Focus on Political Science

Focus on Political Science

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In the October 18 issue of The New Yorker, Princeton historian Sean Wilentz has an article examining the role of history in the tea party movement.

Also on October 18, Yale political scientist Jacob Hacker and University of California, Berkeley, political scientist Paul Pierson published a commentary highly critical of political gridlock: “It is corrosive. The policy results that follow are neither centrist nor stable. Rather, stalemate in Washington leads to a slow and steady deterioration of governance.” (Note: In a recent column, I was much more sympathetic to the idea of gridlock.)

On October 14, Princeton historian Julian Zelizer published a commentary noting that this year’s election will likely lead to more ideological conformity within the two major parties.

On October 13, Gallup released a poll showing that 59 percent of Americans think the federal government has too much power versus 33 percent who think it has too little. As recently as 2003 the positions were roughly reversed.

Also on October 13, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington released a report on the most corrupt members of Congress.

On October 11, the Washington Post reported that repeal of the 17th Amendment to the Constitution, which changed the way senators are elected, is a popular topic among tea party members. (On June 3, I posted readings on this topic.)

Also on October 11, political scientist Jonathan Bernstein posted a commentary on the dreadful process of appointing people to government positions requiring Senate confirmation.

On October 10, the Washington Post, Kaiser Family Foundation and Harvard University released a poll on American attitudes toward the role of government in society. It shows that while people favor limited government in principle, they generally support an increased government role when questioned about specific government functions.

In an October 8 commentary, Harvard political scientist Joseph Nye examined the changing nature of international power as economic power increasingly replaces military power.

Also on October 8, political scientist Jonathan Bernstein discussed the differences between 2011 and 1995 in the event that Republicans regain control of the House. Key point: they will be much better prepared this time.

On October 6, the National Taxpayers Union published a guide to tax- and budget-related ballot initiatives that will be voted on in November.

In a September 28 commentary, political analyst Charlie Cook was highly critical of the idea that public polls are as accurate as the internal polls conducted by political campaigns. Political scientists John Sides and Jonathan Bernstein discussed Cook’s analysis.

On August 26, the Congressional Research Service published a report on reapportionment.

I last posted items on this topic on October 11.

Bruce Bartlett is an American historian and columnist who focuses on the intersection between politics and economics. He blogs daily and writes a weekly column at The Fiscal Times. Read his most recent column here. Bartlett has written for Forbes Magazine and Creators Syndicate, and his work is informed by many years in government, including as a senior policy analyst in the Reagan White House. He is the author of seven books including the New York Times best-seller, Impostor: How George W. Bush Bankrupted America and Betrayed the Reagan Legacy (Doubleday, 2006).  

Bruce Bartlett’s columns focus on the intersection of politics and economics. The author of seven books, he worked in government for many years and was senior policy analyst in the Reagan White House.