Author Archives: mklstudent

The Good, the Rich, and the Romney

This is America—the land of opportunity, a place where you’re given the chance to find success through hard work and perseverance. Given this core value, as well as the fact that America is the wealthiest nation in the world, one would think that how much money a person owns wouldn’t necessarily be an issue in something like a US presidential campaign. However, in the 2012 presidential race, money has become a particular issue for candidate Mitt Romney. From Romney’s large personal earnings to his casual remarks about “betting $10,000” on the spot, the presidential candidate has garnered criticism for being too far removed from the average American.

However, is this criticism really fair? In an article from Time magazine, “Is Romney the Wrong Kind of Rich?”, David Futrelle explores the apparent contradiction of some Americans embracing the idea of opportunity while others criticize the supposed “rich who get richer.” Futrelle finally settles on the conclusion, “Americans by and large don’t resent success, or the successful. This is the country, after all, that invented the notion of the ‘self-made man’…We just prefer our million- and billionaires to have a little dirt under their fingernails, because true rags-to-riches stories remind us that upward mobility is still possible (and maybe even for us, too).” In the end, Futrelle believes that although the American electorate embraces success, it can also embrace the skill to relate, something that’s important for a candidate to know while campaigning.

In our AP US Government class, we’ve recently had to create what we feel would be an effective electoral system for the United States. Among the issues we had to address within our system, a chief issue was money. We were introduced to a quote from Mark Hanna, which stated, “There are two things that are important in politics. The first is money, and I can’t remember what the second is.” Indeed, with questions about job growth as well as the issue of Romney’s personal finances, money is a discussion topic that is here to stay for the 2012 elections. In the meantime, Romney has tried to put his best defense forward. In a Diane Sawyer interview on April 16, Romney said, “We don’t divide America based upon success and wealth and other dimensions of that nature. We’re one nation under God. We come together. This is a time when people of different backgrounds and different experiences need to come together.”



Posted by on April 26, 2012 in Elections & Campaigns


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Healthcare “Warfare”: A Turning Point?

In our AP US Government class, we have recently learned about political parties, organizations, and the election process in general. We have studied the range of factors that affect politicians’ success during their terms in office and during their time on the campaign trail—an especially relevant topic in light of recent events leading up to the 2012 presidential elections. The passage of President Obama’s healthcare reform bill has been a divisive issue amongst Democrats and Republicans for quite some time, producing strong and vocal opinions for and against the bill. However, the healthcare bill is no longer just the focus of debate amongst the Republicans and Democrats in Congress. Now, the Supreme Court is putting the bill to the test in terms of constitutionality.

The Supreme Court’s actions have raised an important question: What will the case results do for (or against) Obama’s campaign? At first glance, the answer seems clear. If the Supreme Court says that the healthcare law is constitutional, Obama’s campaign will receive a positive boost. If the law is declared unconstitutional, Obama will risk losing legal credibility. However, the actual effect of the Supreme Court ruling on the views of the American public is more difficult to pinpoint. According to the Huffington Post, even if the healthcare law was declared unconstitutional, “it would end the GOP argument that a Republican president must be elected to guarantee repeal of the law.”

Just as important in affecting the views of the American public is how President Obama reacts to the Supreme Court ruling, whether it is for better or for worse. Some scholars argue that even if Obama receives negative feedback from the Supreme Court, trying to aggressively modify the Court in response would only make things worse. Political author John Meacham makes this case in an opinion article for Time, giving the historical example of President Franklin D. Roosevelt to support his theory about the relationship between the Court and the presidency.

In the end, I feel that the fact that there isn’t always a clear-cut answer as to how much various factors will affect a politician’s campaign is what truly tests a politician’s ability to be adaptive. Election results, court opinions, and the view of the American public are constantly changing. However, if a candidate is dynamic enough to be able to deal with these changes, he or she will be able to find the way to victory.



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Caucuses, Caucuses

My home state of Hawaii is as blue as the Pacific Ocean. By that, I mean that the Democratic Party fares incredibly well here. In addition to the state’s already strong support for the Democrats, there is also the encouraging fact that President Obama was born and raised in Hawaii. However, Hawaii still has its share of card-carrying Republicans, and just yesterday, they were able to express their views in Hawaii’s Republican caucuses.

This is the first time that Hawaii is holding a Republican caucus, and although the Republican presidential candidates weren’t able to make personal appearances in Hawaii, their family members did come here to campaign before the caucuses. Mitt Romney sent out his son Matt, Ron Paul sent out his son Ronnie, and Rick Santorum sent out his daughter Elizabeth (no relative was present from the Gingrich campaign). Each family member has been working to help win the majority of the 17 delegates from Hawaii for their respective candidates.

See this video segment from Hawaii news station KITV4 on the Republican caucuses:

Overall, I’ve found the Republican caucuses in Hawaii to be an interesting experience. Up until this point, I have enjoyed following the news about the Republican caucuses in other states, but no matter what, I felt a sense of distance between myself and the elections. The Hawaii caucuses have allowed me to get a more personal sense of the presidential candidate nomination process. Although Hawaii may be a small state, its residents (myself included) are just as interested in the political process as those of larger states, and I think it’s great for Hawaii to create more opportunities for its residents to participate in politics. In the end, these opportunities will allow Hawaii residents of all political parties to learn more about the American democratic process.



Posted by on March 14, 2012 in Elections & Campaigns


United We Stand

By Melissa Lee

In our current unit of our AP US Government class, we’re learning about American political culture—that is, how America is unique in terms of its ideas, principles, and tendencies. So far, I’ve found this unit to be highly interesting because I find that I really identify with American political culture. Individualism, capitalism, the belief in equality of opportunity so that all individuals can better their situations through personal efforts and talents—such ideas make up the core of my set of beliefs.

What I find to be truly interesting is the overall uniqueness of American political culture. By no means is America the only democratic nation in the world. However, in various surveys and statistical measures, Americans have consistently proven to follow a unique trend in values. More so than citizens of other nations, Americans believe that it is not the government’s responsibility to ensure that individuals have a reasonable standard of living. While all individuals should be given an equal opportunity to better their situations, from that point, it is up to the individual’s personal efforts and dedication to ensure success. Furthermore, as surveys show, Americans strongly believe in the “Rule of Law,” or the idea that everyone should be treated equally before the law, even government officials.

However, as I’ve also discovered by analyzing demographic charts and graphs, America is far from being a homogeneous nation. The United States is inhabited by individuals of various different ethnicities (Hispanic, African American, Asian), religions (Protestants, Catholics), income brackets (upper class, middle class, and those in poverty), and political leanings (Republicans, Democrats). It is important to be aware of these differences as well, for they are another part of what makes the United States truly unique.

In the end, America is a land of great diversity. However, it is also a land where individuals are bound together by common ideas of liberty and equality. In the end, these common ideas are what help various individuals come together as the United States of America.

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Posted by on February 27, 2012 in Culture


Adventures in Technology: My AP US Government Class

Prior to taking my AP US Government course, I had never  taken an online class before. Naturally, there were a lot of things I wondered about. I had owned a laptop since the fifth grade. I knew how to create a Googledoc and edit footage on iMovie and GarageBand. Still, I never considered myself to be a technology whiz, so I was a little anxious about taking a course online. The first thing that I was required to do for the course was to set up accounts on a plethora of programs, including VoiceThread, WordPress, and Vimeo. It was a lot of technology to take in at one time, but I had no choice but to do my best and see where I would go.

Surprisingly, things ended up not being so difficult. I successfully uploaded a recording to Vimeo. I sentout my first “tweet” on Twitter. The only program that really gave me any difficulty was Voicethread (I occasionally had trouble with the “comment” function), but by asking questions and learning more about the program, I was able to figure everything out. Overall, I don’t find it frustrating to work with new technology. Although I may occasionally run into difficulties, these challenges are also a part of the learning process. By overcoming these challenges, I know that I’ll be more prepared to function in a highly technological world. Today, knowing your way around technology is a must in the workforce, as businesses and governments are communicating with one another in whole new ways.

This brings me to my final point of what I like best about being in an online class. Taking an online course enables me to discuss important issues with people from various locations who have different experiences and opinions. Just a few weeks ago, our AP US Government class watched the State of the Union Address and discussed it on Skype. We have also had several engaging written discussions on different political issues. Overall, I feel that the technology in an online class really helps to facilitate meaningful communication, and I can’t wait to see what we’re going to learn next!

Images courtesy of and


Posted by on February 9, 2012 in Technology