After weeks of turmoil, Kozak to give update on politics


David Kozak

Lori Humphreys | Staff Writer

If it’s true that “timing is everything” then David Kozak’s timing is impeccable. He is a political commentator, lecturer and political science professor at Gannon University and will present at the Contemporary Issues Program at 3 p.m. Saturday in the Hall of Philosophy.

This event occurs amid a trifecta of disturbing events: the deficit debate, the S&P downgrade of United States debt on Aug. 5 and the start of the 2012 presidential campaign.

His presentation, “American Politics Update: the Elections of 2010 and 2012,” promises political insight delivered with vintage Kozak energy but no partisan angst in the midst of a historical summer.

He said three topics will define his presentation.

The first is the state of the political environment — he described the current lack of civility and partisanship as “the era of ill feeling.”

The second is his analysis of the results of the 2010 election. He said that, among other things, the election yielded a new Republican Party, influenced by the Tea Party.

His third point will be an early-bird look at the 2012 presidential election and whether or not President Barack Obama can be re-elected.

“The president is in for a dogfight,” he said. “There are nine key battleground states, and the president has to win a majority to be re-elected. It is not guaranteed.”

As for the Republican candidates, Kozak mentioned another political coincidence that is occurring Saturday.

“The Ames Straw Poll in Iowa is occurring as we talk,” he said.

It is always informative to learn which writers influence political speakers. Kozak said he cut his teeth on the books of Theodore White, who wrote about every presidential election from the 1962 Kennedy election to his final book in 1980 describing the Reagan election.

White called all of his books The Making of the President until the final one, which he titled America in Search of Itself.

Kozak’s point may be that America is still searching for itself.

“This election is a defining one for the country,” he said. “Politics are topsy-turvy. And the question has to be asked: Is the structure up to the task of making decisions?”

This year Kozak received Gannon University’s Distinguished Professor of Political Science award. He also is organizing a simulated Republican Convention at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., during Martin Luther King weekend.

Kozak retired from the United States Air Force with the rank of lieutenant colonel. He is a visiting professor at West Point, and he has taught at the Air Force Academy and the National War College. He also is director of the Institute for Policy and Leadership Studies at Gannon University.