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.

Search This Blog

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The West Wing Returns!

Briefly, in a public service announcement.

But where's Admiral Fitzwallace?

Monday, April 30, 2012

Friends Of Democracy, PAC-Super PAC Hybrid, Launched To Go After Other Super PACs

Huffington Post: A PACs to Fight PACs :

"Hoping to put a harsh spotlight on the coercive effect super PACs are having on the political process, a prominent progressive activist and a long-time good government watchdog are joining forces to start one of their own."

Friday, April 27, 2012

Draper on the Daily Show about his new book, Do Not Ask What Good We Do: Inside the U.S. House of Representatives, which Professor Pitney mentioned in class.

Robert Draper on Jon Stewart

Professor Pitney mentioned Robert Draper's new book on the House of Representatives, Do Not Ask What Good We Do, in class on Wednesday. He was on The Daily Show Thursday night. Here's the clip.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Congressional History: The 20th Century

Some artifacts of congressional history, courtesy of the Library of Congress.

Robert A. Taft on labor law reform (Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose) :

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Why Lobbyists Dodge Calls from Congressmen

Part of an NPR series on money in politics, this funny short piece is about the perception of lobbyists in DC versus the reality - the congressmen (and women) are often the ones doggedly contacting lobbyists to ask for fundraising assistance.


Here is a link to the whole series on campaign finance 2012:


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A interesting political opinion piece from the NYTimes, the author points out that recent shift in demography could be a key factor in the upcoming presidential election. In particular he points out that the Reps benefited from a migration out of cities, "And now the population boom to the exurbs is over, at least for the moment, according to Census Bureau figures released earlier this month."Now there is a move back to cities and suburbs, which could benefit the Dems, if they can hang on to the suburban vote in high growth areas. 

To and From the Civil War

The Compromise of 1850

Webster 1/26/1830:

 Let their last feeble and lingering glance rather behold the gorgeous ensign of the Republic, now known and honored throughout the earth, still full high advanced, its arms and trophies streaming in their original luster, not a stripe erased or polluted, nor a single star obscured, bearing for its motto no such miserable interrogatory as, “What is all this worth?” nor those other words of delusion and folly, “Liberty first and Union afterward”; but everywhere, spread all over in characters of living light, blazing on all its ample folds, as they float over the sea and over the land, and in every wind under the whole heavens, that other sentiment, dear to every true American heart—Liberty and Union, now and for ever, one and inseparable!
Daniel Webster, 3/7/1850 (during the South Carolina secession crisis):
I wish to speak to-day, not as a Massachusetts man, nor as a Northern man, but as an American, and a member of the Senate of the United States. It is fortunate that there is a Senate of the United States; a body not yet moved from its propriety, not lost to a just sense of its own dignity and its own high responsibilities, and a body to which the country looks, with confidence, for wise, moderate, patriotic, and healing counsels. 
Thomas Hart Benton and pistols in the Senate

You want polarization? Here's some polarization. Representative Preston Brooks of South Carolina beats Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts.

Lincoln-Douglas debate (24:32)

Congress and the Civil War

The congressional oath of office dates from this era.

Background on the impeachment process.

There is an entire site on the Johnson impeachment.

Another impeachment

Final Essay

Choose one of the following:

1. Take any of JFK’s “profiles in courage.” Did JFK/Sorensen get the story right? How does this story illustrate similarities and differences between the Congress of its time and the Congress of 2012? Your essay should involve research into the senator in question.

2. How effectively has Congress checked President Obama's exercise of the war power?  In your essay, take account of Fisher and Haskell.  Your essay should involve research into the president's policies and the congressional response.

3. At the start of the 112th Congress, the House adopted a package of rules reforms.  Have these reforms achieved their intended goals?  Explain.  In your essay, consider Sinclair's analysis of unorthodox lawmaking.
  • Essays should be typed, stapled, double-spaced, and no more than three pages long. I will not read past the third page. 
  • Put your name on a cover sheet. Do not identify yourself on the text pages. 
  • Cite your sources. You may use either endnotes or parenthetical references to a bibliography. In either case, put your documentation in a standard format (e.g., Turabian or Chicago Manual of Style). 
  • Watch your spelling, grammar, diction, and punctuation. Errors will count against you. 
  • Return essays by the start of class, May 2. Papers will drop a gradepoint for one day’s lateness, a letter grade after that.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Would Obama go after gun rights if he is reelected?

“In a second term, he would be unrestrained by the demands of re-election.” – Mitt Romney

“If we are going to safeguard our 2nd Amendment, it is time to elect a president who will defend the rights President Obama ignores or minimizes. I will.” – Mitt Romney

BUT….. “During his 1994 Senate race, Romney said: ‘I don't line up with the NRA.’” [i]

-That was 18 years ago

-Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt said the president's record "makes clear that he supports and respects the Second Amendment, and we'll fight back against any attempts to mislead voters."[i]

[i] http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory/romney-woo-key-conservative-group-nra-event-16129697#.T41YBvUmyuI

[i] http://www.cnn.com/2012/04/13/politics/romney-nra-speech/index.html

Monday, April 16, 2012

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Points from Kevin McCarthy's Ath Talk, Pt. II

  • Very apparent political savvy! His ascension up the House leadership ladder was easily explained -- personable, communicates simply, great at telling his own story, occasionally throws in a story featuring someone else.
  • He projected that 2012 will not be a wave election, he doesn’t see a dramatic shift in party representation in Congress.
  • Multiple references to his chat with “Jerry” up in Sacramento and his tour of Silicon Valley; cited the innovation of Facebook’s Zuckerman.
  • Obama’s tenure has driven him to the conclusion one is fit to be President only if he/she has experience as a state governor -- appointing his own cabinet, familiar with the executive seat. McCarthy doesn't think that congressional experience is enough for a presidential candidate.
  • His son, a high school senior, applied to, but was rejected, from CMC. (Because you’re just dying to know -- he’s choosing between Georgetown and Berkeley.)

Friday, April 13, 2012

Points from Kevin McCarthy's Ath Talk

Some notes for people who could not make it. I did not double check with the Ath recording, so there might be some errors.

• Republicans’ reaction to losing the majority in the House was like the 5 Psychological Stages of Death (Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance)
• Bonded with Paul Ryan and Eric Cantor because they were freshman and no one wanted to hang out with them.
• Compared 2012 with 1980 (losing international competitiveness, bad economy, need to balance budget); 2012 will also be an election of big ideas.
• Asking the Fed to buy debt is like making a loan to yourself
• Role of whip in the House has changed. McCarthy is known as the Whip Dude (as opposed to Tom DeLay “the Hammer”)
• Opposes high speed rail because it’s not “a good business plan.”
• America should popularize people who research medical technology. Establish a grand prize / incentive for the first person who discovers the cure cancer.
• The Water Resources Development Act was hard to pass but he joined the water districts and passed it.
• Speaker Boehner has a lot of patience. He is responsible and that's why he's qualified as the speaker.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Sinclair's next chapter?

Based on Matt Bai's NYT cover story last week, the Budget Control Act is a likely contender for a case study in the next edition of Unorthodox Lawmaking. After taking several months to research and allow the whole affair to rest for a while on the public mind, Bai released the most in-depth chronology to date of the secretive dealings that shaped last summer's debt deal. He tries to reconcile each side's official press releases and statements with contradictory anecdotes from over 35 confidential sources. (In a follow-up interview, Bai discussed his methodology, sources, and personal perspectives on the matter.) The result is a detailed timeline of events in the context of competing political motivations and unorthodox legislative procedure. We're left with the sense that we'll never know the full story, but it's still an interesting case study of the evolving legislative process:

"...the failed attempt at a grand bargain wasn’t necessarily an unmitigated disaster. The ugly, months-long process of trying to avoid a meltdown over the debt ceiling may have further embittered a lot of ordinary Americans, but it also forced policy makers on both sides to wrestle with their own capacity for compromise. For weeks, in both the White House and in the speaker’s office, the most influential aides in the country burrowed into spreadsheets and considered, in unusually specific terms, what kinds of budget cuts and revenue numbers they could live with."

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

An interesting opinion article from the NYTimes on the "the Virtues of the Super PAC"
The author argues, "Whereas a campaign finance system in which it only takes a few rich supporters to make a candidate competitive is a system that may ultimately be more open, not less, to outsiders and insurgents and populists of all stripes." Could be, but raises the question; what if the few rich supporters back mainstream candidates in the future?

Domestic Policy II

HR 3 dies...then, HR 1836 and the magic of reconciliation
In 2003, HR 2
Expiration ... and extension

The situation in January 2008:

Response:  HR 5140 -- largely unorthodox lawmaking

Then came the crash

An estimate that came back to bite:
In 2009, Congress passes HR 1, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, aka "the stimulus" From Sinclair: "The 2009 bill traversed a somewhat more orthodox course, at least on the surface."

Why did Collins, Specter, and Snowe vote for it?

Boehner was unhappy about the conference report:

 Other kinds of issues: the issue-attention cycle

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Recycling ideas between parties not uncommon

As a follow-up to our class discussion about the modern health care debate originating with Nixon, a Hill article reminds us that a key proposal in the environmental debate, cap-and-trade, also was a Republican idea.

Obama brought it up briefly in a speech, saying, “The first president to talk about cap-and-trade was George H.W. Bush. Now you've got the other party essentially saying we shouldn’t even be thinking about environmental protection. ‘Let's gut the EPA.’”

Obama wasn't so much talking about cap-and-trade itself as he was using it as evidence of a recent GOP shift to the right, but his comment still highlights the ability of policy proposals to shift between parties depending on the political context.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Kevin McCarthy at the Ath

I wanted to point out that Kevin McCarthy will be speaking at an Ath lunch on Thursday, April 12th, and reservations are still open. I thought many of you would be interested, so I've included the Fortnightly description of his talk below.

Leadership in Government: Remarks from Congressman Kevin McCarthy
LUNCHEON 11:30 a.m.; LECTURE 12:00 p.m.

Congressman Kevin McCarthy has represented the 22nd District of California since 2006 — a district which spans Kern, San Luis Obispo and Los Angeles counties — and has served as the Majority Whip of the United States House of Representatives since 2010. He is committed to policies that give small businesses and entrepreneurs the confidence they need to hire, expand, invest and innovate.

McCarthy’s career is characterized by early success; he started a deli business before he was 21, became active with then-Congressman Bill Thomas while in college, and in 2002 was elected to represent the 32nd Assembly District in the California State Assembly, where he remained until winning a Congressional seat in 2006. McCarthy’s talk will explain how he advanced so quickly in his career: what has been important to his success, the lessons he has learned, and the various challenges and opportunities he has experienced along the way. McCarthy’s talk is jointly sponsored by the Rose Institute of State and Local Government and the Kravis Leadership Institute.

The Health Bill

In the 2008 campaign, Senator Obama expressed reservations about a mandate. By mid-2009, he changed his mind.

Ross Douthat neatly explains the interest group universe:
The mandate offered the interest groups what all entrenched industries desire: a fresh and captive market for their products. For the insurance companies, it promised enough new business to offset the cost of covering Americans with pre-existing conditions. For the health care sector as a whole, it guaranteed that disposable income currently being spent on other goods and services would be spent on its instead.
This explains why the health care bill was ultimately backed by so many industry lobbying groups, from the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America to the American Medical Association. It explains why the big insurers, while opposing the final legislation, never attacked it as vigorously as they did Bill Clinton’s ill-fated reform effort.
By 8/1, Energy & Commerce and HELP approve bills. CQ summary:

Two health care overhaul bills — HR 3200 and a draft Senate bill approved by the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee — are similar. Both bills would require employers to provide health insurance to workers and individuals to enroll in an employer-based, private or government health care insurance plan or face penalties. But there are differences in the details.
Employer Insurance Mandate
HR 3200: The bill would require employers that do not offer coverage to pay a payroll tax equal to 8 percent of their payroll costs. Certain small businesses would be exempt.
Senate Committee Draft Bill: For employers that do not provide coverage, the bill would assess a fee of $750 per worker per year, or $375 for part-timers. Businesses with 25 or fewer employees would be exempt.
Individual Mandate
HR 3200: The legislation requires individuals, by 2013, to buy coverage or pay a fine of 2.5 percent of their income — but the fine would be capped at the cost of the average plan in their area. It offers a hardship exemption.
Senate Committee Draft Bill: The bill would make individuals pay a fee of $750 a year if they fail to obtain coverage. As with the House version, it exempts those who have not qualified for any affordable coverage.
Both versions would offer subsidies to those with an income below 400 percent of the poverty level (about $88,000 for a family of four and $43,000 for individuals) down to the eligibility threshold for Medicaid coverage. 
The political climate changes:

In the fall, House passes one version, with public option.  The Senate, rather than use the House-passed health bill, instead uses an unrelated tax bill (HR 3590) as the shell for its version.

Scott Brown's election prompts a diffrerent kind of procedure:  passing the Senate version, with agreed-upon changes in the reconciliation bill.

The final legislation.

Nourse and Schacter on bill drafting:
Staffers’ drafting choices seem to be driven not by issues of legal dexterity but by the demands of a competing set of virtues—what we  are calling “constitutive virtues.” The interpretive virtues are the  virtues, generally, of courts: precision in drafting, consciousness of interpretive rules, discovery of meaning in past precedent, and detached reflection on the language of particular texts. Constitutive virtues, by contrast, tend to prize the institutional values of legislatures: action and agreement, reconciling political interests, and addressing the pragmatic needs of those affected by legislation.
Over and over again, staffers explained their choices in terms of constitutive virtues—that deliberate ambiguity was necessary to “get the bill passed,” or that statutory language was drafted on the floor because a bill was “needed” by a particular senator, by the leadership, or by the public. Even staffers’ reliance on lobbyists was an attempt to understand how the bill would “affect” people in the world. It was not that the staffers did not know the rules or recognize the interpretive virtues; it was that those virtues frequently were trumped by competing virtues demanded by the institutional context of the legislature. In an ideal world, the staffers seemed to say, they would aspire to both clarity and agreement, but, if there were a choice to be made, the constitutive virtues would prevail.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Congress and constitutionality

Given the recent Supreme Court oral arguments over the constitutionality of the individual mandate and our reading for Monday, I was reminded of Nancy Pelosi’s comments in October 2009 regarding the health care reform’s constitutionality.

In an incident covered by many conservative blogs, a reporter asked Pelosi where exactly Congress claimed to derive the authority to enact an individual mandate to purchase health insurance. She dismissed the question, saying “Are you serious? Are you serious?” Some people interpreted this as Pelosi implying that it didn’t matter whether the reform was constitutional or not. The next day, her office released a statement explaining that Pelosi believed it was constitutional given the Commerce Clause. The issue was pretty much ignored by most of the major news organizations, although a number of conservative bloggers latched onto it.

The whole exchange, though, raises the question of whether Congress must consider the constitutionality of a law when passing it. Should Congress simply pass the laws it thinks are right/best, and then leave it to the Courts to determine their constitutionality? Or should Congress take constitutionality into consideration when legislating?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

An interesting article from the NYTimes blogger about gay interest groups and their potential impact on the Obama Campaign. Specifically, the article points out that since the Obama camp opened itself up to Superpacs, one of its main Superpacs, Priorities USA Action, has been "avidly courting gay donors." The blogger attributes this to the fact that gay donors have traditionally been large political contributors as a a result of their issue based interests.  

Congress and the Executive Branch

Signing Statements


Presidential Success (click to enlarge)

Unwilling to put their money where their mouths are

A good reminder that political parties aren't always a united front, especially when it comes to raising money. Romney is having a Washington fundraiser tomorrow, and asked his endorsers on Capitol Hill to step up the plate. But several lawmakers have been unwilling to do so (at least at this stage in the game).

According to Politico, "only 27 of the nearly 80 lawmakers that endorsed Romney had signed on to raise money just two weeks ahead of the event." Both Eric Cantor and Darrell Issa, some of Romey's most high-ranking endorses, are not involved with the event.

This is probably a clearer case of scarce resources than a particular problem with Mitt Romney, at least among his supporters. As we discussed in class, in an election year, Congress does not always like to contribute to fundraising for presidential campaigns (especially if the candidate is still not the official nominee!"

Simulation Website

We have an official website for the simulation. Anyone with a CMC email address in our class has access. Pomona students currently are able to view, but not edit. Please go on the site and add your name, role, and contact information. We will also post bills and news as the simulation progresses. There is also a calendar with the schedule and room assignments.

The site can be accessed here.

We also have a Twitter account for the Democratic caucus: @CMCDems2012. Contact me if you want the password.

House Republicans Clash Over Repealing Part of Obamacare

A curious case of what happens when the parties' many policy ambitions clash: Republicans' efforts to repeal part of PPACA have revealed a divide between the states'-rights advocates and malpractice reformers.
The problems came when Republicans were preparing legislation to wipe out the Independent Payment Advisory Board, a panel created as part of the Democrats’ health-care law. Its purpose: Keep Medicare spending down.

To pay for repealing that provision costs big money, and Republicans wanted to offset the cost with medical malpractice reform — something they think can save tens of billions of dollars.

But a gaggle of Republican lawmakers came alive to the fact that changing malpractice laws at the federal level would interfere with existing state laws — in some cases, nullifying states’ constitutions. States’ rights advocates got up into a tizzy.

To make the situation more complicated, Democrats who supported repealing IPAB won’t vote for the kind of medical malpractice reform Republicans support.

And House floor rules prohibited amendments that would allow lawmakers to “vent steam” in opposition.

It’s another example of the complex ideologies that are laced throughout the House Republican Conference. Even when Republicans are on the same page, things are complicated.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

A Blueprint for American Renewal

Paul Ryan brings the debt battle back to Congress with his reintroduction of the GOP budget. 

"The budget wars returned full throttle to Congress Tuesday as House Republicans rolled out their proposals to cut by half the deficits in President Barack Obama’s own blueprint but also take the government down a path that reopens old wounds from last summer's infamous debt battle."

Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0312/74224.html#ixzz1pg10v8Qz

Monday, March 19, 2012

Legislative & Executive Power: The Tools

Rules and The Federal Register

The Congressional Review Act.

Legislative Veto and the Presentation Clause (Art I, sec. 7, clause 3): Every Order, Resolution, or Vote to which the Concurrence of the Senate and House of Representatives may be necessary (except on a question of Adjournment) shall be presented to the President of the United States; and before the Same shall take Effect, shall be approved by him, or being disapproved by him, shall be repassed by two thirds of the Senate and House of Representatives, according to the Rules and Limitations prescribed in the Case of a Bill.

Proclamations and Executive orders

Presidential Vetoes
Newt Gingrich, Lessons Learned the Hard Way (1998):
We had not only failed to take into account the ability of the Senate to delay us and obstruct us, but we had much too cavalierly underrated the power of the President, even a President who had lost his legislative majority and was in a certain amount of trouble for other reasons. I am speaking of the power of the veto. Even if you pass something through both the House and the Senate, there is that presidential pen. How could we have forgotten that? For me especially it was inexcusable, because when I was Republican whip during the Bush Administration one of my duties had been precisely to help sustain presidential vetoes.

Violence Against Women Act...Controversial?

Senate Democrats are taking this opportunity to slam Senate Republicans.  Extension of the Violence against Women Act has been brought to the Senate Floor for debate with some new additions, namely extension of this act's coverage to illegal immigrants, lesbians, and gay men.  Senate Republicans are against this new version and the Democrats are crying fowl, saying that the Republicans are only against it because of the portions that cover illegal immigrants and the gay and lesbian community.

Republicans on the other hand say this is not true and object to VAWA on other grounds, such as budget constraints.  They claim that Democrats are using this as an opportunity to slam the GOP as a whole.

Senate VAWA Accusations


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Ezra Klein on Lobbying and Corruption

“When we actually meet our congressman,” Lessig writes,
we confront an obvious dissonance. For that person is not the evil soul we imagined behind our government. She is not sleazy. He is not lazy. Indeed, practically every single member of Congress is not just someone who seems decent. Practically every single member of Congress is decent. These are people who entered public life for the best possible reasons. They believe in what they do. They make enormous sacrifices in order to do what they do. They give us confidence, despite the fact that they work in an institution that has lost the public’s confidence.

Lessig’s book is a theory of how decent souls have come together to create an indecent system. At its core is the idea of the “gift economy.” As Lessig explains it,

a gift economy is a series of exchanges between two or more souls who never pretend to equate one exchange to another, but who also don’t pretend that reciprocating is unimportant—an economy in the sense that it marks repeated interactions over time, but a gift economy in the sense that it doesn’t liquidate the relationships in terms of cash. Indeed, relationships, not cash, are the currency within these economies.

To see how a gift economy works, Lessig offers an everyday example:

I give you a birthday present. It is a good present not so much because it is expensive, but because it expresses well my understanding of you. In that gift, I expect something in return. But I would be insulted if on my birthday, you gave me a cash voucher equivalent to the value of the gift I gave you, or even two times the amount I gave you. Gift giving in relationship-based economies is a way to express and build relationships.

The key mistake most people make when they look at Washington—and the key misconception that characters like Abramoff would lead you to—is seeing Washington as a cash economy. It’s a gift economy. That’s why firms divert money into paying lobbyists rather than spending every dollar on campaign contributions. Campaign contributions are part of the cash economy. Lobbyists are hired because they understand how to participate in the gift economy.

Read more http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2012/mar/22/our-corrupt-politics-its-not-all-money/?pagination=false

Friday, March 9, 2012

"Ocular Rectitis"

Peggy Noonan writes today:
John Boehner is sighing. It's one of those days, or maybe epochs. He's just spoken to the House GOP conference. Some members are feeling fractious, disheartened. Time for a St. Crispin's Day speech. What did he tell them? "I told them they have ocular rectitis. That's when your eyes get confused with your butt, and it develops into [an unnecessarily fecal] outlook on life." 

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Newt Humor from "Pearls Before Swine"

Super Tuesday... and beyond

For state-by-state (and date-by-date) information on the Republican Presidential primary, the Presidential caucuses, etc. check out this interactive map from Politico:


Monday, March 5, 2012

Appointment and Removal

"The Human Sacrifice"
The Smoking Gun Tape:


Citing a Tweet #21stcenturyproblems

While writing my last paper, I ran into a dilemma. I had referenced a tweet by Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) and I had a stable URL, so I wanted to cite it. Unfortunately, I had no idea how to format such a citation. Thankfully, the MLA has come to my rescue, according to the Atlantic.
Begin the entry in the works-cited list with the author's real name and, in parentheses, user name, if both are known and they differ. If only the user name is known, give it alone.Next provide the entire text of the tweet in quotation marks, without changing the capitalization. Conclude the entry with the date and time of the message and the medium of publication (Tweet). For example:

Athar, Sohaib (ReallyVirtual). "Helicopter hovering above Abbottabad at 1AM (is a rare event)." 1 May 2011, 3:58 p.m. Tweet.

The date and time of a message on Twitter reflect the reader's time zone. Readers in different time zones see different times and, possibly, dates on the same tweet. The date and time that were in effect for the writer of the tweet when it was transmitted are normally not known. Thus, the date and time displayed on Twitter are only approximate guides to the timing of a tweet.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

CMC Alums in the House Chamber

David Dreier mentions CMC in his retirement announcement.

Rev. Adam McHugh `98 delivers the opening prayer.  Adam didn't take my Congress class, but he did take my Gov 20 and American Presidency courses.  BTW, the regular chaplain, Father John Conroy, is another Stag.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

David Dreier (R-here?) Retires after Independent Redistricting Takes Away His District

From Politico
Of all the retirements that have rocked California’s Capitol Hill delegation, GOP Rep. David Dreier’s was the least surprising. 
Redistricting had thrown the powerful House Rules Committee chairman into Democratic territory and left him with no good options for where to seek reelection. Over the last year, the Dreier had done little prepare for a bid, raising just $121,000 — a paltry sum for a gavel-holder who has served in the House since 1981.
 The article didn't say what he planned to do post-retirement. It did, however, detail his efforts to enlist other California Republicans to fight back against the independent redistricting commission that essentially drew him out of office. I personally got a kick out of how the redistricting consultants quoted in the article reacted:

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

From the Atlantic Wire:

 Snowe to Retire and the Senate Loses Another Moderate

Her press release states that "With my Spartan ancestry I am a fighter at heart; and I am well prepared for the electoral battle, so that is not the issue. However, what I have had to consider is how productive an additional term would be. Unfortunately, I do not realistically expect the partisanship of recent years in the Senate to change over the short term. "

Fiscal Policy and Congress

Budget process


Practice Exam

The following will help you understand what the March 7 exam will look like.

Briefly identify 8 of the following 10 (5 points each):
  • Great Compromise
  • Budget authority
  • Committee of the Whole
  • Structured rules
  • 501(c) organizations
  • Phonemarking
  • The Johnson Treatment
  • Kevin McCarthy
  • NRCC
  • Burke's speech to the electors of Bristol
Answer two of the following three questions. Each answer should take a paragraph or two (15 points each).
  • Explain the distinctions between the authorization process, the appropriations process, and the budget process.
  • Who actually writes the bills?
  • Explain the difference between a regular PAC and a super PAC.
Answer one of the two questions. Your answer should take 2-3 bluebook pages. (30 points)
  • Explain the sources of the incumbency advantages in congressional elections.Compare and contrast the advantage in House and Senate elections. If the incumbency advantage is so strong, how did Republicans take control in 201o?
  • How could the Senate benefit by removing the possibility of a filibuster? How could it lose?
  • "In all bodies, those who will lead, must also, in a considerable degree, follow." A British statesman wrote that line about the French National Assembly.  How does it apply to Congress?

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