NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Alan Simpson, former Republican US Senator from Wyoming, discussed the world of politics during a guest appearance Friday morning November 22, in an event presented and hosted in Scott Hall by the Eagleton Institute of Politics.
Simpson served three six-year terms in the Senate and was the Republican whip from 1984-1994.
Simpson was also the co-chair of President Obama's National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform in 2010, and Director of the Institute of Politics at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government from 1997-2000. He is currently an advisor board member for “The Can Kicks Back” program.
The lecture, titled “Politics as Contact Sport: The Fight For Your Future,” called into question the current political atmosphere of America, specifically focusing on the deception of political leaders and the partisanship of Democrats and Republicans on current issues like the deficit, national defense and health care.
Simpson was candid and incorporated humor into his explanation of the way politics evolved during his political career, present day, and what he thinks will happen in the near future.
“Humor is the universal soul that embrace[s] the elements of life … and let me tell you, you need that in politics. Politics is barbaric. And it’s a contact sport.” he said.
Simpson made clear that he does not want to let the reality of politics as contact sport deteriorate the country.
“I’m not going to sit here and watch people take away this government by using emotion, fear, guilt, racism, and being guided solely by their interest group of the day.”
There were people of all ages, political affiliations, and areas of NJ at the event. Following Simpson’s lecture, he held a Q&A with members of the audience, where students and others asked the former Senator various questions about politics.
Among the questions were inquiries about President Obama, the relationship between Congress and the President, the deficit, and the possibilities of a Republican candidate winning the next Presidency.
One student asked about the ‘hatred of ideals’ between Democrats and Republicans, to which Simpson responded, “Now you don’t even have the distrust between parties, you have distrust in the parties. The coin of the realm [is] trust.”
Another audience member, Brian D. Goldberg, a former Republican candidate who sought election for US Senate earlier this year told New Brunswick Today, “How could you sit here and not be entertained and stimulated by what [Simpson] was saying? This idea, I have two young daughters, and they’re getting saddled with all this mess that we are creating now, and so we need to stop that so that in the future, there is a future.”
Kathy Kleeman, Senior Communications Officer of the Eagleton Institute of Politics, said that Eagleton is, "about connecting the practice of politics with the study of politics."
"Any time that we can go into a political science classroom and bring an active politician, we think it’s a wonderful thing to do… Senator Simpson is known as somebody who doesn’t pull punches. He says exactly what is on his mind, often in a humorous way. You have no trouble figuring out where he stands."