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Inaugural College

By P. Joseph Potocki

Hankering to bear witness to our next president's inaugural address, with a behind-the-scenes D.C. jaunt through this year's historic presidential sweepstakes to boot? Sonoma State University political science professor David McCuan invites students and interested community members to sign up for Campaign 2008: The Presidential Inauguration Seminar. One of several universities across the country participating in this innovative short course, SSU expects at least 2,000 participants across the country to take part in a 10-day election fest in our nation's capital. The Campaign 2008 program, sponsored by the nonprofit Washington Center, offers major player presentations regarding this year's presidential campaign, emphasizing the role various media have and will continue to play as a new administration assumes the reins of power and ends with a chance to witness the presidential inauguration first-hand.

The 44th president will be inaugurated on Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009; but on Jan. 10, Campaign 2008 attendees will begin a 10-day round of lectures, site visits, tours and special events focusing on the presidential races. Previous seminar speakers have included the Washington Post's Bob Woodward, independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, Chicago Trib columnist Clarence Page, C-Span's Brian Lamb, Cokie Roberts of ABC News, as well as five former presidential press secretaries.

In addition to these lectures, SSU's McCuan will lead the North Bay contingent in small morning group discussions, while afternoons will be devoted to touring D.C. landmarks, climbing Capitol Hill and visiting foreign embassies, think tanks and other organizations. Evenings feature such events as a reception at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the performance insights of renowned political humorist Mark Russell's power satire.

The Campaign 2008's $960 registration fee, plus a $60 nonrefundable application fee, doesn't include travel, housing or meals, so McCuan says one should expect to drop about three grand for the experience. Considering the unique program offered, matched with a historic inauguration of either our nation's first African-American president or woman VP, Campaign 2008: The Presidential Inauguration Seminar, will, no doubt, afford its participants a rare and uniquely American political experience.

Sign-ups are limited and early registration recommended. However, should McCain surprise at the polls, McCuan admits that he doesn't "expect many people will sign up." Interested persons should contact David McCuan at [email protected] or 707.664.3309.

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