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Politics and the Bush Administration After 9/11

I'm a liberal Democrat . . . . I worked for George McGovern, I worked for Jimmy Carter. I've worked for Ted Kennedy, Mario Cuomo. But I have to tell you, at this point it's hard to believe, but my party . . . has become no longer a party of principles, but has been hijacked by a confederacy of gangsters who need to take power by whatever means and whatever canards they can.

-Patrick Caddell, MSNBC

Can we get this godforsaken event over with so I can go back to presiding over a civilization gone to hell in a handcart?

-President Jed Bartlet The West Wing

Needless to say, Patrick Caddell is not your average pundit. Caddell's efforts to shake up the establishment began in 1972, when at the age of 21, the young Harvard graduate led underdog George McGovern to the Democratic nomination. Four years later, Caddell orchestrated Jimmy Carter's successful campaign for the presidency. More recently, Caddell has been a fierce critic of the Clinton Administration and a vocal opponent of Al Gore's post-election maneuvering in Florida. Caddell has earned distinction as the conscience of the left, warning Democrats against the "unconditional surrender of their ideals."

Endeavoring to escape the moral vacuum of the modern political scene, Caddell has moved from the Washington beltway to the Hollywood studio. As a writer for the award-winning NBC series, The West Wing, he now charts the political career of America's most scrupulous, principled, and brilliant president-Jed Bartlet.

In his talk, however, Caddell will avoid fiction. Rather, he will discuss the odd mixture of change and continuity that he observes emerging after September 11. On the one hand, the devastating terrorist attacks have profoundly altered the attitudes of the American public. On the other hand, America's political institutions have remained wedded to the status quo. Is this disconnect between the country and its leaders a cause for concern? In a style that compelled Hardball's Chris Matthews to name Caddell his alltime favorite guest, Caddell will search for answers.

Patrick Caddell's talk is the keynote address for the April 5 conference, "Bush's First Year: A Changing Administration in a Changing World." Sponsored by CMC's Henry Salvatori Center, the conference will bring together journalists and scholars to discuss the impact and direction of the Bush Administration after 9/11. Panelists include Michael Barone of U.S. News & World Report, Ron Brownstein of the Los Angeles Times, Nelson Polsby of UC Berkeley, and Aaron Freidberg of Princeton University. The conference is open to the public.