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The meaning of the 2010 Midterms - A JHU Panel Discussion

by Ariel Roth

Today’s event brought together three retired members of Congress from both sides of the aisle, all known and respected for their moderate politics and commitment to civility.  William Klinger, Tom Davis and Martin Frost, all former committee chairmen were joined by political consultants Charlie Black and Maria Cardona as well as journalists Tim Starks and Rachel Van Dongen.  Rounding out the panel was JHU’s own Robert Guttman, Director of the Center on Politics and Foreign Policy at SAIS. 

 Back row (left to right): Robert Guttman, Charlie Black, Maria Cardona, William Clinger. Front row: Rachel Van Dongen, Tom Davis, Martin Frost, Tim Starks. Moderator: James Norton

After briefly reviewing their take on the significance of the elections, the panelists debated a range of topics including the future of moderates in Congress, campaign finance reform and the ways in which new media have changed the cycle of politics and elections.

In contrast to the bitter tone which passes for political discourse today, the panelists managed to engage in substantive debate- debate which reflected legitimate disagreements over the direction of policy- while maintaining a courteous disposition towards each other.  More interesting, perhaps, was the extent of agreement between erstwhile political rivals.  Davis and Frost both agreed on the problematic nature of campaign finance reform laws as well the ill conceived oversight structure of the Department of Homeland Security.  

James Norton, a former Bush administration official and a faculty member in Governmental Studies at AAP moderated the panel and directed the Q & A.  James in particular has our gratitude for recruiting the panelists and giving us all the chance to learn from practitioners and scholars alike.

Pictures here

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