Political Analyst Bill Schneider Shares Dirty Little Secrets of American Politics

Posted: October 25, 2010 at 1:02 am, Last Updated: October 25, 2010 at 12:02 pm

Bill Schneider. Creative Services photo

Bill Schneider has covered politics for more than four decades, which is plenty of time to discover some dirty little secrets.

In the next Vision Series lecture, “Dirty Little Secrets of American Politics,” Schneider, the Omer L. and Nancy Hirst Endowed Professor in Mason’s School of Public Policy, will share some of his insights (and secrets) gleaned as an academic and political analyst.

Schneider will give his lecture on Monday, Nov. 8 at 7 p.m. at the Center for the Arts on the Fairfax Campus.

One “secret” he will share is that the United States is the most populist country in the world. Ours is the only country that elects judges. We cling to the death penalty and jury system because the people want them. Americans refuse to use dollar coins or the metric system because the people don’t want them. Here, in the United States, the people rule.

Another dirty little secret Schneider knows: our government was designed to not work. With checks and balances and separation of powers, it’s easy to stop things from getting done. Yet government often does work. That’s another dirty little secret. Government works when there is overwhelming public urgency — a real crisis. Is the deficit a real crisis? Climate change? Immigration?

Schneider says, “We’ll see.”

Schneider will also share his thoughts on the results of the 2010 midterm election and its impact on President Obama’s agenda.

Schneider has been CNN senior political analyst since 1990 and is a member of the network’s political team, which was awarded an Emmy for its 2006 election coverage and a Peabody for its 2008 coverage.

Schneider is coauthor, with Seymour Martin Lipset, of “The Confidence Gap: Business, Labor and Government in the Public Mind.”

He has also written extensively on politics and public opinion for the Los Angeles Times, The New Republic, The Atlantic Monthly, the Washington Post, Politico.com and other publications. Schneider’s analysis has been regularly featured on CNN’s “The Situation Room,” “Lou Dobbs Tonight,” “CNN.com Live,” “American Morning” and CNN International.

He is also a contributing editor to National Journal and The Atlantic Monthly.

Schneider has a BA from Brandeis University and a PhD in political science from Harvard University, where he taught in the Department of Government. From 1990 through 1995, he was the Speaker Thomas P. O’Neill Jr. Visiting Professor of American Politics at Boston College. In 2002, he was the Fred and Rita Richman Distinguished Visiting Professor at Brandeis University. He received an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Brandeis University in 2008.

In 2001, he received the Julian P. Kanter Award for Excellence in Television from the American Association of Political Consultants. In 2003, Harvard’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences awarded Schneider its Centennial Medal for contributions to society. He is also the recipient of the Brandeis University Pride Award and the Alumni Achievement Award.

In 2009, the International Foundation for Electoral Systems presented Schneider with a special award “for his extensive coverage and keen insight of the 2008 United States presidential elections.”

Ticket information: Free tickets are required. Tickets are available online, at the Center for the Arts Ticket Office (Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.), and on the evening of the event.

Write to mediarel at gazette@gmu.edu