Professor Gives Unique Perspective on Election

Milan Jan Reban is a NT political science professor who teaches comparative politics. He has been following the ongoing developments of the presidential political race closely and has recently visited parts of Europe. He is able to give a unique perspective on his politics and the momentum of the 2004 presidential election.

On our current political state:

“We are enmeshed in a very important presidential campaign, and it is one of the nastiest in my memory. In a way it’s kind of unfortunate, but it’s real, that students in this state of their lives are being exposed to politics at this time, because the message about the future is not all that positive.
“It is enveloped in war, terrorism and all such issues. And as important as they are, they’re not necessarily very inspiring — the way Kennedy’s election was way back.”

On foreigners perspective of the U.S. government:

“The stock of the United States is partly rooted in the fact that we are a major military power. We have not exercised this power in the wisest way. Instead, it seems to me, we’ve needlessly alienated a great many potential supporters, including Europe.”

“Did I hear one truly positive assessment of our policy? Not really, and that’s tragic. Many people abroad are not terribly happy about all the steps taken in on the war in terror, particularly visas. They are finding difficulty in coming here.”

On the intense mudslinging between Bush and Kerry:
“It is a reflection of a ferociously contested race that clearly, despite these fluctuations in public opinion poles… is clearly a close race. As Karl Rove, President Bush’s principal political strategist, said, ‘You don’t go after your opponent’s weaknesses — you go after his strengths.’ It is very nasty, but it is not new.”

On if students have become more politically active:

“We have so many people still believing the hijackers of 9-11 were Iraqis. Little things like that. … I believe in a democracy that has an overall higher level of informed participation is healthier than one where it is not the case.
“This campaign still has a long time to go reaching younger people with issues that are relevant to their lives….

“One of my goals is to ensure that our students end up positive participants on how we make a public policy.”

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