Prelude to Political Choice: American Politics and the 2008 Elections
The following books are available at Broad Street Books and online
1. Matt Bai, The Argument: Billionaires, Bloggers, and the Battle to Remake Democratic Politics. (Penguin Press, 2007) ISBN 1594201331
2. Morris P. Fiorina, Samuel J. Abrams, and Jeremy C. Pope, Culture War? The Myth of a Polarized America, 2nd Edition. (Longman, 2005) 0321366069
3. Jonathan Rauch, Government's End: Why Washington Stopped Working. (PublicAffairs, 1999) 1891620495
4. Ryan Sager, The Elephant in the Room: Evangelicals, Libertarians and the Battle to Control the Republican Party. (Wiley, 2006) 0471793329
Most of the course readings will be documents from the Internet (e.g., policy papers from think tanks, campaign position papers. Given the fact that candidates and their positions come and go, the readings for the latter weeks will undoubtedly change.
The seminar grade will have the following components:
Critical Essay 1 20%
Critical Essay 2 20%
Critical Essay 3 20%
Final Political Brief 30%
The critical essays (approximately 5 pages in length) should critically analyze the readings for a given week. This is not designed to be a book report. Rather, you should quickly identify the major themes and arguments and then subject them to analysis.
The final essay, due on the last day of class will provide a chance for you to wear the hat of a political consultant offering advice to the candidate of your choice with respect to the kinds of issues that should be emphasized and the positions that might be adopted. The maximum length of this final paper is 10 pages. More details on this project will be distributed in class.
Participation is vital for a successful seminar. Each participant will be required to give a presentation of no more than 5 minutes on a week’s readings and provide members of the seminar with a one-page handout posing a set of questions for discussion. Regular attendance is also expected, although it is understood that work commitments and family obligations may, on occasion, take precedence over class.
All essays must be completed and submitted before the session in which the
readings are discussed.
All work must be submitted as email attachments (Microsoft Word) rather than as hard copies to firstname.lastname@example.org. All work will be returned with comments via email.
|January 30||Course Introduction: A Primer on Elections American Style|
American Politics in an Age of Transfer Seeking
Rauch, Government’s End, entire.
Peter G. Peterson, “Running on Empty: How the Democratic and Republican Parties Are Bankrupting Our Future and What Americans Can Do About It.” Presentation to the Institute for International Economics, August 9, 2004.
Public Opinion: Beyond the Myth of Polarization
Fiorina, Abrams, and Pope, Culture War? The Myth of a Polarized America
The Fraying of the Republican Coalition
Sager, The Elephant in the Room (entire)
Brink Lindsey. “Liberaltarians.” Download
Bai, The Argument (entire)
Waging the Culture War
Patrick J. Buchanan, “A Culture War for the Soul of America.” Download
“Is There A Culture War? A Dialogue on Values and American Public Life.” Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life (2007) Download
“Pragmatic Americans Liberal and Conservative on Social Issues.” Pew Forum (August 3, 2006). Download
E. J. Dionne Jr., “A Culture War Treaty.” Washington Post (October 9, 2007). Download
Poverty, Inequality, and Economic Policy
Council of Economic Advisors, Economic Report of the President, chapter 1. Download
Nicholas Eberstadt, “The Mismeasure of Poverty.” Policy Review, August/September 2006. Download
Jared Bernstein and Lawrence Mishel, “Economy's Gains Fail to Reach Most Workers' Paychecks.” EPI Briefing Paper #195 (September 3, 2007) Download
A National Strategy to Cut Poverty in Half. Report and Recommendations of the Center for American Progress Task Force on Poverty (April 2007). Download
Immigration Policy and Trade
Samuel P. Huntington, “The Hispanic Challenge.” Foreign Policy, March/April 2004. Download
Ron Haskins, “Immigration: Wages, Education And Mobility.” The Brookings Institution/ Economic Mobility Project, July 2007. Download
Douglas S. Massey, “Backfire at the Border: Why Enforcement without Legalization Cannot Stop Illegal Immigration.” CATO Trade Policy Analysis, June 13, 2005 No. 29. Download
James R. Edwards, Jr., “Keeping Extremists Out: The History of Ideological Exclusion, and the Need for Its Revival.” Center for Immigration Studies Backgrounder, Septmber 2005. Download
The Entitlement Crisis: Social Security
David M. Walker, “Long-Term Budget Outlook: Saving Our Future Requires Tough Choices Today.” Testimony before the Committee on the Budget, U.S. Senate (January 11, 2007). Download
Chad Stone and Robert Greenstein, “What the 2007 Trustees’ Report Shows About Social Security.” Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (April 24, 2007). Download
Will Wilkinson, “Noble Lies, Liberal Purposes, and Personal Retirement Accounts.” Cato Social Security Choice Paper no. 34 (June 28, 2005). Download
The Entitlement Crisis: Health Care
Elise Gould, “The Erosion of Employment-Based Insurance: More Working Families Left Uninsured.” EPI Briefing Paper #203 (November 1, 2007) Download
William A. Galston, “Reviving the Social Contract: Economic Strategies to Promote Health Insurance & Long-Term Care.” Brookings Institution, Opportunity 08. Download
Tom Miller, "Improving Access to Healthcare without Comprehensive Health Coverage Insurance: Incentives, Competition, Choice and Priorities," in Covering America: Real Remedies for the Uninsured. (Washington, DC: Cato Institute, 2002). Download
Global Climate Change
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Fourth Assessment Report Climate Change 2007: Synthesis Report, Summary for Policymakers. Download
Todd Stern and William Antholis, “A Changing Climate: The Road Ahead for the United States.” Washington Quarterly, 31:1 (Winter 2007-08) pp. 175–188. Download
Patrick J. Michaels, “Is the Sky Really Falling? A Review of Recent Global Warming Scare Stories.” Cato Policy Analysis no. 576 (August 23, 2006). Download
The War on Terror and the War in Iraq
Frederick W. Kagan, No Middle Way: The Challenge of Exit Strategies from Iraq. A Report of the Iraq Planning Group at The American Enterprise Institute. (Washington, DC: AEI, 2007) Download
Ted Galen Carpenter, “Escaping the Trap: Why the United States Must Leave Iraq.” Cato Policy Analysis no. 588 (February 14, 2007). Download
Brian Katulis, Lawrence J. Korb, and Peter Juul, Strategic Reset: Reclaiming Control of U.S. Security in the Middle East. (Washington, DC: Center for American Progress, 2007). Download
|April 30||Course Conclusion|