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Personhood politics

"Personhood politics" Continued...

Issue: "2012: The Year Ahead," Jan. 14, 2012

No longer interested

In what may be bad news for President Obama, a new report predicts lower voter turnout for the 2012 election after a historically high turnout in 2008. Many young voters who supported Obama in 2008 will probably stay home in 2012, according to the Dec. 27 report from the Center for the Study of the American Electorate at American University.

Curtis Gans, director of the center, argues that "because Obama the president did not fulfill the hope invested in Obama the candidate, there has been an enormous sense of disappointment among those young who had been previously politically active, and the current crop of college-resident young do not have the same compelling motivation to engage as those who preceded them." Gans notes a lack of enthusiasm for other candidates and a likely wave of "often ad hominem television advertising" from both parties: "Against this backdrop, it is hard to envision anything other than a substantial decline in turnout."

Gans predicts that a strong economic rebound would change this equation and would lead to President Obama's reelection, while continued stagnation would ensure his loss. According to the report, voter turnout in 2008 reached 62.3 percent of eligible citizens, the highest level since 1960-and up from 51.4 percent in 1996.

Honoring Churchill

The House on Dec. 19 passed a bill, authored by House Speaker John Boehner, to place a statue or bust of former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill inside the U.S. Capitol. The measure, just the fourth piece of legislation sponsored by Boehner in 2011, says that "the United States Capitol does not currently appropriately recognize the contributions of Sir Winston Churchill or that of the United Kingdom." Churchill, who led the opposition to the Nazis while serving as prime minister during most of World War II, addressed a joint session of Congress on Dec. 26, 1941. "Winston Churchill was the best friend America ever had," Boehner said. President Barack Obama in 2009 sent back to England a Churchill bust loaned to the White House after the 2001 terrorist attacks. Churchill, whose mother was American, would be one of just a few foreign leaders depicted in the U.S. Capitol's art.

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