Monday, August 18th, 2008
First Impressions - Academia
This morning started with speakers in the Ranger Dome. We had the pleasure of hearing two prominent political writers, Ph.D. Thomas Cronin and Ph.D. Michael A. Genovese. Thomas Cronin was the first to speak, first lecturing the participants on the task that lie before Sen. Barrack Obama at the Democratic National Convention (DNC). Cronin hit on three main tasks: unifying the part, remaining the candidate of change, and reintroducing himself to undecided voters. As we all know and have observed over the past few months, the Democratic party was split with the close race for the presumptive nominee that finally ended on the doorstep of the DNC. Barack Obama needs the support of the many Hillary Clinton supporters that remain loyal to Sen. Clinton. Thomas Cronin predicted a range of one thousand to one thousand and three hundred faithful "Hillary Delegates" to who Sen. Obama must win over. Another concern Barack with be facing is keeping realistic expectations as the "Candidate of Change". In Cronin's opinion as a political analysis, presidential nominees with more concise mandates do better than nominees who try to promise too much change. Obama is indeed the candidate of change for the '08 election, but must concern himself with the reasonable influence the president can have on public policy. After all the system is designed to disallow and one person from having too much influence. Another high wire to traverse in the next two weeks is the reintroduction of Senator Barack Obama, the Democratic Party Nominee for the President of the United States. First of all Obama must continue to reach out to young voters and help keep the youth vote strong. Secondly Sen. Obama, as all presidential nominees before him, must rise above the baggage that comes with association with a major political party. Barack Obama must confront the paradoxical expectations we have of our president-to-be. Dr. Cronin outlined a few of these paradoxes from the book that he co-authored with Ph.D Michael Genovese. We expect our president to be a common American, yet have uncommon intellect, wisdom, and conduct. The public wants a President who is above politics, but obtaining the position requires being the best politician. Furthermore we want our president to be self-confident and steadfast, yet able to admit errors and attempt to correct them.
The experience here in the Washington Center Program is absolutely phenomenal, even after just the first day. I did not know what to expect of the program other than the guaranteed and imminent chaos of the actual convention itself. This first week we (the students) are attending lectures from prominent political figures. We have already heard from Ph.D. Thomas Cronin and Ph.D. Michael Genovese. Tomorrows speakers include Ricky Krishner (the executive producer of the Democratic National Convention "The Show Must Go On") and Reverend Leah D. Daughtry (Democratic National Convention Committee Chief Executive Officer). We will continue to concentrate on the academics of the program this first week, yielding to fieldwork that will be assigned on Wednesday and then events of the DNC the following week.
Tonight we were able to hit downtown Denver. Denver is a very beautiful and well designed city, but don't take my word for it, here are some snapshots of the urban/downtown scene.