Panelists debate Calif. primary
Posted April 4, 2012 at 10:48 pm in News
With the California primary fast approaching, Geoffrey Cowan, director of the Annenberg School for Communication & Journalismâs Center on Communication Leadership and Policy, moderated a discussion with political consultant Bob Shrum and journalist Marylouise Oates as part of the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politicsâ Road to the White House series Wednesday.
Shrum, the author of No Excuses: Concessions of a Serial Campaigner, and Oates, author of Making Peace, touched on issues concerning the primaries. Topics included the rise of super political action committees, the position of female and Catholic voters, Americaâs international pursuits and the prevalence of racism inÂ American society.
[Correction: An earlier version named Bob Shrum's book No Excuses: Confessions of a Serial Campaigner. The title of his book is No Excuses: Concessions of a Serial Campaigner. The Daily TrojanÂ regrets this error.]
Shrum discussed Santorumâs alienation of large groups of voters and Romneyâs overly flexible nature in altering his political stances.
âRomney is on permanent probation, so whatever position he takes, itâs not in his playbook to be the anti-contraception campaign,â Shrum said. âThereâs a huge gender gap thatâs opened to women. Obama in swing states has taken a lead, and [Romney] has a 34 percent approval rating. Itâs impossible to become president with an approval rating like this.â
Shrum also said taking moderate stances has been a challenge for Romney.
âHe has a real difficulty in moving to the middle because itâll amplify his character weakness â not flip-flopping, but saying everything he can to get there,â Shrum said.
Shrum also said Santorumâs attack on former President John F. Kennedyâs speech on religion was detrimental to his campaign.
âSantorumÂ attacked John Kennedy â that is not good for getting the Catholic vote,â he said.
Oates said both candidates have alienated women voters.
âIf you look at the problems facing women around the world, no one has spoken about any of those issues on either side,â Oates said. âNobody talked about trafficking, or any of the stuff that I see as a constant pressure on our country and other good countries to come back and fight against, such as violence against women, women as a weapon of war, female genital cutting.â
Oates also said Romneyâs position in the campaign has been affected by the professional-amateur atmosphere of the blogosphere.
âYou ask yourself, âHow much does the Republican, Planned Parenthood woman who would have been a Republican voter know, where does she get her information, how is she making her decisionâ,â Oates said. âSantorum has lost the Catholic vote in every single primary state. Romney has become very Santorum-like, and women will probably reject Romney too.â
Shrum said foreign affairs are an unpredictable arena because of the uncertain nature of the Arab Spring, but he predicted that American troops would be removed from Afghanistan as scheduled.
âWars are winding down and people are not in the streets about it,â Shrum said. âThe demands of 2004 politically turned Afghanistan into the good war and Iraq was the bad war.â
With the recent shooting of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin, Shrum said race will play a critical role in the 2012 election.
âIt was one of the proudest days when Obama was elected because racism is in our redemptive history,â Shrum said. âThis election is going to settle a lot on whether we move forward or backwards in terms of race.â