Jake Sherman: The coattail campaign

When Brand Kroeger walked into Jack Morton Auditorium for the second annual Hatchet-Student Association debate Tuesday night, he looked down at his jeans, brown boat shoes and flannel shirt in a moment of bewilderment.

“Was I supposed to dress up for this thing?” Kroeger asked in his Southern drawl.

SA President Nicole Capp was also curious about how she should dress for the affair. Late in the afternoon, she struggled to decide whether to don a pantsuit or go a little more casual at the debate.

Kroeger, the SA’s current executive vice president, got away with his casual garb this time. Capp, apparently, made the correct decision on her casual outfit. The GW Patriot, a conservative blog, called her “very attractive.”

Don’t worry, guys. This year’s candidates are dressed up in your stead. They are working their hardest to be just like you.

In the close to 45 minutes of the SA presidential debate, Tarek Al-Hariri, Vishal Aswani, Kevin Kozlowski and OG Oyiborhoro mentioned the successes of “Nicole and Brand” 13 times. That’s a mention every three minutes.

Much like Capp and Kroeger last year, these candidates are dreaming big. Al-Hariri thinks we should take a cue from D.C. and wipe J Street off the map. Aswani talks of privatizing the Marvin Center eating venue and said he will give his cell phone number to everyone. Kozlowski wants to completely restructure the SA and said his cell phone number is on his Facebook, which is locked to everyone but those who friend him. OG has the tall task of running a write-in campaign for president.

These four gentlemen seem to be grasping for the coattails of Capp and Kroeger, hoping to ride them to a victory. Kozlowski tallied the most mentions of the current administration and said he is the only one with the experience to carry on Capp’s momentum.

Kozlowski, an SA senator and Colonial Cabinet alumnus, is being advised by Capp’s former advisor Steve Miller. In between mentions of his Web site’s URL, Kozlowski said, among other things, Barack Obama shouldn’t have spoken at American – which is located on Massachusetts Avenue, not Virginia Avenue as he said- but instead at GW.

A main part of Kozlowski’s platform calls for GW Housing to help students find affordable housing. Unfortunately, this already exists, said Seth Weinshel, a director of GW Housing.

“The reason why it is not feasible is because the institution has the office of off-campus student affairs,” Weinshel said Wednesday. “They work with off-campus vendors and apartments to provide a database to do that. OCSA actually exists and does this.”

Furthermore, Kozlowski introduced GW2008, an initiative for the University to be “actively engaged in the 2008 presidential election.”

“I’d like to think we are at the epicenter (of politics),” said Tracy Schario, a University spokesperson. “The challenge in election time is candidates don’t want to be in D.C.”

It seems as though a lot of the candidates’ ideas exist and the initiatives they are most proud of have not worked out. Al-Hariri spoke highly of his work with Peace Forum and Peace Not Prejudice. Neither organization is registered with the University. Aswani’s worked for several months on an LGBTQ resource center, which the University has not started. Oyiborhoro’s Africana studies major also does not exist.

And the campaign has just begun. Students will vote, or more likely will not, Feb. 27 and 28, and there are likely to be more promises.

Caproeger (good one, huh?) skirted the opportunity to run for a second term. Instead Capp, who swears her political career is over, has plans to intern for a consulting firm. Kroeger is working for a Florida congressman and has not-so-veiled aspirations to seek the chairmanship of the College Republicans.

They have the rare opportunity to sit on the sidelines as students the year after their reign. But they should have no worries. This year’s candidates are certainly keeping them in mind.

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