Oxford professor holds political seminar Uptown
Published: Thursday, October 18, 2012
Updated: Thursday, October 18, 2012 21:10
Over a hundred million Americans across the country will go out to the polls to vote in the Presidential election for Mitt Romney or Barack Obama, on Tuesday Nov. 6, 2012. The major political platforms and the magnitude at which they divide Americans are of the upmost importance to each candidate as the last three weeks close out what has been hotly contested campaign process.
In the second of five lectures given on the presidential election by the Miami University Institute for Learning in Retirement, professor Patrick Haney, interim chair of the department of political science, spoke of the importance of foreign policy as one of the re-occurring topics, which shape presidential campaigns.
William Gracie, professor emeritus, is the director of the Institute and is primarily responsible for both planning the dozens of events provided for senior citizens each semester as well coordinating the times at which they are offered.
“The Institute for Learning in Retirement tries to keep lifelong learning a reality,” Gracie said. “Learning never ends both physically and mentally it continues well after graduation.”
Haney and Gracie had previously worked together on the board for selecting Rhodes Scholars for Miami.
In his lecture, a map of the United States was shown displaying geographical size of each state in proportion to its value in the Electoral College.
“There are seven to 10 battleground states, Ohio being one them,” Haney said. “These are where the majority of ads will run because they are not leaning towards either political party.”
However, Haney said a recent poll suggested less than five percent of the American public thinks that foreign policy is the most important issue in this election.
“In the broader strategic standard, foreign policy is a means to either sway those voters who haven’t decided, or bring those to the polls who weren’t planning on voting,” Haney said.
Haney said foreign policy may not always be a central issue stressed by candidates in referencing a sign in former President Bill Clinton’s campaigns “war-room,” which stated “It’s the economy, stupid.”
Conversely however, he would value foreign policy as a means by which one candidate could subject the other candidate to questions about their “electability.”
Haney displayed a 1964 commercial paid for by the Johnson campaign, which showed a little girl counting down flower petals prior to the image of a nuclear explosion.
“Johnson’s Daisy made foreign policy a disqualifier,” Haney said.
Even in the 2012 presidential election, specifically in the most recent debate between the two presidential candidates Foreign Policy came to be a point of argument.
“Governor Romney tried to return to the Libya case in the Oct 16 Presidential debate,” Haney said. “This time the attack largely missed its target, giving President Obama an opening to question the veracity of Romney's claims. No doubt we'll hear more about this case, and others, in next week's debate which is to focus entirely on foreign policy.”
With the election right around the corner issues such as Foreign Policy, which at the onset of the election may have been considered ancillary, will come to the forefront as topics that may swing those voters who have yet to decide.
Junior Anna Heiser said foreign policy sometimes takes a back seat to domestic issues.
“Certainly Foreign Policy has an integral role in both the Presidential campaign and debates,” Heiser said. “But at times foreign policy becomes less important when domestic issues become too glaring to ignore.”
The Institute on Learning in Retirement’s lecture for next week is on “Religion and the Presidential Election” by Charles R. Duffy a visiting assistant professor of Comparative Religion.
There are over 200 Senior Citizens who participate in the program and all of the activities it has to offer in Oxford, Hamilton, Fairfield and Westchester.