Course Spotlight: Cal Hobson’s Money, Politics and the Pursuit of Power— An Insider’s Perspective on the 2016 Presidential Sweepstakes

BY ELIZABETH KELLOGG AND SARA DYER

Cal HobsonOLLI started the semester off with a buzz, welcoming back Cal Hobson as one of our instructors. His course flew by, opening up various topics of conversation along the way, centered on mental health, incarceration, addiction, his political journey and much more. The class was a hit and included panel discussions, guest appearances and Cal’s first-hand experiences and opinions.

With the upcoming 2016 political election, the stage is set for another one of Cal’s great courses, this time titled Money, Politics and the Pursuit of Power—An Insider’s Perspective on the 2016 Presidential Sweepstakes. As the name reveals, the course will again revolve around Cal’s political expertise, delving into the political fury that is the upcoming presidential election.

With the ever-changing American political climate in the wake of both national and international issues, well-informed voters are needed now more than ever.

"Every four years, experts say the presidential election is the most important in decades. I happen to believe the 2016 version really is, due to our domestic and foreign policy challenges."

Both Republican and Democratic debates have already revealed a wide-variety of heated topics, with an even wider variety of opinions regarding them. With each debate, the political intensity increases, as we enter the upcoming election year.  

Attendees can expect to hear Cal’s entertaining, yet well-informed opinions, matched with videos and presentations. His presenters take on a variety of forms, including intergenerational panels, media gurus, image-makers, speech writers, political action committee organizers, money bundlers and various pollsters.

"Every four years, experts say the presidential election is the most important in decades. I happen to believe the 2016 version really is, due to our domestic and foreign policy challenges."

Q and A with Cal Hobson

What was the highlight for you, regarding your course this fall?

Cal: I was just so pleased that many OLLI members took the course. The subject was a little difficult for me, but I believe we all learned a great deal on the subject of criminal justice and specifically drug courts in Oklahoma. Seminar members really were very thoughtful in their recommendations, and they have now been presented to Governor Fallin's office for hope for action.

How did you decide you wanted to teach the course on the upcoming political election this spring?

Cal: Every four years, experts say the presidential election is the most important in decades. I happen to believe the 2016 version really is, due to our domestic and foreign policy challenges. The country is evenly split, and both the House and Senate may be in play. That doesn't happen very often. And, of course, Donald Trump may end up running as an independent if he craters as a Republican. For a political groupie like me, what's not to like? In other words, a perfect time for a course about elections!

What has been your favorite part of teaching for OLLI?

Cal: Everyone treated me so positively, even though I know some didn't agree with my positions on many issues. Also, the wisdom and experience of class participants made the course fly by. Courtesy to each other made the course a joy to lead, and I believe that positive behavior guaranteed everyone would learn a great deal about Oklahoma's crisis in corrections.

What is your favorite part of being an OLLI member?

Cal: I know how important OLLI is to not just Outreach, but the entire university family. It plays a special role for seniors and serves to unite us on a regular basis and gives a sense of contributing to our university with our life's experiences. People talk about OLLI to me all the time, and I've never heard a negative word about course content, organization or any OLLI staff person. Every course is professionally organized and presented, and I can only imagine the work that goes into each offering.

What are you most looking forward to in the spring?

Cal: I so hope that many of the fall seminar members will give me another chance on a different topic and enroll in the spring. Just like the fall, we will have plenty of guest speakers, current videos and handouts to keep the topic fresh and interesting. I hope we have to set up extra chairs to handle the crowd, and then OLLI will make a little money from the course.

What can the OLLI members expect in your spring course?

Cal: As I said, guest speakers, a panel or two, videos, handouts, transparency, Cal's hard headed opinions and, of course, stories from my nearly 30 years of elected time in the legislature. Also, plenty of opportunity for questions, comments and differing views of participants. 

What do you want the students to get out of your course?

Cal: A full understanding of the great importance of citizen participation in our democracy. Also an awareness of the explosive impact of money into politics since the Citizens United ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court. Finally, a deeper appreciation of the right to vote and the fact that too many people don't exercise that treasured opportunity. 

Is there anything else you want to tell the OLLI members about your course?

Cal: Please enroll, and I promise you won't be bored. I will do my part to keep the seminar interesting, relevant and even exciting.

Any Additional Comments:

Cal: Thanks to all the OLLI staff for making the fall class successful, fun and hopefully educational for participants. I simply could not properly prepare my material and presentations without your help. Let's do it again in the spring!!!

We hope you consider signing up for Cal’s course, which will meet Mondays, January 25 – February 22, 2 – 4:30 p.m., as we expect that it will be a valuable learning experience for everyone who attends. See you there!