Day Two General Session Provided Insight and Analysis into the Current Political Landscape
March 19, 2013 12:39 PM
Mark Shields, a Democratic political commentator and columnist, and Alex Castellanos, a GOP strategist, advisor, and commentator shared their opinions, insight and analysis of the current political landscape to start the second day of the March on Washington | Private Duty Integrated Conference and Exposition. The morning’s general session allowed both speakers to address the crowd, as well as including a question and answer session that was moderated by NAHC president Val J. Halamandaris.
Both Shields and Castellanos offered their opinion on the direction of the country, as well as insight into the 2012 election. “The Republicans lost in 2012 because they didn’t adapt, they were the party of “no” and they didn’t engage in social responsibility,” said Castellanos. Despite the recent losses, Castellanos was optimistic about the future of the Republican party, citing rising stars in the party - like Bobby Jindal and Marco Rubio – who are bringing both added diversity and fresh ideas to the party. He contrasted the GOP’s young and fresh faces in a potential 2016 presidential election against the Democrat’s early front-runners - Vice President Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton. “Politics doesn’t always change between left and right. Sometimes it changes from old to new.”
In Shields’ analysis, he shared with the audience the, “four points of the political compass foe the losing party: blame the candidate, blame the voters, look for a gimmick and then look for a winner.” Shields cited other cycles where the losing party found a winner the next time – including Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. Shields agreed with Castellanos that one of the major disadvantages the Republican Party faced during the last election was that they opposed President Obama without offering viable alternatives. Said Shields, “Politics is always more about addition rather than subtraction - of making people come to your side."
Once both men shared their thoughts on the 2012 election, as well as the direction of the country, NAHC President Val J. Halamandaris joined the two men for a question and answer panel that ranged from which party will win the vote of older Americans in the next election cycle to the role of women in politics. Through social media, the audience was also able to participate in the conversation. One attendee tweeted that listening to Mark Shields and Alex Castellanos on the same stage made him realize that they share, “different view points stating similar things. One was how to get there and the other how they got here.” Another audience member tweeted that she enjoyed, “Listening to Castellanos, Shields and Val J. Halamandaris on political strategy DC style.”