James “The Ragin’ Cajun” Carville, America’s best-known political consultant and a 1973 graduate of the LSU Law Center, will deliver the keynote address at the LSU Law Center Commencement ceremonies scheduled for Friday, May 28, 2010. Ceremonies will begin at 10:30 a.m. at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center on the LSU Campus.
Carville’s long list of electoral successes evidences a knack for steering overlooked campaigns to unexpected landslide victories. He is known for re-making political underdogs into upset winners.
His winning streak began in 1986, when he managed the gubernatorial victory of Robert Casey in Pennsylvania. In 1987, Carville helped guide Wallace Wilkinson to the governor’s seat in Kentucky. Carville continued his winning streak with wins in New Jersey when Frank Lautenberg was elected to the U.S. Senate. He next managed the successful 1990 gubernatorial campaign of Georgia’s Lieutenant Governor Zell Miller, including a tough primary win over Atlanta mayor Andrew Young. In 1991, Carville—who had already become prominent in political circles—drew national attention when he led Senator Harris Wofford from 40 points behind in the polls to an upset landslide victory over former Pennsylvania Governor and U.S. Attorney General Richard Thornburgh. His most prominent victory was in 1992 when he helped William Jefferson Clinton win the Presidency.
In recent years, Carville has not been a paid political consultant for any domestic politicians or candidates for office, instead focusing on campaigns in more than 20 countries around the globe, including leading Ehud Barak to victory in his campaign to become the Prime Minister of Israel in 1999.
James Carville is also a best-selling author, actor, producer, talk-show host, speaker, and restaurateur. His titles include All’s Fair: Love, War, and Running for President (with wife Mary Matalin); We’re Right, They’re Wrong: A Handbook for Spirited Progressives; The Horse He Rode In On: The People vs. Kenneth Starr; Buck Up, Suck Up… and Come Back When You Foul Up; Had Enough? A Handbook for Fighting Back; Stickin’: The Case for Loyalty; Lu and the Swamp Ghost, a children’s book; and Take it Back. His latest book, 40 More Years: How the Democrats will Rule the Next Generation, was released in May 2009.
Along with pollster Stanley Greenberg, Carville founded Democracy Corps, an independent, non-profit polling organization dedicated to making government more responsive to the American people. Democracy Corps has conducted over 200 national, congressional, and local surveys, interviewing over 220,000 American voters during the past 10 years. He currently hosts Sirius XM radio’s “60/20 Sports” show with Luke Russert, and is a frequent political commentator and contributor on CNN.
The James Carville Endowed Alumni Professorship was established at the Law Center in recognition of his accomplishments. Carville served as Co-Masters of Ceremonies at the LSU Law Center’s Centennial Gala held in 2006.
He now teaches as a Professor of Practice at Tulane University in New Orleans, where he lives with his wife Mary Matalin and their two daughters.
In 2008, when LSU Law Chancellor Jack Weiss learned that Carville would be teaching at Tulane, Weiss quipped, “After he gets some seasoning teaching at Tulane, we’d be happy to consider James for a position on our adjunct faculty, especially if he shows that he can lighten up a little.” Referring to Carville’s forthcoming appearance at the Law Center’s commencement, Weiss said, “This is just another step in James’ preparation for the day when he steps up to teaching at the LSU Law Center!”