Harvard University’s Institute of Politics at the John F. Kennedy School of Government announced Wednesday its new crop of fellows for the spring semester. As usual, it is an interesting and eclectic list.
Joining the institute as resident fellows next week will be former Knoxville, Tenn., Mayor Victor Ashe (R); Meredith Bagby, a former CNN reporter who is now an executive with the DreamWorks SKG movie studio; Gary Flowers, vice president of programs at the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition and former aide to then-Virginia Gov. Doug Wilder (D); Steve Jarding, a veteran Democratic strategist; Lynn Sweet, Washington bureau chief of the Chicago Sun-Times; and former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura (I).
Five visiting fellows will spend part of the semester at Harvard: Alastair Campbell, a former director of commu-
nications and strategy for British Prime Minister Tony Blair; Bobby Jindal, the 2003 Republican candidate for governor of Louisiana and a likely candidate for Congress this year; former Rep. Bill Luther (D-Minn.); Antanas Mockus, former mayor of Bogota, Colombia; and Kathleen Shanahan, former chief of staff to Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R).
Merely the Mock. While most political insiders have turned their attention to the seven states that will hold presidential primaries Feb. 3, a few discerning tea leaf readers may want to look a little closer to home — to Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Va.
On Friday and Saturday, the university’s 1,600 students will hold a mock Democratic National Convention on campus. This is no mere civic exercise: The students have accurately predicted 17 of the 22 presidential nominees of the party out of the White House since this tradition began in 1908.
Since 1948, the student accuracy rate has been an astonishing 92 percent. The only misstep came in 1972, when the conventioneers predicted that Sen. Edward Kennedy (Mass.), rather than then-Sen. George McGovern (S.D.), would be the Democratic standard-bearer against President Richard Nixon.
The Washington and Lee convention has always attracted several high-powered speakers, beginning with William Jennings Bryan. This year is no exception, with Virginia Gov. Mark Warner (D), Boston Mayor Thomas Menino (D) — he, of course, being the host of the real 2004 Democratic convention — and Reps. Gene Taylor (D-Miss.) and James Clyburn (D-S.C.) scheduled to speak Friday.
On Saturday, CNN personality and Democratic strategist James Carville is scheduled to make the keynote address. Balloting for president — and vice president — will follow.
C-SPAN is expected to broadcast part of the mock convention, and the proceedings can also be followed on the university’s Web Site at www.wlu.edu.
Not That Easy Being Green. Speaking of Boston and presidential politics, Harvard University will play host tonight to one of the first Green Party presidential candidate forums of the year.
With Ralph Nader out of the race, the field is wide open, with at least a half-dozen candidates actively seeking the nomination at the party’s June convention in Milwaukee. Those expected to appear at the forum are David Cobb, a Texas lawyer and former general counsel of the national party; Kent Mesplay, an air-quality inspector in San Diego; and Lorna Salzman, a veteran environmental activist and writer from New York.
Like the state’s other major parties, the Massachusetts Greens will stage their presidential primary March 2.
Closer to Home. Here’s another presidential forum to tell you about. This one is scheduled for Friday and is sponsored by the Graduate School of Political Management at George Washington University.
It features not candidates, but sage political observers who will try to interpret the recent primary and caucus results and look ahead. The panel includes political analyst Rhodes Cook, Democratic pollster Mark Mellman, and Campaigns and Elections magazine Editor in Chief Ron Faucheux.
It takes place at 11 a.m. Friday in room 121 of the Cannon House Office Building.
New Web Source. Add Poliwonks — www.poliwonks.com — to the list of Web sites political junkies can refer to.
The new free site, run by California journalist Mike Adamick, culls the day’s top political stories from more than 50 newspapers, wire services and Web sites.
Currently working as a full-time reporter in the Contra Costa Times’ Oakland bureau, Adamick updates Poliwonks each morning from his home in San Francisco (the time difference from the East Coast helps).
Adamick is trying to appeal to people who are interested in political news without the commentary or the blogging or the unsubstantiated rumors.
“I think the site will appeal to anyone who follows politics in America,” he says. “I figure there are a lot of people like me.”
And yes, he wouldn’t mind selling ads — or turning a profit — on his hobby some day.