I shall post videos, graphs, news stories, and other material there. We shall use some of this material in class, and you may review the rest at your convenience. You will all receive invitations to post to the blog. (Please let me know if you do not get such an invitation.) I encourage you to use the blog in these ways:
To post questions or comments about the readings before we discuss them in class;
To follow up on class discussions with additional comments or questions.
To post relevant news items or videos.

There are only two major limitations: no coarse language, and no derogatory comments about people at the Claremont Colleges.

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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Legislation and Legislative Research

Legislative Research

An example of legislative language: The PATRIOT Act.

An example of markup:

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Simulation Roster

Below is the CMC Simulation Roster. All email addresses are CMC unless there is a notation otherwise (PI, HMC or SC). If I have made any errors, please let me know right away.

Roles for the other classes are at http://dwardmac.pitzer.edu/dward/classes/congpres/simroles08.html

Senators with # do not serve in the real-world committee. We have added them for simulation purposes.

Homeland Security and Government Affairs

Susan M. Collins Ranking Member (ME) Ashley Green
Ted Stevens (AK) Haiyang Zhang
George V. Voinovich (OH) Ben Hough
Norm Coleman (MN) Max Davison
Tom Coburn (OK) Anthony Escandon

Foreign Relations

Richard G. Lugar Ranking Member (IN) Ryan Martin
Chuck Hagel (NE) Charles Sprague
Bob Corker (TN) Gregory Farnum, HMC
John E. Sununu (NH) Alexander WeberShapiro
Mitch McConnell (KY)# David Reitz
Lisa Murkowski (AK) Lina Cohen, PI
Jim DeMint (SC) Quirina Mitchell
Johnny Isakson (GA) Emma Lowry. SC
John McCain (AZ)# Patrick Atwater

Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions

Michael B. Enzi, Ranking Member (WY) Avram (Abe) Shimm
Judd Gregg (NH) Spencer MacColl
Lamar Alexander (TN) Edwin Hetz
Richard Burr (NC) Brandon Sanchez
Johnny Isakson (GA) Emily Phelps
Lisa Murkowski (AK) Sandy Russell
Orrin G. Hatch (UT) Matthew Lewis

Environment and Public Works

James M. Inhofe, Ranking Member (OK) Sean McGregor
Olympia Snowe (ME)# Allison Foote
David Vitter (LA) Sam Ross
John Barrasso (WY) Andrew Hess
Larry E. Craig (ID) Brendan Sasso

Monday, February 25, 2008

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Doppelgangers and Rahm

1. You may notice that a couple of sim roles appear twice. We will have different students portray the member on different committees. For instance, one student will play HELP Isakson and another will play Foreign Relations Isakson.

2. See video about a member of the House Democratic leadership:

Party Leadership

Current House leadership

Current Senate leadership

The 100 Hours:

Republicans have a different view:

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Party Influence Over Elections

The reading and our discussions in class have focused on party influence in elections and campaigns. This article from The Politico illustrates that even though elections can be more candidate centered than party centered, congressional committees and the parties still have some power in determining the candidates. When Rep. Ron Lewis of Kentucky tried to engineer the election, the NRCC proved that it still has power and influence over who will be the candidate in certain districts.

"Pledged" Delegates

Here is a nice twist: at the Democratic convention, technically ALL delegates are super-delegates. Pledged delegates are delegates that the candidate wins in primaries, who pledge their support to the candidate. Often they are selected because they are strong Obama/Clinton/Edwards partisans, and they sign a public pledge of support to their candidate. But their obligation ends there. As illustrated in this article pledged delegates can technically vote for whomever they wish, even on the first ballot. This makes them strikingly similar to the famed super-delegates.

The convention is going to be a mess. I retract my previous optimistic statement about the Clinton campaign. They're going to fight tooth and nail.

The Superdelegate Dilemma

A Washington Post article nicely illustrates a point from yesterday's class:
In an interview [Trenton Mayor Doug] Palmer still sounded riled about a few things he had heard about. One of them, reported by the Associated Press, was a private conversation between Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.), a Clinton supporter, and Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.), one of Obama's national campaign co-chairmen. Both
lawmakers are superdelegates. Jackson had asked Cleaver if he wanted to go down in history as someone who prevented an African American from occupying the White
for the first time. Separately, Jackson told the AP that supporting Clinton in districts where Obama won overwhelmingly might place those politicians at risk of a primary challenge.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Parties in Congress

The New York Times has an excellent analysis of superdelegates. Here is a useful table of their preferences in comparison of those of their constituencies.

See here for historical trends in party polarization. And a graphic comparison.

Simulation Roles

The Senators with * and italics are Pitzer Senator roles

The Senators with # do not serve in the real-world committee. We have added them for simulation purposes.

Homeland Security and Government Affairs

Susan M. Collins Ranking Member (ME)
Ted Stevens (AK)
George V. Voinovich (OH)
Norm Coleman (MN)
Tom Coburn (OK)
*Pete V. Domenici (NM)
*John Warner (VA)
*John E. Sununu (NH)

Foreign Relations

Richard G. Lugar Ranking Member (IN)
Chuck Hagel (NE)
*Norm Coleman (MN)
Bob Corker (TN)
John E. Sununu (NH)
Mitch McConnell (KY)#
Lisa Murkowski (AK)
Jim DeMint (SC)
Johnny Isakson (GA)
John McCain (AZ)#

Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions

Michael B. Enzi, Ranking Member (WY)
Judd Gregg (NH)
Lamar Alexander (TN)
Richard Burr (NC)
Johnny Isakson (GA)
Lisa Murkowski (AK)
Orrin G. Hatch (UT)
*Pat Roberts (KS)
*Wayne Allard (CO)
*Tom Coburn, M.D. (OK)

Environment and Public Works

James M. Inhofe, Ranking Member (OK)
Olympia Snowe (ME)#
David Vitter (LA)
John Barrasso (WY)
Larry E. Craig (ID)
*Lamar Alexander (TN)
*Christopher S. Bond (MO)

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Obama, Clinton Shower Cash on Delegates

ABC Reports:
The study found that Obama has sent more than $694,000 from either his campaign account or his political action committee to superdelegates -- the members of Congress, governors, and other party leaders who receive automatic votes at the Democratic National Convention.

About 40 percent of the elected officials who have endorsed Obama have received campaign contributions from him, the center reports. Those superdelegates have received a total of $228,000 from him.

By contrast, Clinton sent out only $195,500 to superdelegates, and only 12 percent of her superdelegates received money from her for their campaigns, according to the report.

It looks like Obama might have learned more from his Senate experience than Clinton did. Perhaps she assumed the political insiders would default to the Clinton camp. Regardless, this should prevent superdelegates from voting for Clinton if she doesn't win the popular vote.

Thursday, February 14, 2008


Politico reports:
Following an angry partisan debate and a dramatic walkout by Republicans, the House on Thursday approved motions to begin criminal and civil contempt proceedings against White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten and former White House Counsel Harriett Miers for failing to comply with subpoenas issued by the House Judiciary Committee. The vote was 223-32 and came after House Republicans – yelling “Work, work, work” – marched out of the chamber en masse to protest the fact that the Democrats were focused on the contempt issue rather than on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act legislation the Senate passed earlier in the week.

Video here:

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Ads, Ads, Ads

Current ad for Democrat Steve Novick, running against Gordon Smith in Oregon (h/t to Allie Foote):

A 2006 ad for Democrat Jon Tester, who defeated GOP incumbent senator Conrad Burns:

And Michael Steele had good ads:

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Strategy and Tactics

Some constituencies are competitive. Some are not. See 2006 California returns for examples.

Consider the message grid.

Compare the messages of

Best ads of 2006.

From 2006, an effective negative ad:

And a response ad:

Monday, February 11, 2008

Use of Campaign Funds

Emily raised a good question about restrictions on the use of campaign funds. See the FEC guide for candidates, especially chapter 9. The short answer is that candidates indeed have a good deal of latitude, provided that the money does not end up in their own pockets.
Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) pitches to college students on YouTube:

Rep. Tom Lantos Dead at 80

Apparently this morning Rep. Tom Lantos died outside of Washington DC. He had served an admirable 14 terms and was the Chairman of the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee. I believe he was the sole Democrat out of 22 congressmen and women seeking retirement rather then reelection. For more information, go to the following: http://www.mercurynews.com/ci_8229708

Friday, February 8, 2008

Money, Money, Money

A typical fundraising reception, in 2006, for Rep. Russ Carnahan (D-MO):

A 2006 DCCC fundraising video:

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Congressional Elections

Here is the legislative tutorial from Fantasy Congress.

Monday, February 4, 2008

John McCain's hill style

Here's a nice article from the Washington Post about McCain's hill style. From the looks of it he has probably cursed at about a quarter of the Senate.

Congressional Election Fundamentals


See here for party breakdowns in the House and Senate.

See here for historical data on reelection rates.

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