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February 07, 2006 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2006-02-07

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, February 7, 2006

OPINION

abe Sibigan7&3tilg

DoNN M. FRESARD
Editor in Chief

EMILY BEAM
CHRISTOPHER ZBROZEK
Editorial Page Editors

ASHLEY DINGES
Managing Editor

EDITED AND MANAGED BY STUDENTS AT
THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN SINCE 1890
420 MAYNARD STREET
ANN ARBOR, MI 48109
tothedaily@michigandaily.com

NOTABLE
QUOTABLE
This week
is a week we can
tell our children
and grandchildren
about."
-Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick in a press
conference yesterday, thanking the city of Detroit
for its cooperation over Superbowl weekend, as
reported yesterday by the Detroit Free Press.

COLIN DALY THE M ICHSIG AN 11ALY

*F*1*WisT TEC.hpAE' oxr OF sri

Unsigned editorials reflect the official position of the Daily's editorial board. All
other signed articles and illustrations represent solely the views of their author.

Why Hillary can't win
SAM SINGER SAM'S CLUB

For proof that you
can be regis-
tered to vote and
still born yesterday,
ask a Hillary Clinton
enthusiast his take on
the senator's recent jog
toward the center. If
he's as practiced as the
fans I've encountered,
he'll tell you that she's
always been a moderate, that she has histori-
cally identified with conservatives on national
security and with centrists on abortion, that her
2006 Senate campaign - now being billed as
a dress rehearsal for a widely anticipated 2008
presidential bid - is little more than a display
of her true colors, a coming of age for Clinton,
who the enthusiast will claim has always been
aligned with mainstream political culture.
If that doesn't grab you, he'll make a point
to discuss her formative years, a story with
all the humble elements of the customary
blue-collar narrative: a religious middle-class
home, a father in textiles, a homemaker for
a mother. Then he'll suggest her book, "Liv-
ing History," a Bible for the politically gull-
ible, in which Clinton supposedly reconciles
her liberal public image with her personal,
more traditional meditations as a life-long
Methodist. Clinton, he'll argue, is a victim of
typecasting, a middle-of-the-road politician
slandered by her opponents and misread by
the media.
Of course, if it's the nonfiction version
you want, ask the same question of political
operative-turned-pundit Dick Morris, a long-
time advisor to the family and an understood
authority in Washington on anything and
everything Clinton. While I can't speak for

him directly, I would be surprised if Morris,
as sharp and cynical as he is, couldn't see
right through the Senator's recent maneuvers;
she is, after all, reading from his playbook.
Morris calls the approach "triangulation,"
an aerial navigation technique he turned into
political lingo while operating former Presi-
dent Bill Clinton's 1996 re-election campaign.
The objective is to raise your candidate above
partisan divisions, to distance him from party
lines and rigid platforms, from Democrats
and Republicans alike. If contrived properly,
the candidate can at once broaden his base
of popular support and remain accessible
enough to lawmakers for a prominent policy
agenda.
Examples of Hillary's efforts abound: The
senator is as unrepentant a war proponent as
Democrats come these days, never bending
on her decision to support the use of force and
consistently speaking out against the merits
of immediate withdrawal. And having posi-
tioned herself to the right of President Bush
on Iran, Clinton gets free headlines each
time she laces into the White House for being
too tame with the uranium thirsty state. Off
the foreign-policy tack, Clinton has recently
tweaked her position on abortion, now iden-
tifying as a pro-choice "anti-abortionist,"
a position as politically meaningless at it is
ethically courageous.
Exactly who advised Clinton to abandon
rank and file is unclear, though I can say with
confidence that it wasn't Morris. In fact, Mor-
ris has gone on the record with the opposite
advice, warning that by moving toward the
center too early, Clinton risks alienating base
voters. He may be onto something. Clinton's
new posture reflects rock-hard confidence
in her outlook for the primary election. Pre-

liminary polls show her trouncing the field.
But at this early stage, when the candidate
list is light and tentative, opinion polls can't
be relied on to measure anything more than
name recognition. Bill Clinton had room to
maneuver with Democrats in 1996 because
as incumbent, he was also the presumptive
nominee. Add another household name to the
2008 roster - Al Gore, John Edwards, you
name it - and Hillary's critical mass begins
to shrink.
But say, for the sake of argument, that Clin-
ton really is a primary shoo-in. There's still
no reason to believe that the next year and a
half of image-polishing would do much to
make her marketable to the rest of the coun-
try. Of all the false pretenses this campaign is
built on, the most damaging remains Clinton's
inability to recognize that far from any moral
philosophy or policy position, her "electabil-
ity" problem is one of sincerity.
Clinton's stint as a born-again centrist,
what Los Angeles Times columnist Jonah
Goldberg called her "latest reinvention," is
widely recognized as a political stunt - and
rightfully so. From her late 1960s romance
with the Black Panther Party to her short-
lived fight for socialized healthcare, Clinton
has spent the better part of her adult life in
costume, playing the female protagonist for
whichever role has the largest audience, never
actually finding herself along the way. Clin-
ton's is the story of a politician teeter-totter-
ing her way through a career, too terrified of
her self-image to let it develop. Dick Morris
may have coined the term, but Hillary Clin-
ton has been triangulating her entire life.
Singer can be reached
at singers@umich.edu

VIEWPOINT
New Progressive Party wants changes in MSA

BY RACHEL FELDMAN AND WALTER NowiNSKI
Have you ever regretted taking a course that
did not live up to your expectations? If you knew
that students in previous semesters found the
professor boring, the workload excessive and
the subject matter dull, would you have taken
a different course instead? Currently, a lack
of information about potential courses leaves
many students in the same position; and as the
Daily pointed out in its editorial (Dreading a
W,' 01/24/2006), the early drop/add deadline
means students often find themselves stuck in
bad courses for the entire semester. Being forced
to endure a dull course for an entire semester
is a waste of both time and money. And while
changing the drop/add deadline would be a good
way to help students escape the most tiresome
courses, students will still find adding courses
after the first couple of meetings difficult. Thus,
the best way to help students avoid poor classes
and enroll in the best ones is to provide them
with proper information about potential courses
before they register. The Michigan Progressive
Party has a plan to do just that.
The Michigan Student Assembly has the poten-
tial to give students substantially more informa-
tion about courses and professors before they
register. Currently, MSA operates a rarely used
website called Advice Online. This site reports
data from the evaluation sheets that students fill
out at the end of each semester. These forms

evaluate each course and instructor. The site is
a good first step toward providing students with
more information, but unfortunately it falls short
on several fronts. Aside from being poorly pub-
licized, MSA's Advice Online also contains too
little data - only the past few semesters - and,
most importantly, the data that are posted lack
context. Who knows what a score of 3.2 out of
5 as the average response to "Overall this was an
excellent course" really means? Because the data
have not been analyzed, no one really knows if
a class with a rating of 3.2 overall is average or
decidedly below average.
The MPP believes that Advice Online has tre-
mendous potential, and we have a detailed plan to
overhaul the website in order to realize that poten-
tial. The MPP's plan has three main components.
The first is to publish all of the available data
online and include students' comments. There
is no reason that students should be arbitrarily
limited to data from only the past few semesters,
and there is no reason that students should not be
able to read the written comments about courses.
Comments will help students better understand
the strengths and weaknesses of a course before
enrolling in it.
The second step is to provide a comprehensive
statistical analysis of the Advice Online data.
The goal of this analysis is to give the individual
course ratings (such as a 3.2) context, by allow-
ing students to compare the rating of a particular
course or professor with the average rating for all

courses or professors. These averages could be
compared to both department averages and an
average for the University as a whole.
Finally, the MPP proposes a publicity cam-
paign to promote the "New Advice Online!" The
first step towards this is to register a real ".com"
domain name for the site, rather than burying it
within the MSA website. Other publicity will
include taking out advertisements in campus
publications a few days before registration begins
each term. These ads will list the 50 most popular
courses at the University alongside the course's
rating. Additionally, the ads may list the top
and bottom 10 courses offered, as rated by the
students. Publicity will also extend to incoming
freshmen, because they are the group that has the
least information about the quality of courses. Of
course, all ads would direct students to the web-
site where they could find full information on all
courses they are interested in taking.
The Michigan Progressive Party believes
that one of the best ways to improve the expe-
rience of everyone at the University is to pro-
vide them with the information they need to
avoid bad courses and take the best ones. If
you are interested in this, you can find the
entire proposal and others at our website:
www.MichiganProgressiveParty.com.
Feldman is an RC junior. Nowinski is
an LSA senior. The authors are writing on
behalf of the Michigan Progressive Party.

a

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Send all letters to the editor to
tothedaily@ mich igandaily. corn.

Committee misunderstands
college campus civil rights
To THE DAILY:
The Student Relations Advisory Committee's
letter (An open letter to the Daily, 02/03/2006),
charged that two cartoons the Daily published
may have created a "hostile learning environ-
ment" in violation of federal civil rights laws
because some members of the University com-
munity found them to be "offensive." This is
a patently false and dangerous assertion that
college administrators have long been using

Some colleges and universities have inter-
preted OCR's prohibition of "harassment" as
encompassing all offensive speech regarding
sex, disability, race or other classifications. For
harassment, however, to be prohibited by the stat-
utes within OCR's jurisdiction, it must include
something beyond the mere expression of views,
words, symbols or thoughts that some person
finds offensive. SRAC's members are either igno-
rant of the role of the First Amendment and fed-
eral civil rights legislation on college campuses,
or they are intentionally trying to scare members
of this community with false information. Either
way, students and editors should not have to fear

The commission has recently begun a series of
hearings to investigate the racially targeted voter
fraud committed by the anti-affirmative action
Michigan Civil Rights Initiative.
Preliminary investigation by BAMN in the
Ann Arbor area has already turned up a number
of pro-affirmative action community members,
including two University professors, who were
misled into signing the petition. Further investi-
gation will certainly turn up many more people
affiliated with the University who were deceived
into signing MCRI's petitions.
A Civil Rights Commission hearing in Ann
Arbor will allow University students, faculty and

Editorial Board Members: Amy Anspach, Andrew Bielak, Reggie Brown, Kevin Bunkley,
Gabrielle D'Angelo, John Davis, Whitney Dibo, Milly Dick, Sara Eber, Jesse Forester, Mara
Gay, Jared Goldberg, Ashwin Jagannathan, Mark Kuehn, Will Kerridge, Frank Manley, Kirsty
McNamara, Rajiv Prabhakar, Eric Karna, Katherine Seid, Brian Slade, Ben Taylor, Jessica
Teng.

I

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