruous with our traditional, Western


Seven years after deploying military forces to Iraq, we are left with the question of whether the mission in Iraq was indeed a success, or whether it was simply an astonishing mismanagement of human life and capital resources.
notions of freedom. Freedom ought to mean the freedom to live in peace, to govern oneself democratically, and to be provided with basic infrastructures. If this is how we are to define freedom, then the United States’ mission has been an unforgivable failure. Saddam Hussein may have been a cruel tyrant who committed horrible atrocities against his own people; however, his regime provided structure and security. Under Hussein, the state of Iraq functioned as a working state. The government that has been implemented by the United States is so divided by sectarian conflict that it is wildly inefficient. Thus, little is being done in terms of progressing towards rebuilding Iraqi infrastructure, which was destroyed by the U.S. invasion. Without an active government and an established infrastructure, Iraqi insurgents are still capable of committing attacks against innocent civilians. The current situation in Iraq is not representative of democratic freedom, but anarchy. Until a democratic government is established which is capable of representing the Iraqi people, true freedom will be elusive. In this regard, the United States has failed to provide the Iraqi people with freedom. Worse, we have failed in the utmost to do justice for the destruction and pain we have caused the state and the people of Iraq. Mission 3: Defend the World From Grave Danger Is our world really any safer because of Saddam Hussein’s removal? We have already established that his regime never possessed the weapons of mass destruction that the United States claimed he had, and, therefore, Hussein was never a threat in that regard. Yet Saddam Hussein’s regime was a harmful one, and Hussein personally was a dangerous leader in international affairs. But how evil was he, really? Apparently, not that bad, since the United States sent him aid and military weapons during the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980’s and left him in power after the first Gulf War. The United States had myriad opportunities to condemn Hussein and his regime, yet we opted to provide him with aid and to leave him in power after his attempted invasion of Kuwait. If Saddam Hussein was truly as grave a threat to the world as President Bush claimed, then the United States should have treated him as such—and not merely as a political pawn. The grave dangers of the world lie elsewhere—not in Saddam Hussein’s ousted regime. In reality, Saddam Hussein had little involvement or influence in the ideological and political dynamics that continue to threaten the United States and the rest of the world today. Note that I have deliberately avoided the issue as to whether the recent War in Iraq was worth its many costs. Rather, I have addressed the extent to which the United States has achieved its goals and objectives in Iraq. Perhaps my opinions of the latter question indicate my leanings towards the former. However, the former is a political issue, which will be discussed to no end by politicians who seek election. Partisan politics aside, we must come to understand the nature of our mistakes and the mismanagements of our objectives in order to rectify them. We must do this not only for our own interests, but also for the people of Iraq.

— Dan Rebnord is a junior in the College of Arts and Sciences. He can be reached at 34


Alana Hauser
President Kennedy needed 1,000 Petit Upmann Cuban cigars, and he needed them stat. On the morning of February 7, 1963, Kennedy’s Press Secretary Pierre Salinger filled his request, waltzing into the Oval Office with a total of 1,200 Cuban cigars. As he handed Kennedy the goods, the president removed a piece of paper from his desk and immediately signed it. These would be the last of the legal Cuban cigars in the country. The United States’ embargo with Cuba had begun.



It is essential that Democrats and Republicans alike look past ingrained cultural reactions to this embargo and see the bigger picture of the future.
Over 40 years later, the embargo remains in place; however, the justification for its policies has severely dwindled. When the embargo was implemented in the 1960s, anti-communist sentiments were flooding the United States. In the midst of the Cold War, Cuba’s growing political and economic relationship with the Soviet Union labeled it an enemy in the eyes of the United States. Following the Cuban Revolution in 1959, the United States was becoming increasingly wary of Fidel Castro’s anticapitalist government. The embargo’s prohibition of travel and the illegalization of financial and commercial transactions with Cuba were seen as necessary precautionary measures at the time. However, today this is simply not the case. Since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, Cuba no longer receives aid from their eastern ally. This lack of foreign aid has led to a serious decline in economic prosperity and basic standards of living in Cuba. Yet even as Cuba began its decline into destitution in the early 1990s, the United States strengthened its embargo with the Torricelli and Helms-Burton Acts of 1992 and 1996. In addition to tightening economic sanctions, both acts stated that the embargo could not be removed unless internationally supervised elections were to take place. The legislation took the extreme step of asserting that neither Fidel nor Raul Castro could be involved in a future government and implied a democratic agenda that resembled that of the Platt Amendment of 1903. This amendment allowed the United States to intervene in Cuban affairs whenever it deemed necessary, a clear infringement on Cuba’s independence. These acts were supposedly passed in the name of fostering democracy in the United States’ trading partners. So what about China? Communism governs China, yet the United States continues to allow trade and travel there. Pepe Schraibman, a professor of Spanish at Washington University, believes that there are two main reasons for this ostensibly hypocritical action. First of all, Schraibman said, “there is a Cuban-American block of votes in Florida and elsewhere which counts, and among these people are people who lost homes, land, businesses and so on [when they were exiled]. Now, to my knowledge that hasn’t happened in China or Korea. They are just bigger and we need them for different reasons, in the case of Korea for the bomb and in the case of China for trade.” Because Cuba is seen as less of a threat, it is easier for the United States to restrict its trade with Cuba and bear fewer consequences as a result. Furthermore, Schraibman said, “American companies such as the telephone and the oil and the sugar companies and many more were not remunerated for the businesses they lost [after the Cuban Revolution].” When Castro nationalized all industries following the revolution, many American companies were seized by the government and not given any compensation. The bitterness associated with the confiscation of these lands still lingers today. However, Barack Obama’s presidency has brought a new perspective to the outdated Cuban legislation. President Obama has eased the travel ban for separated family members and legislation is currently pending in Congress in the hopes of lifting the embargo altogether. The bill was postponed as of September 30, 2010 and will be voted on in the House of Representatives following the 2010 midterm elections. It is essential that Democrats and Republicans alike look past ingrained cultural reactions to this embargo and see the bigger picture of the future. Despite the embargo, the United States is intricately involved in the Cuban economy. After a devastating hurricane hit Cuba in 2001, the U.S. began exporting agricultural products and is currently Cuba’s number one supplier of food. In addition, lifting the embargo is beneficial to the United States as well as to the Cuban people. A study by Texas A&M University predicted that lifting the embargo on Cuba would stimulate U.S. agricultural exports by $360 million a year and create 6,000 new jobs. With a 10% unemployment rate currently plaguing the country, any effort to boost the economy is worth considering. And lastly, this September, Raul Castro announced the termination of 500,000 government employees in the hopes of stimulating the private sector of Cuba’s economy. By lifting the embargo now, the United States could make a strong show of support for Cuba’s gradual progression towards privatization. It is time for the United States to ditch its isolationist strategy and work towards finding a middle ground, engaging once again in a full exchange of goods, people and ideas between these two countries. Cuba is our neighbor, and it is about time we started acting like one. — Alana Hauser is a freshman in the College of Arts and Sciences. She can be reached at 36


Panic. Outrage. Disgust. This is the range of sentiments that overtook U.S. politicians in August when Mexican President Felipe Calderon publicly called for a discussion on the legalization of drugs. Americans were up in arms before President Calderon even had a chance to explain himself. Why the uproar? Because we are talking about legalizing harmful substances, of course! “Hide your kids, hide your wife,” right? 37

Before you assume that this article will be a vehicle for me to express my views on why drugs should be legalized, let me disappoint you now and admit that this is not my aim. Rather, like Mr. Calderon himself, I am hoping for a discussion on an alternative policy for an intractable problem, one that has long exasperated the smartest policymakers. Since 2006, this “war on drugs” has claimed the lives of more than 28,000 Mexican citizens. Although the Mexican government has intervened in an all-out military offensive against the drug cartels, it is not at all clear that Mexico has gained, or ever will gain, the upper hand. Imagine yourself in the Mexican president’s shoes. All options seem to be exhausted, and current policies are resulting in civilian casualties rather than curbed drug trafficking. Wouldn’t you be open to exploring other alternatives? Granted, one alternative does involve legalizing harmful substances that have become a major public health problem. But let’s be clear: President Calderon was NOT advocating heroin, methamphetamine, or LSD legalization. In fact, most of the discussion has centered on marijuana, which, according to Frederico Heroles, a columnist in the Mexican paper Reforma, is the substance that accounts for the majority of the drug cartels’ profits. Legalizing marijuana, he argues, would allow it to be regulated, and, through some regime of taxation, it would increase revenue for the Mexican budget. Now that I have suggested the scandalous idea of a discussion on Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, put the situation in rather blunt terms in a recent interview with NPR. According to Caliphano, the U.S., which makes up 5% of the world’s population, consumes two-thirds of the world’s illicit drugs. Mr. Caliphano points to the U.S. drug policy as the chief reason for current levels of U.S. drug addiction. When President Nixon led a major policy initiative to combat the war on drugs in the U.S., he allocated two-thirds of the budget to treatment and prevention and one-third to interdiction and enforcement. What’s our policy today? The exact opposite. As Mr. Heroles of the Reforma paper claims, it is no coincidence that most of the drug-related violence occurs along the U.S.-Mexico border. This is the site where drugs and money are exchanged. American demand for drugs is funding a war that has largely remained out of the American conscience, yet the effort to curb this violence has mostly fallen on the Mexican government. Even when the U.S. does contribute, the balance of the contributed funds is misinformed. For instance, the “Merida Initiative,” which allocates U.S. money and military aid to the Mexican drug war, allots only 15% of the total budget to institution building. The rest is exclusively for military aid. As the military offensive to date has been largely ineffective, it would be wise to allocate greater resources toward better policy and economic reform. However, given that U.S. drug policy has not significantly altered since the ’80s, this approach is hardly surprising.

American demand for drugs is funding a war that has largely remained out of the American conscience, yet the effort to curb this violence has mostly fallen on the Mexican government.
drug legalization, I will argue why such a policy reform, were it to be implemented in Mexico, would be ineffective. Thus far, I have focused on the Mexican problem of drugs and violence; the U.S. has been conspicuously absent from my argument. How does the U.S. fare in what is seemingly a Mexican problem? While more than 28,000 Mexicans have lost their lives across the U.S. border, Americans, according to the CIA, are the world’s largest consumers of cocaine (from Colombia, shipped via Mexico), heroin (from Colombia), and Mexican marijuana. America’s geographic proximity is ideal for the producers in this exchange, since Americans, who are just across the border, can actually afford to pay for the marijuana. To give you an idea of just how lucrative a business hub the U.S. has become, Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT), chairman of the U.S. Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, has admitted that between $8 billion and $24 billion in drug money flow from the U.S. into Mexico each year. It is not hard to see why the U.S. has become such a hotspot for drug cartels. President Calderon sparked mass outrage this year when he delivered a passionate speech before Congress on the culpability of the U.S. in Mexico’s drug war. Republicans in particular felt offended and betrayed. How dare a foreigner point his finger at America?! It’s about time that somebody pointed out the realities of the situation. Joseph Caliphano, the former U.S. secretary of health, education, and welfare and the current director of the National After scandalizing politicians with his call for dialogue on drug legalization, President Calderon has since retracted his proposal. The reason? Economics. Markets function on laws of supply and demand, and as long as the U.S. demand continues at such high levels, legalization in Mexico would accomplish next to nothing. As President Calderon said, “The price of drugs is not determined in Mexico.” Most Mexicans can barely make ends meet and certainly cannot afford to purchase expensive drugs. But it is not just high U.S. demand that is at issue, but also the fact that the U.S. will never legalize drugs within its borders. So long as an illicit drug market exists in the U.S., the black market in Mexico will continue to have access to a lucrative market across the border. The only way drug legalization has a chance of crushing the black market is if the U.S. plays ball too: the war on drugs is a two-way street. Although drug legalization is nowhere near being realized in the U.S., we cannot continue to pretend that we are fighting a war on drugs while insisting on maintaining a drug policy that has long been out of tune with reality. The day when U.S. politicians begin seriously discussing drug legalization will not come until mass drug-related violence erupts in our cities, rather than just down south. As always, what happens in Mexico stays in Mexico… for now. — Mariana Oliver is a junior in the College of Arts and Sciences. She can be reached at



The Impending Failure of Israeli-Palestinian Talks Emily Hecker

Perhaps the saddest implication of the most recent failure to maintain the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks is that no one expected a different outcome. The talks that began in early September are just the most recent installment of a long series of attempts at peace over the last half-century. Even before Israel became a state, foreign leaders attempted to divide the land between the Jews and Palestinians with such documents as the Balfour Declaration (1917) and the United Nations Partition Plan (1947). Ever since the June 1967 “Six-Day War,” which resulted in Israeli occupation of the West Bank (taken from Jordan), the Golan Heights (taken from Syria), and the Gaza Strip (taken from Egypt), each American president has endeavored to broker peace between the Israelis and Palestinians.


While the territory provides a safety buffer for the state to protect against future attacks, Israeli occupation of these lands only intensified the refugee crisis and anti-Israeli sentiment. Israeli occupation also initiated the current set of intractable issues, including the construction of Jewish settlements in occupied land. Although there are some “success” stories, such as the 1979 Camp David Accords between Egypt and Israel (although it could only be characterized as a “cold” peace, as the treaty has been in affect for 30 years), most attempts at peace have led to frustration or violence. Now, it seems as though the most recent effort will also fail, and all because Israel wants to build a couple of apartment buildings in the West Bank, right? The truth is, the Palestinian Authority (PA) has been willing to negotiate with the Israeli government over the last 17 years, even as settlements were being built. PA president Mahmoud Abbas has just recently demanded a halt to all settlement construction as a precondition for sitting down to hash out peace. This is endlessly frustrating for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whose coalition will fall apart if he compromises on the settlement issue. to Al-Quds newspaper in September. Although this claim may strike many as controversial, Israel was founded as a Jewish state, and for many of its citizens, to ignore this part of the nation’s identity is to deny its legitimacy. Most would agree that a peace cannot be brokered between two states that do not accept each other, yet the blame all falls on Israel for “not trying hard enough.” Were Palestinians to come to the table willing to talk, it is possible that Israelis would make serious compromises on the settlement issue. Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who lives in a settlement and is known for being nationalistic, has openly said he would “vacate [his] settlement if there really will be a twostate solution.” Were the Israelis to sense a legitimate prospect for peace with a willing partner, they would be prepared to discuss these serious issues. However, Netanyahu is simply unwilling to agree to an extended freeze on settlement building that would tear his coalition apart, since there is no indication that meeting this precondition would result in any progress towards peace. The last time the Israelis made a generous offer—the Camp David summit in 2000 in which Yasser Arafat was offered 93% of the West Bank and another 6% in land transfers—not only did

As always, the deep-seated barrier to peace is the Palestinian refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, which Abbas affirmed to Al-Quds newspaper in September. Although this claim may strike many as controversial, Israel was founded as a Jewish state, and for many of its citizens, to ignore this part of the nation’s identity is to deny its legitimacy.

Yet many assume that the settlement issue is the only roadblock to peace. If the 50,000 Israeli citizens now living in settlements were to withdraw from what is generally recognized as Palestinian territory, then security and peace of mind would result for all parties, as the argument runs. Israel’s refusal to do so is plainly selfish and foolish. How quickly everyone forgets that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon (a conservative, no less) had Israel unilaterally withdraw from Gaza in 2005, uprooting settlements and tearing families from their homes. Rather than peace of mind and security, Israel was hit by thousands of rockets after the terrorist organization Hamas wrested Gaza from the PA. After all these years of building settlements, there finally seems to be an opportunity to sit down and hash out a compromise. Nonetheless, could it be that the controversy over settlements is the principal roadblock to peace? If the primary issue is not settlement construction in the West Bank, then what is it? As always, the deep-seated barrier to peace is the Palestinian refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, which Abbas affirmed

Arafat reject the offer, but the Israelis were met with the Second Intifada, which resulted in the deaths of thousands of Israelis and Palestinians alike. So, it’s not hard to imagine why the Israelis are resistant to conceding before even sitting down to talks; they have little faith in the Palestinian intention to implement any sort of peace. Many Americans and Europeans saw these peace talks as a beacon of hope for the Middle East, a chance to finally settle the seemingly intractable dispute concerning the division of a strip of land just east of the Mediterranean Sea. However, their high hopes failed to account for the root obstacle to such a peace. The settlements are not the cause but the effect of the poor attitudes toward peace and progress. Perhaps someday peace will be realized, but it will have to be a day when both sides recognize each other’s legitimacy. Until that day, it does not matter how Jerusalem is divided, where the borders are, or who is building where. — Emily Hecker is a freshman in the College of Arts and Sciences. She can be reached at



Katie Ayanian
On September 14, the French Senate voted overwhelmingly in favor of a bill that would forbid women from wearing facecovering veils and burqas in public. The French have justified the ban by arguing that covering one’s face disrupts “normal” social interactions in public and highlights inequality among Islamic men and women. But the passage of the ban has been met with a significant outcry from Muslims in France who believe it violates their freedom of religious expression. France is home to five million Muslims, the largest tension with non-Muslims. The veil ban is just one piece of legislation created by the French government in hopes of fostering French national unity and promoting conformity to shared values that have long defined French social life. French legislatures have also been contemplating the Roma Bill, which targets the roughly 400,000 Romani people living in France, many of whom are traveling artists and street beggars. There is a long history of persecution in France and around the world against the Romani people, of up to €150 and may be required to take a citizenship class as well. Many Muslim women who wear veils say that even if the ban is implemented, they will continue to cover their faces in public, or they will stay home and have others run errands for them. Neither action is what French officials intended to be the ban’s effect. While this legislation may not affect many individuals directly, it has larger implications for how Muslims are accepted in French society. The ban essentially limits the freedom of expression of Islamic

Illustration by Chris Hohl such population in Western Europe. But among this sizeable proportion of French residents, less than 2,000 women wear fullface veils in public. John Bowen, Professor of Anthropology at Washington University and author of Why the French Don’t Like Headscarves: Islam, the State, and Public Space, argues that, “France should have let the issue trickle out on its own as less and less women are choosing to wear the veil.” The amount of media attention the ban has received far outweighs the impact on the small fraction of women who would be affected by the ban. The ban is ultimately a symbolic gesture that will stigmatize Muslims living in France and increase 41 commonly known as gypsies, who live mostly in Southern and Eastern Europe. The Roma Bill has recently come under fire from human rights groups because it lists begging and setting up caravans alongside committing acts of terrorism as reason for deportation. These pieces of legislation force us to ask the question: how far will France go in alienating minority populations for the sake of fostering national unity? If the veil ban passes the scheduled Constitutional review, it will be implemented in about six months. Once implemented, women who continue to cover their face in public would face a fine women in France and will label those who violate the ban as unpatriotic. But practicing religion and being patriotic are not mutually exclusive. If the French government restricts how someone can and cannot express herself religiously, this will only exacerbate the tension between people who wish to do so and their fellow citizens. The ban stigmatizes Muslims and alienates them at a time when the government should be taking every measure possible to include and accept them. — Katie Ayanian is a sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences. She can be reached at

On the Sidelines of the Silly Season: Untangling the Midterm Elections
Featuring two-time presidential candidate Congressman Richard Gephardt and Jack Oliver, financial strategist for George W. Bush’s campaigns


Monday, November 1st 3:30-4:30pm
Women’s Building Formal Lounge
Stay tuned for more information about a campus election watch party on November 2nd!

Co-sponsored by the Gephardt Institute for Public Service and WU Political Review Magazine Visit to learn about how the Gephardt Institute promotes civic engagement