UC Berkeley News


Pols, polls, and Yoo, too
IGS hosting pre-election events in runup to November 2

| 16 September 2004

Perspectives on the 2004 presidential contest are a varied lot, even at Berkeley. Some view it as a war of ideas, some as a horse race, still others as fodder for standup comedy.

Whether your wish is for wit or wisdom — or if you just can’t stand to be alone for key moments of this year’s campaign for the White House — “Decision 2004” has something for you.

Hosted by the Institute of Governmental Studies’ Center on Politics, “Decision 2004” runs through Election Day and features faculty experts and political analysts of diverse stripes and temperaments — from Boalt Law Professor John Yoo, conservative author of now-controversial memos on the treatment of Guantanamo Bay prisoners for the Bush Department of Justice, to satirist Will Durst, who recently penned an online column bearing the headline “Stupid People Love Bush, Study Proves.”

Yoo is scheduled to take part in a Wednesday, Sept. 22, panel discussion on “Terrorism and National Security” with Michael Nacht, dean of the Goldman School of Public Policy. On Oct. 6, Linguistics Professor George Lakoff will discuss “Values and the Social Issues” with Kristin Luker, professor of law and sociology, and Doug Strand, of the campus Survey Research Center. An election-eve panel will include SRC Director Henry Brady looking ahead with Merrill Shanks, professor of political science, and Mervin Field, founder of the California Poll.

Should you prefer to rub shoulders directly with the body politic, you can watch the televised presidential and vice presidential debates — as well as election-night coverage — in the company of a sampling of likely voters at Moses Hall, supplemented by expert analysis and commentary.

And if you’d like to spend some time with the man who’s been called “an equal opportunity offender” and a “hybrid of Hunter Thompson and Charles Osgood,” you’re invited to hear Durst explain “why nearly a third of all young people look to television comedians for their political news.” He’s set to appear from 3 to 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 20.

Jerry Lubenow, director of the Center on Politics since its founding in the fall of 2001, said the idea behind the series is to make experts available to those who have an interest in politics, and to provide a focus for that interest.

“The tradition in Berkeley is if people want to change something, they demonstrate,” Lubenow said. “We want to get them involved in electoral politics.”

Most events will take place in the IGS Library, 109 Moses Hall. For the complete schedule, visit the Center on Politics website at politics.berkeley.edu.