September 27, 2007, Moscow State University,
Foreign Languages Department
Professor Clyde Wilcox, Department of Government, Georgetown University, USA, gave a lecture about the US system of government today, and about the current political situation in the USA. He explained the main political trends, gave an evaluation of the President and his ratings and discussed the differences between federal and state laws and regulations. He also characterized several presidential candidates, though declined from making any predictions as to who might win in the Elections-2008. Professor Wilcox also answered numerous questions from the audience.
According to the lecturer, President Bush’s current rating is extremely low, just 30% of the population supports his decisions. Quite often, when the President uses his veto power, the Congress over-rules it, which causes a lot of controversy in the upper echelons of power. One of the continuing bones of contention is the President’s stand on the war in Iraq. Only 25% of the US population are in favour of its continuation.
George Bush is also responsible for the destabilization of the U.S. economy due to his changing attitudes towards taxes. While he seems to be trying to lower federal taxes, the states have to raise the local taxes in order to maintain various programs which do not receive much support from the government. Consequently, there are clashes and disagreements with the governors. Arnold Schwarzenegger, the governor of California, whose popularity is very high, recently answered a reporter’s question about the new initiatives of the President, “It’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard!” While the “governator”, as the famous actor and public figure is often called, supports pro-choice laws where abortion is concerned, and insists on the necessity to adopt more gun-control laws, President Bush is against abortion, and against stricter laws which can help control the usage of guns in the country. Imagine the situation when the most famous Terminator in the history of Hollywood, who appears in every film toting a hundred guns and shooting a thousand foes at once, appeals to the government asking politicians to adopt new laws which will help control violence, – while the President of the country disagrees!
Professor Wilcox also spoke about the new candidates and their chances. It seems that today, every candidate, regardless of their party, has some factors working against him or her. For example, Hillary Clinton has a solid electoral position, but she is not well liked by the public ever since her days as the First Lady. Her charismatic husband was a much more popular person. The former mayor of New York, R. Giuliani is currently in his third marriage, which is frowned upon by the more conservative part of the society. It is not clear whether the majority of voters are ready to support a black candidate. And so on.
Answering a question about Condaleesa Rice, Professor Wilcox rather cautiously explained that, while her position as a politician is quite strong and she enjoys a lot of respect, there is at present no question about her running for President. The lecturer also spoke about the position of women in US society in general. He insisted that there is not so much discrimination against women today, for example, that a person probably would not get a lower salary only because she happens to be a woman. But since there are no special provisions for women in the society, such as a maternity leave or day-care centers, a woman may still be at a disadvantage.
At the end of the lecture, the listeners thanked Professor Wilcox for his fascinating presentation, and also expressed gratitude to Elena Lubnina of the English Language Office, US Embassy in Moscow, for arranging the event.
By Nina Koptyug