(Senator Gary Hart and Steve Clemons at Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley's official residence in Annapolis)
During October and November, Washington College's C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience will host five former and current U.S. Senators in a series called "A Bipartisan Conversation on Politics and History."
Former Senator Birch Bayh (D-IN), who is a Senior Fellow at Washington College's Starr Center (and father of one of those on the short VP list of all the leading Dem White House contenders), will participate in all four separate evening colloquia. Starr Center Director and a prolific writer on culture and history Adam Goodheart hatched and developed this series -- and asked Steve Clemons (yours truly) to moderate the series.
Imagine me as the Ed McMahon of the meetings to Birch Bayh's Johnny Carson. Just kidding.
Actually, the series will look at the important, often lofty, ideals that animate many in the Senate -- and then the hard core political realities they face when trying to actually shape the legislative realities of the country.
Former Senator and presidential contender Gary Hart (D-CO) will participate in the first colloquium on Wedneday, 17 October. Did you know that Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley was a Hart advance man and used to drive the Senator around on the campaign trail in a beat-up, yellow convertible El Dorado? Also see Senator Hart's July 2009 interview with former Vice President Richard Cheney.
Former Senator and Nevada Governor Paul Laxalt (R-NV) will join the conversation on Monday, 22 October. Laxalt was considered to be Ronald Reagan's best friend in Washington, and his daughter once dated none other than former US Ambassador to the UN John Bolton.
Former Senator and Arkansas Governor Dale Bumpers (D-AR) will travel to Washington College on Monday, 5 November. Remember his amazing speech at the Senate Clinton impeachment proceedings?
Finally, Ranking Member and former Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Richard Lugar (R-IN) will join the discussion on Monday, 12 November. Of course, Lugar will be speaking just before the late November planned Israel-Palestine "Peace Summit" taking place in Annapolis. Lugar is also one heck of a runner -- and I hope he stays over so that we can run along the Chester River the next morning.
These should be fascinating sessions. They are open to the public and are free. All sessions will take place in the Hynson Lounge at 5 pm and conclude by 7 pm.
More information is available here.
-- Steve Clemons is Senior Fellow and Director of the American Strategy Program at the New America Foundation and publishes the popular political blog, The Washington Note