James Carville and Mary Matalin


“The path to progress is through politics,” Mary Matalin, former assistant to President George W. Bush and counselor to Vice President Dick Cheney, said at the Schooler Lecture Tuesday, April 8, 2008 at Mount Union.

Matalin spoke of the upcoming election and, as a conservative republican, said the rumor democrats cannot lose is not true.

“Polls cannot be predicted,” Matalin said, “It is not a laydown for democrats. There is more we don’t know than do know. What we do know, however, is there will be an intervening event and the economy may get better.”


While the election outcome is unclear, Matalin said to watch six groups in particular who could sway the result. The first being independents, which is the fasting growing self-political identification.

“They watch for practical, productive solutions,” Matalin said.

Matalin said John McCain has twice as many independent supporters as Barack Obama. Matalin also said McCain has many conservative democrat advocates, which is the second group.

“McCain is getting conservative democrats five times as much as either senator,” Matalin said.

The four other influential group members include women, Catholics, youth and angry democrats. With 70 percent of people going to the voting booth undecided, these groups could have a vital impact.

“Politics is going through a new paradigm with very different demographics,” Matalin said.

Matalin said young people especially are at the epicenter of the election cycle.


“For any young person interested in politics, this is the year to go out and do something,” Matalin said. “Get involved; volunteer. This is the time to do it.”

Matalin’s husband, James Carville, America’s best-known political consultant, also believes this election is distinct.

“This is the first presidential election with a credible African-American and woman,” Carville said. “You are seeing things in this election you have never seen before. This is a unique historical event.”

Carville, unlike his wife, is a democrat and talked about the “fascinating contradiction” within the Democratic Party. He said Democratic Party A consists of suburban, urban, older women who are well-educated, while Democratic Party B is comprised of those who look heavily to the federal government for such things as social security, Medicare and student loans. Carville said Obama caters to Party B while Hilary Clinton to Party A.


Carville said who will receive the democratic presidential nomination is like a game of Blackjack. He said currently Obama has two 10s to equal 20 and Clinton has a nine and a six to equal 15. Carville said if Clinton wins Pennsylvania, she draws a three, but if she loses, she draws a nine and busts by going over 21.

“Right now Obama has the upper hand, but the cards can change,” Carville said. “It is not over yet, but it will be very close.”

Regarding politics, Carville spoke highly of Mount Union and said the young people he met at Mount Union are engaged, aware of the world around them and care about their country.

“You are lucky to have these types of students in your community,” Carville said.

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