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Forum discusses political topics

February 19, 2001

Politics and public policy dominated the discussion at the second meeting of the 2001 LeFrak Forum and The Symposium on Science, Reason, and Modern Democracy on Thursday at the Kellogg Center Auditorium.

Journalist William Kristol, the editor and publisher of the Weekly Standard, and MSU Professor David Rohde, the university distinguished professor in the Department of Political Science, addressed the topic: “Parties and Partisanship in the wake of the Clinton Presidency and the Election of 2000.”

Both were called on to answer pertinent questions about the political world from more than 150 audience members. They talked about culture, economics and political issues that may arise in the future.

“This was a very successful evening,” Rohde said. “It was an interesting mix of perspectives. One from journalism - from Washington and the beltway world - and one from the academic world.”

Rohde’s studies include American politics, Congress and elections. He directs MSU’s program in Political Institutions and Public Policy.

Kristol served in the Reagan administration and as chief of staff to Secretary of Education William Bennett, and then-chief of staff to former Vice President Dan Quayle in the Bush administration.

“I’ve always liked Michigan State,” Kristol said. “I have a lot of friends who went there, ranging from Spence Abraham to people who teach here today.”

Jerry Weinberger, chairman of the Department of Political Science, said the speakers provided good contrast.

“Dave Rohde is simply one of America’s most important political scientists who studies Congress and presidential elections,” he said. “Bill Kristol really knows Washington inside and out, and also comes from an academic career.”

Some students, like political science freshman Jordan Raubolt, found the forum educational.

“I didn’t really know too much about what was going on in the ’96 and ’92 elections,” he said. “(The speakers) said that there is big split there too. I wasn’t really aware of that.”

Political science and pre-law freshman Elizabeth Hatton said she was interested in the discussion.

“Being a very liberal person, I enjoyed the first speaker, Bill Kristol, even though he was conservative,” she said. “I thought the figures that he gave and the comparisons were really interesting and he was entertaining. He wasn’t like what I thought he’d be. I enjoyed listening to him.”

The LeFrak Forum meets again on Feb. 28 when the U.S. Supreme Court will be discussed. Rogers Smith, a professor of government at Yale University, will raise the question “Wither the Supreme Court - and Does it Matter?”

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