At this point, we're waiting in one of the TLS lecture halls, along with a gaggle of students, for James Carville. He's the featured speaker in the annual Gauthier Lecture series, and he'll be taking "A Look at American Politics."
Many, many of the seats are reserved, prompting some of us to wonder and one student to ask an organizer: "Are there any seats reserved for students?" It's a fair question. It seems almost 75% of the seats are for faculty, donors, etc.
Looking at Carville's lengthy bio handout, I share a few interesting factoids:
- He guided Frank Lautenberg's first New Jersey Senate race to success in 1988.
- He helped Zell Miller over the top in 1990 to become governor of Georgia.
- He was Clinton's key campaign advisor in 1992.
- He has had a stable of foreign clients since the Clinton win, including political figures in Greece, Brazil, Honduras, Canada, Mexico, and Israel.
Seeing Carville on TV so often as a pundit has rendered him quite a talking head, a person somewhat devoid of background meaning beyond his immediate talking points. But he does have an interesting back story - besides a colorful "Ragin' Cajun" heritage. Seeing him occasionally in person here in New Orleans, where he moved post-Katrina, has reduced that disconnected sense a bit. And the review of his actual track record helps explain just why he's on the network panels.
ADDED: Carville ties his shoes before putting us in stitches.