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, 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.

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