Leading College Republicans both rough, rewarding
Even though he's only a sophomore in college, Dan Schuberth thinks that he's playing a pivotal role in Maine and national politics.
Schuberth is the chairman of the Maine State College Republican Organization (MSCRO), and has also been appointed Youth Coordinator by the Bush campaign.
"It really is a full-time job," Schuberth said in describing his responsibilities, which include everything from organizing fundraisers to support breast cancer research, to traveling to various schools to spark student interest in the College Republicans, to taking conference calls with what Schuberth calls "very important people." He describes his job in one word: "Pressure."
Schuberth had very little political experience before he came to Bowdoin and did not really understand the differences between the political parties; in fact, he participated in his first campaign during the summer right before entering Bowdoin.
Upon arrival in Maine, he immediately joined the Bowdoin College Republicans and met Maine Senator Olympia Snowe. His "turning point" was at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), a radical event which showed him that College Republicans could be active on a national level. "I realized it's more than just a social club," Schuberth said. "It's really, really serious!"
Inspired by the fact that the College Republicans could "actually make tangible differences in politics," Schuberth decided he wanted to run the Bowdoin chapter. He began setting goals for himself and the group, and his passion for politics allowed him to surpass his expectations.
"It's very much luck and very much circumstance," Schuberth said about his progress. "But on the other hand, I've really worked so hard this semester. A part of me feels like I don't deserve it sometimes."
He noted the attributes that have helped him along the way: "I'm very good at organizing, rallying, and schmoozing."
Schuberth doesn't necessarily work for the Republican Party because of its stance on the issues. "I think it's very important as someone who wants to be a U.S. Senator representing Maine: to be successful in politics, you need to choose a side and make connections," he said. "You should be able to support the party and be hardcore, but you also need to be a free thinker and question certain aspects of your party's beliefs."
Schuberth thinks that students must look at the positives of the Republican Party instead of picking out select negative issues. He believes the Bush administration has created many new jobs and bettered the economy through its tax cuts. He also asserts that while corporations such as Enron and Haliburton support the party, so too do a large number of small corporations, especially in Maine.
"The Republican Party in general is pro-business, and I believe more people are doing well because the economy is doing well," he said.
While Schuberth has some issues with the Patriot Act, he does not find the library aspect unreasonable because he believes "if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear." Though he can understand and respect the opposing viewpoint, he believes that "overall, the greater good is what's important," and the right of the government to check our library books "is not a big deal."
Schuberth believes we need to think most about how the Republican Party's actions will benefit us in the very near future. "We may not care much about it now, but when we're seniors, we are going to have to think about our futures in terms of personal security, which is what I hope people base their decisions on," he said. Democrats, according to him, are not being as "practical" or "thinking as much about their futures."
In the recent past, the Bowdoin College Republicans have created Quarters for a Cure to support the Maine Breast Cancer Research Foundation, held a casino debate, and held a pro-Bush rally outside a Clinton supporter's speech in Orono. In January, CPAC will be hosting 22 students from Maine, and in September, they plan on attending the Republican National Convention.
Schuberth is also very excited that the Republican Party has named Maine a Tier 1 state, meaning it is a swing state. He said, "This puts even more pressure on me, but I also get more recognition."
So what fuels Dan Schuberth?
"It's really the idea of service. I love the feeling that I have something to offer people...something they couldn't get down other avenues" he said. "I like making people happy and I want to do favors for people. I like people to be pleased with me, I like talking in front of people, and I like being in the spotlight."
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